How to Play Beatmania IIDX?

Push the buttons and spin the turntable in time to the music. Rack up a lot of points. Make sure your groove gauge (think life-meter, it falls with each mistake and rises when you successfully play) is at 80% or above when you complete a song. Pat yourself on the back.

I could leave it at that and technically be right. But that would leave out a lot of the finer details, such as the many customizable options and several of the gameplay modes. Also, it would make this a really short page.

Of course, the other end of the spectrum wouldn't be much better. Prattling on and on about every single menu selection would get tedious and be a disservice to one of the best parts of playing Beatmania IIDX, which is experimentation.

Therefore, I am going to attempt to tell you all you need to know to get started, and let you discover the rest on your own. "Teach you to fish" so that you can "feed yourself for a lifetime," or something.

Yeah, we get deep here at Spin the Disc.

Main Menu

Let's cover what you'll be presented with at the main menu of the game. Please note that while these options are present in the latest releases, the older games will not have some of them.

Main Menu of IIDX 15 Troopers
  • Standard: This mode plays like the arcade version of the game. You will be allowed to play three songs. Each song you complete will open up more songs for you to select for your next round. If at any point you fail a song, the game ends. When you complete all three songs, you will receive a score for your total performance.
  • Expert: This mode allows you to play premade setlists of five songs each. The groove gauge does not reset between songs. If at any point it reaches 0%, you immediately fail. Get through all five songs to complete the course and receive a grade. This mode also allows you to create your own expert course.
  • Challenge: This will be the only option in Japanese on the main menu. These challenge courses are similar to expert courses, except you cannot change the difficulty. Starting from 7-kyu, as you complete the courses you will unlock more to play. The highest ranking course you are able to successfully complete will be recorded on your profile.
  • Beginner: This mode allows you to play all the songs in the game at a drastically reduced difficulty level.
  • Tutorial: This will teach you how to play the game. Unfortunately, it's only in Japanese. Fortunately, you have this site instead.
  • Free: This mode will allow you to play every song you have unlocked in the game using whatever settings you like.
  • Gallery: This will display all the fancy pictures you unlock as rewards for beating various game modes.
  • Statistics: This will break down your records on the songs you complete in Standard and Free mode. You can see exactly what your score was, your note breakdown, how many times you played the song, and various other things.
  • Options: This will allow you to modify the various game options. Most of everything in here is in English, so it's very friendly and self-explanatory. No, don't ask me why a Japanese game has so much English in it by default. That's just how they like it, I guess. You'll find sound options, controller setup, display settings and others.
  • Customize: As you play the game, you will unlock various aesthetic interface tweaks such as different turntables, menu music, and note effects. This option allows you access those rewards and customize your screen.
  • Rival: This allows the player to import the scores from another player's memory card to their own. From that point on, they can view their "rival's" scores in their own game and attempt to beat them. In today's world of online leaderboards and gameplay, this option seems a bit quaint, but remember that this is a series that has been with the Playstation 2 for its entire console lifespan. And the Playstation 2 is an old system at this point.
  • Save and Load: You can save and load your game scores and settings using this option. I highly recommend accessing this option the first time you play the game and setting it to "Auto-Save" mode.

In-Game Options

When you are within a song selection screen, you can hold down the start button to access several in-game options. These will allow you to fine-tune your playing experience and can be very beneficial in making a difficult game like Beatmania IIDX a little easier.

In-Game Options Screen
  • Normal: Selecting this will restore all changes you've made back to the default settings.
  • Hispeed: This option increases the rate at which the notes scroll on the gameplay screen. Note that this does not change the speed of the song in any way. Instead, by speeding up the pace of the scrolling, clumps of notes will appear more spread out, making them easier to read.
  • Easy: This setting reduces the rate by which the groove gauge falls for mistakes. You will also no longer fail a song for beating it at less than 80% remaining on the gauge.
  • Hard: This setting increases the rate by which the groove gauge falls and reduces the rate at which it recovers. You will immediately fail a song if it reaches 0%.
  • Hidden: This setting will make the notes disappear as they approach the bottom of the screen. Why would someone do this to themselves? Your guess is as good as mine.
  • Sudden: This setting will make the notes appear at just about mid-screen before they scroll to the bottom. For those who enjoy surprises.
  • Random: This setting will "randomize" the note chart for the song. It is a useful option if you are having trouble clearing a particular chart or wish to add some variety. The total number of notes remains the same from the original chart.
  • Mirror: This setting will reverse the chart for the song into a mirror image of itself. Note that it is possible to have both random and mirror active at the same time.
  • A-SCR: This stands for auto-scratch, and will make the computer perform every turntable scratch for you automatically. It is useful for beginners who wish to focus on learning keystroke positioning.
  • 5-Key: This will reduce the keys needed to play a chart from seven to five, allowing the gameplay to more closely mimic the original Beatmania.

Video Tutorial