Review by MasterVG782
"Classical music? Rhythm games? Buy if you like both."
I've never seen a rhythm game with classical music before, despite the growing popularity
of the genre. I've never been a huge fan of rhythm games, mainly because the ones we got were
average at best. Then came news from Eidos that they opened a new department called Fresh
Games, and their first two projects were called Mister Mosquito and Mad Maestro! After much
debate and actually watching someone play the game, Mad Maestro! was mine.
Your character is named Takt and your goal is to save the old Concert Hall that is being
considered to be torn down to make room for improvements in Bravo Town. With the help of
Symphony, a fairy who was guarding the Concert Hall, you have to impress the people of Bravo
Town with your musical talent. On each stage, a scenario plays out and if you do well enough,
you just might get a new addition to your orchestra. Sure the story isn't something that would
win an award, but at least something is there.
Of the two things that truly shine in this game, gameplay is one of them. For the sake of
comprehension and simplicity for me, the manual calls the system used Tempo Navigator. It's
made up of four (and sometimes three on certain songs) Cue Points, which are the circles on the
screen. The length between them changes as the tempo increases or decreases. As soon as the
piece of music starts, the Cue Points change color to correspond to the pressure used for the
Baton button. Blue is light pressure, green is medium and red is hard (meaning smash the
button). Thrown into the array sometimes are arrows, in which you must hold the correct
directional button while pressing a Baton button with the right pressure. During the normal
stages, the Tension Meter (bar on left) rises and falls depending on your performance. Get
''GOOD''s and ''BRAVO''s to fill it up and once it's full, you enter Angel mode. Play in Angel mode
for the rest of the stage and you will clear it. During your first time through Story mode,
you will have a concert performance at the end, which has no Tension Meter. In the concert, you
will have to perform multiple pieces and you won't be evaluated until you finish all of them.
After completing Story, it changes into Memory on the menu and you can freely choose any
of the stages. During the stages this time, if you continue your high performance, then the
music might change to a completely different piece (Medley Mode). Finish Medley Mode while in
Angel Mode and you will get to attempt a bonus game. Finish the bonus game successfully and you
will be able to select it in Extra Fun to play anytime you wish.
The other shining point in the game is the sound. With pieces by Beethoven, Mozart,
Tchaikovsky and others, it's simply an amazing line-up of orchestrated pieces. One of the things
that did annoy me a little during the game was the voices of some of the characters. Some of
them were so high-pitched, you couldn't stand to listen to them. One example is Symphony's
voice. Whenever she spoke, I felt like jumping through the TV just so I could put duct tape over
The graphics aren't anything to stare at, since you would definitely screw up if you are
doing so. One thing that I particularly liked was how the backgrounds of the stages changed
depending on your performance. Let's take the first stage as an example. Do well and flowers
bloom all over the park and the buildings will sway back and forth. Do bad and everything
turns gloomy, the sky, buildings and all. It makes you want to do bad on purpose at least once
on each stage just to see the different scenery. One complaint is that it is sometimes hard to
follow the little cue ball (the little blue dot) because of the background and other factors.
Despite what you might think, there's plenty of replay value in the game. First, there's
unlocking all the songs in the Music Room, which means that you have to successfully finish
Medley Mode on all stages and do the concert a few times as well. Next, there are the bonus
games to unlock, which isn't exactly the easiest thing to do in the game. In addition, there is
also a concert room, in which the game throws together various pieces for you to play in a
concert (similar to the last stage of Story mode). There are 20 of those and a final concert.
Lastly, once you do unlock all the pieces in the Music Room (you don't need them all), you can
sit back, click on ''Shuffle play'' and enjoy the wonders of classical music.
While definitely not the flashiest in terms of visuals, the concept of a rhythm game with
classical music produces a great game to keep you entertained for hours. Definitely a must buy
if a fan of the genre or classical music.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 05/27/02, Updated 01/07/03
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