Vestigial Samba De Amigo FAQ (version 0.3) Suggestions and contributions: please send to mark [at] antelope [dot] demon [dot] co [dot] uk Index ~~~~~ 1 - The controller 1.1 - Building the controller 1.2 - How the controller works - and getting used to it 2 - Menus and modes 2.1 - Main menu 2.2 - Option menu 3 - Game play 4 - Challenge mode 5 - Party mode 6 - Miscellany 6.1 - Downloadable music? 1. The controller ================= So, you forked out whatever stupid amount your local importer was asking for the Controller Set? Here's the info on the Maracas controller. 1.1 Building the controller ---------------------------- This is straightforward enough, but I'll mention it here just in case. - Unfold the orange "Samba de Amigo" mat. - Get the two velcro stickers and stick them, velcro upwards, on the marked-off squares on the mat. - Unwrap the sensor bar, and use the velcro already on the bottom of it to stick it to the mat. - Unpack the two maracas and plug them both into the slots on the back of the sensor bar. - Plug the sensor bar into your Dreamcast and you're set to Samba! 1.2 How the controller works.. and getting used to it ------------------------------------------------------ It'll probably take you a little while to get used to the Maracas controller in play. Here's a few tips: On the sensor bar, at the left and right edges, you'll see two little sets of holes; those are signal sensors. If you look at the Maracas controller you'll see there's a device that resembles a two-to-one cable connector halfway along the cable for each: in fact, that unit holds a transmitter which points downwards as you hold the maraca. The game uses the signal, send from the maracas to the bar, to work out where you're holding the maracas. THERE ARE NO SENSORS IN THE FLOOR MAT! The mat is just there to mark off an area for you to stand in that's easily seen by the sensors. If you find problems with control, then: - Make sure your feet are lined up with the feet on the mat and that you're facing the same direction as them. - Make sure neither of the transmitters is caught on anything or similar. If you're listening to the music on headphones, make sure their cable hasn't got tangled in with the maracas cables. - Make sure you're not holding either maraca out of range of the sensor. If the game doesn't get a signal from a maraca, it assumes it's still in the place where it last saw it, so this is probably what's happening if you find one of them won't register moving at all. Also bear in mind: you do NOT need to make all gestures on the right with the right maraca or all gestures on the left with the left maraca. Sometimes you'll have to hold them both on one side. There are two buttons on the maracas. The button on the right maraca (ie, the one that's plugged into the right hand port on the sensor bar: be careful your wires aren't crossed over!) is the start or select button; the button on the left is cancel. The right button is also used for pausing. To use menus with the maracas, hold the left maraca high, middle, or low to choose the item on the menu; to scroll the menu, hold the left maraca high or low for a short while and wait for the scrolling to kick in. 2 Menus and modes ================== 2.1 Main menu ------------- The main menu is as follows: Arcade Original Challenge Party Training Internet Options ARCADE MODE: The standard game. Play 1 or 2 stages of Samba action. ORIGINAL MODE: Same as arcade mode but with new music and maraca patterns. CHALLENGE MODE: See section 4. PARTY MODE: See section 5. TRAINING MODE: Play a piece of music of your choice. INTERNET MODE: Not applicable. 2.2 Option menu --------------- OPTION MODE: Opens the option menu, which is: Game Hiscore Play record Sound type Sound test Effects DC Controller adjust Maraca Controller adjust File select Game: Three options: Game Level, Stages, and Continue. Continue is on/off; Game Level sets the overall difficulty, and Stages lets you choose how many stages to allow on each difficulty setting. Hiscore, playrecord: Display the appropriate details. Sound type: Stereo or mono. Default is stereo. Effects: On or off. Default is off. When on, the game plays maraca sounds. If you have the maraca controller, you don't need this, since the controllers are actual maracas as well and make their own sound. DC Controller adjust: Choose the buttons to map to the maraca inputs. Maraca Controller adjust: Assign a height offset for detecting the maracas. File select: Change the active memory card file. You do not need to explicitly save or load data; the game does that automatically. 3 Game play ============ Once you're playing, the objective of the game is to shake the maracas in time with the music as instructed on the screen. The screen shows pads at six positions; high, medium, and low on both left and right. A series of dots will emerge from the centre of the display and move towards the pads. You must shake a maraca on the appropriate side and at the appropriate height when the dot hits the pad. The word "Yeah!" will pop up next to the pad when you shake successfully. If you miss too badly, the word "Boo!" will pop up instead. If you're boring and you don't have the maraca controller, just hit the appropriate direction on the digital joystick or buttons instead. On occasion, a long stream of RED dots will appear instead of the blue ones. When this happens, you must shake the appropriate maraca as fast as you can, making sure to stop shaking at the right moment. In this case, you are judged on the timing with which you start and stop shaking the maraca, as well as how fast you shake it during the period. Also occasionally, a pose event will occur. A box will appear in the centre of the pads showing a stick-person posing with the maracas in certain positions. You should try and duplicate that pose as much as possible. Since there are no sensors in the mat, the game actually only cares about the position of the maracas, so you don't have to move your feet to match the indicator. You have a few seconds to get into the pose, after which the game will check if the maracas are in the right place or not. Successfully shaking, or posing, will increase the Rank Gauge at the top of the screen, and increase your rank. Missing will lower the Rank Gauge and lower your rank. Your rank determines the animation shown in the background; typically, the higher your rank, the more will be going on and the happier Samba (the monkey) will be. If the Rank Gauge is ever completely empty, you will fail the stage, Samba breaks down in tears, and your game will be over. A sequence of successful shakes is called an Amigo. Every shake you successfully make increases your Amigo count (if it's a shake with both maracas at once, that's 2 on the Amigo count!). When your Amigo count exceeds 10, it will be displayed in the centre of the indicator. If you miss a single shake, your Amigo resets to 0. Scoring high Amigos has a cumulative effect on the Rank Gauge. When you complete the stage, you will be shown your score, your final Rank, and your Max Amigo value (the highest Amigo score you attained during the stage). 4 Challenge Mode ================= In challenge mode, you undertake a series of special tasks to prove yourself "Maracas Great King!" After selecting your height, you'll be given a list of all the levels of challenge available. At first, only the first will be available, but completing that will unlock the next one down and so on. After choosing your level, choose from the challenges available. The challenges are as follows: LEVEL 1 (Maracas Hopeful): Challenge 1: Play "Samba De Janeiro" successfully and finish with a rank of C or higher. Challenge 2: Play "Mambo beat" successfully and finish with a rank of B or higher. Challenge 3: Play "Take on me" successfully and finish with a rank of A. LEVEL 2: (Maracas ?): ? LEVEL 3: (Maracas Expert): ? LEVEL 4: (Maracas Master): ? LEVEL 5: (Maracas Great King): ? 5 Party Mode ============= This offers a set of three modes specially made for party play. The three options are: Battle Love-Love Mini Games All of these games are best played by two players, but you can play them all 1-player too. BATTLE: Pick a piece and play it. You have a bomb in the centre of your playfield. As you accumulate Amigo, the bomb will get bigger and bigger. When it is maximum size, you will send it to your opponent and it will damage them. Damage is indicated by the bar at the top of the screen. However, if you make a mistake, your bomb will go out and you will have to start expanding it again. Also, if the opponent bombs you, your own bomb will go out. LOVE LOVE: In basic terms, this is a two-player mode in which the two players share a single Rank Gauge and cooperate with each other. However, after the game, the game will display a "LOVE RANKING" based on your final score. Quite what this means I'm not sure. (Especially what it means if you were playing 1-player.) MINI GAMES: There are five of these. Initially, you'll get two options: the top one is "Total Check Mode" (play all 5 and look at the result) and "1 Stage Mode" (play just 1). Then, if you chose 1 stage mode, you'll pick a game. The games, in the order they are on the menu, are: WHACK A MOLE: Exactly that. The six maraca positions represent holes; shake a maraca there to whack the mole when it pops up there. POWER RUSH: Similar to Whack a Mole, except that now, only one mole pops up at a time - but that mole is a ROCK, and you have to shake the maraca quickly to destroy it! 1, 2, SAMBA: (This is a pun in Japanese, where it's pronounced "Ichi, Ni, San-ba"; "Ichi, Ni, San" is "1, 2, 3" in Japanese.) In each round, the numbers 1 to 3, plus a bomb, will pop up in the maraca positions. Shake the maraca in the three numbered positions in order. Shaking in the wrong place will do nothing, unless you shake on the bomb, in which case you will fail the round. POSE AND POSE: Exactly what it sounds like. A long series of pose challenges. MONKEY REPLAY: Similar to the standard game, except that the game will play a sequence, and then you must play the same sequence back again. Also, the sequences will consist of really (really) weird sound effects! :) If you play 1 stage, you go back to the first menu after one game; if you play Total Check mode, you go through all five games in that order, and then a ranking will be displayed in terms of five values. From the top left, clockwise, these are: Kishi (Whack a mole), Power (Power Rush), Speed (1 2 Samba), Appearance (Pose and Pose) and Energy (Monkey Replay). 6. Miscellany ============= 6.1. Downloadable songs The facility exists for additional Samba de Amigo songs to be downloaded from the Internet. The site is http://samba.dricas.ne.jp/. Connect there using the Internet option and you can download additional songs.. .. the only problem being that the Internet option won't work for most importers, because it requires you to have DreamPassport set up and registered, and I don't think a way has been found of doing that since DreamPassport was revised. In practice, I doubt that the songs themselves are being downloaded. Even if they were MP3, an MP3 would be at least around the 1mb mark and that's BEFORE graphical cues and maraca patterns. It's far more likely that what's downloaded is a signal that causes the DC to add the extra music to the menus, and the music itself is already on the GDROM. It's *vaguely* possible that a MIDI file could be sent (and this might even be possible since a lot of the downloadable music is Sega retro console stuff) but it seems unlikely to me.. You *can* connect to the site with a PC (if you get lots of little boxes when you try to do so, you just need to obtain a Japanese font), but you can't download the song files: the server gives a Permission Denied error, and one of the Japanese notes below the buttons reads: "This file cannot be downloaded except by using Samba De Amigo.". (It's probably checking the User-Agent field in the request.) Further, downloading a file from there would probably not do much good anyway; the file sent probably isn't an uploadable .vms save file but just a special signal which is recognised by Samba. So, is there no hope? Well, I'm not sure. It may be possible to access the extra music by the same method as in MvC2 and Power Stone 2 - namely, modifying the save data in the memory card. Unfortunately, I can't report on this because I don't have the necessary kit and NOBODY IN THE UK SELLS INNOVATION MEMORY CARDS!! (If anyone knows where to get one, please tell me.) By luck and flaw, I've gotten some information together on this. Firstly: you can download DCI versions of the first four music files at http://www.dreamcast.pe.kr/vm/. Since I don't have the memory card, I haven't tried these, but I have looked at the DCI files with an editor, and what I found was rather surprising: they apparantly contain nothing at all! No kidding. If we follow CJayC's DCI format description from the MvC2 FAQ, the actual data part of the memory card begins at 02A0 in the file. (Before that is standard header and icon, which appears to be fairly similar between all the music files, except for the name (SAMBADE1.Dxx, where xx is 01, 03, 09 and 12 on the files available there) and a couple of checksum? blocks that differ - one at 0012, one at 0063). At 02A0, *ALL* there is is a string holding the song name encoded in a weird way, and then zero-padding up to 041F. The "weird encoding" is achieved by writing the song name in capitalised ASCIZ, splitting it into groups of four characters (padding the last group with 0x0s if necessary), reversing each of those groups, and then putting the groups together in the right order: so, "SAMBA DE AMIGO" gets padded with zeroes (SAMBA DE AMIGO--, where - is an 0x0 character), split into groups of four (SAMBÝA DEÝ AMIÝGO--), and then each group is reversed (BMASÝED AÝIMA Ý--OG), and that (without the separators) is what's in the VMU file. Of course, I don't even know that these are the *real* VMU files, but could that really be all that's being downloaded? If anyone has any results with these files, tell me if they work or not.