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Taiko Drum Master
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Box Front

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Console: Sony PlayStation 2
Year: 2004
RFG ID #: U-072-S-06520-A
Part #: SLUS20800
UPC: 722674100274
Developer: Namco
Publisher: Namco
E (ESRB): Lyrics

Genre: Music/Rhythm
Players: 1-2
Controller: Taiko Drum Controller
Media Format: CD-ROM x1
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Collection Stats:

  • 111 of 6926 collectors (1.6%) have this game in their collection
  • 0 of 6926 collectors (0%) have this game in their wishlist.
  • 0 of 6926 collectors (0%) have this game for sale or trade.

  • Standard Controller
  • Taiko Drum Controller
  • Digital Control
  • Memory Card (26 KB)

The full text from the back of the box is below:

Welcome to the world of Taiko Drumming - musical fun for the whole family

Plug the Taiko Controller into your PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system, and you're ready to go! Play alone or go head-to-head with a friend to master the art of rhythm and drum to the tune of over 30 songs. Join twin Taiko brothers Don and Katsu along with their happy family and neighbors for the ultimate musical experience.


Did you ever play Donkey Konga for the Gamecube, love it, but did not own a Nintendo's little box? Perhaps you saw it, found it to be extremely interesting, yet you were restricted from owning it because you have one of those PlayStation 2's? Maybe you have never seen or heard of Donkey Konga, but you love drumming and rhythm games. Well, if you identify with any of those statements then I have wonderful news for you! Namco has released for the PlayStation 2 the game that Donkey Konga is based off of, and it's name is Taiko: Drum Master.

Now before people start making claims about Taiko being a cheap rip off of Donkey Konga, I probably should say a little about the game. First and foremost, Taiko: Drum Master is an insanely popular Japanese rhythm game franchise, currently in its sixth iteration overseas. Therefore, Donkey Konga is actually a rip off of Taiko - not the other way around. Taiko is also extremely Japanese. I suppose that you probably had an idea of that, since the taiko is a Japanese Drum. Nevertheless, Taiko: Drum Master is a very very colorful Japanese rhythm game. Animations and drawings are very reminiscent of animations that you would see in Animé. There is a very loose setup for the game, where there is a six year old Japanese kid who wants to become a Taiko Master. You, in turn, are like that kid, wanting to become a Taiko Master as well. All the characters and things you do are somehow related to the kid, whether it be the friend next door, the grandfather, the pet dogs, or even the mystically alive Taikos that live in the house. And that my friends, is the setup for the "story" that exists in the game.

Now I am also sure that most people who play rhythm based games probably really don't care about a story much at all, and just want to feel the beat. Rhythm based games are all about the gameplay, or moreso sometimes the type of controller that interfaces with the gameplay. For Taiko: Drum Master there is the Taiko Controller. What is the Taiko Controller you ask? Well it is a replica of a Taiko, that's what! More specifically, however, the Taiko Drum resembles a drum that one would expect to see some crazy caveman movie. There are a total of four sensors on the drum - you can either hit the left or right side of the drum directly, or you can do a rimshock (hit the rim) on either the left or right side of the drum. You are also given two Taiko sticks that would be used to hit your drum. Now you would think given the state of most controllers created in this day and age that you would want to be very careful with hitting your drum. That is actually quite the opposite of what you would do, and the reason for that will be revealed quite shortly. The Taiko controller is a very novel thing, and is a fun alternative to the DDR Dance Pad or the DualShock 2 Controller.

Perhaps I should talk about the gameplay that exists in Taiko: Drum Master. The main game consists of a total of thirty-one songs with four different difficulty levels in which the player rhythmically belts out drum beats and rimshocks in a scripted succession. There are four notes that can be prompted - beating the drum, beating both sides of the drum, performing a rimshock, and performing a rimshock on both sides of the Taiko. One may also be prompted to perform drum rolls or something called a burst note, in which the player must hit the drum a prescribed amount of times to burst a balloon. With the exception of the Oni difficulty hitting the drum with an 80 percent accuracy will generally cause the player to pass the level. Passing levels will allow the player to unlock hidden songs and difficulties, and will place a silver crown next to the difficulty level on the song you passed. If you are extremely lucky and pass a song with hitting all notes perfectly you are rewarded with the perfect combo, and a gold crown next to you the difficulty. Trying to achieve a perfect combo is where the difficulty of Taiko can show itself. When playing the game it becomes very hard to keep oneself oriented completely on the Taiko Controller. Also, the drum is not exactly the most sensitive thing in the world. This can lead to some frustrating times trying to achieve perfect combos, or just passing the level in some of the harder difficulty levels. Needless to say, the design of the Taiko controller creates a slight learning curve and a difficulty that may not have existed should the controller have been designed a little bit better.

As was stated earlier, there are a total of thirty-one songs in Taiko: Drum Master. It is a rather intersting mix of songs, the game includes some Namco Classics mixed with some real Classical mixed with some Rock. Where else would one find "ABC," "Carmen Prelude," and "Theme from Katamari Damacy" all in the same game? The answer is that one wouldn't find it anywhere other than in this lovely game. In addition to the thirty-one songs there are also 3 mini games, such as the watermelon contest and the fireworks festival. There is also the multiplayer mode, in which one other player can join up with another Taiko Controller or even a regular PlayStation Controller and feel the beat.

Overall, Taiko: Drum Master is a fun rhythm game. The tunes are catchy and fun, and the Japanese flair is extremely colorful and almost cute. Unfortunately though the Taiko Controller could make game frustatingly challening for the novice player. A little bit more effort could have be made to make it more responsive and less likely to move under normal playing. While this doesn't greatly detract from the experience this can become a nuisance. Those who decide to give this game a try would be well adviced to make sure that they hit the drum precisely, accurately, and forcefully. Don't be afraid of hitting that drum, after all drums are meant to be hit. If you aren't looking for immediately get perfect combos on all the songs then Taiko is a great game. Don't expect to be perfect immediately, and you shall find yourself having a blast playing this game.

RF Generation Review Score



Console Reg. Type Title Publisher Year Genre
Sony PlayStation 2 J S Taiko Drum Master Namco 2004 Music/Rhythm
Sony PlayStation 2 U S Taiko Drum Master [Taiko Drum Bundle] Namco 2004 Music/Rhythm
Related Games:

Console Reg. Type Title Publisher Year Genre
Nintendo GameCube United States S Donkey Konga Nintendo 2004 Music/Rhythm
Game Trivia:

  • Rated 'E' for 'Everyone by the ESRB, for 'Lyrics.'
FAQ's/External Links:

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Last Updated: 2012-02-12 22:10:56
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