DJ MAX Portable Black Square is a rhythm game developed and published by Pentavision Entertainment. Although not a numbered sequel, it incorporates the greatest number of additions in the series by combining features introduced in DJ Max Portable 2 as well as DJ Max Portable Clazziquai Edition.
Part of an initiative titled "METRO Project" in 2008, Pentavision released both Clazziquai Edition and Black Square in the same year. Out of the two, Black Square was the "hardcore" release, focusing on increased difficulty and a new, different song list.
Black Square released on December 24th, 2008, a month later than its planned original release. Upon Clazziquai Edition's release in October, a number of glitches and piracy issues were found in the game's code and Black Square was subsequently delayed to fix those issues.
DJ MAX Portable Black Square is a rhythm game akin to Konami's Beatmania/Drummania/GuitarFreaks franchises. Notes scroll down on a vertical note chart and players must hit each note that crosses the score line to score points. DJ MAX works slightly differently than other games in the rhythm genre, however, as it focuses on a different kind of scoring technique. Instead of scoring the player's performance with words like "Perfect" or "Great", the player is judged on the hit accuracy. A percentage rating is displayed for each successful hit. The higher the percentage, the higher the score value for that note. As players successfully hit notes, a combo builds. Combos are not represented by multipliers but simply by a note streak. The higher the note streak, the higher the end-song score is. Full Combos and high-combo marathon runs unlock extra content. New to the franchise in Black Square is the addition of the Special Note. The Special Note is a green note that, when missed, stops all background music and will only resume playing once the player hits the next Special Note.
If players hit notes with a 100% accuracy rating, a meter, called "Fever", builds up. The Fever meter is the DJ MAX series equivalent of Star Power/Overdrive. Triggering the meter once it's full activates Fever Mode and a 'x2' multiplier is then applied to the score. When the multiplier is active, the meter can be re-filled and re-activated during Fever Mode to extend it and boost the multiplier up to 'x3'. This can be continued to a maximum multiplier of 'x5'. The higher the multiplier is, the shorter the timing window to activate Fever Mode is and the the faster the note chart's scroll speed will be.
Here are the different difficulty levels for Black Square. The Cross button is used to activate Fever Mode and the Analog Stick is used for "DJ" sections, requiring the player to rotate the analog at random or in the indicated direction.
4B Mode uses the Left and Up buttons on the D-Pad as well as the Triangle and Circle buttons for music notes.
4BFX Mode uses the Left and Up buttons on the D-Pad, the Triangle and Circle buttons as well as the L and R shoulder buttons for music notes.
5B Mode uses the Left, Up and Right buttons on the D-Pad as well as the Square, Triangle and Circle buttons for music notes. However, the Right and Square buttons activate the same note column, allowing for easier input when the player is faced with streams of notes.
6B Mode uses the Left, Up and Right buttons on the D-Pad as well as the Square, Triangle and Circle buttons for music notes. Unlike 5B Mode, the Right and Square buttons have their own, separate note columns.
6BFX Mode uses the Left, Up and Right buttons on the D-Pad, the Square, Triangle and Circle buttons as well as the L and R shoulder buttons for music notes. This mode was formally known as "8B Mode" in previous DJ MAX iterations.
Like previous games in the series, combos continue to be of importance in Black Square, as they count to your overall high score. Additionally, reaching a high combo count unlocks additional content and, in some game modes, will carry over from song to song, allowing players to reach combo streaks of several tens of thousand hits or more.
One of the new additions to Black Square. Appearing as a green note on the song chart, the Special Note will activate music in the song when hit. Successfully hitting it gives the player 1,000 bonus points and each subsequent hit gives an extra 1,000 points (as in, 1 note: 1,000 points, 2 notes: 2,000 points, 5 notes: 5,000 points). Missing a Special Note carries a penalty, however, as your special point streak will be broken and the background music will cease to play. While music samples activated through regular notes will continue to play, the background music will only return when the next Special Note is successfully hit.
Introduced in DJ MAX Clazziquai Edition, Club Tour replaces the "Club DJing Mode" from previous games in favor of a deeper, more fleshed-out carrer mode-like experience. You'll start in the opening town with 4 clubs for you to perform in. Each club contains a set number of playlists (Usually 2 to 4) and you play each playlist to clear the stage and rank up. You start at Rank 500, trying to work your way to Rank 1. Certain clubs will be "Mission Clubs", having other DJs to play against instead of song playlists. Each DJ will either have a specific goal for defeat (i.e.: Activate Fever x4, Score 600,000 on each song) or have an effector on top of a goal (i.e.: Score 800,000 with the note line hidden). There are 4-5 clubs in each Area and they unlock as you clear roughly 85% the previous area. Each area will have a different theme (Rock, Jazz, Techno, etc.) and drastically increase in difficulty as you progress, starting out from 4B Mode and moving to 6BFX Mode by the 5th Area.
Arcade Mode is a more traditional, eastern music-game mode. There are 3 stages to play through, each stage having it's own separate playlist of songs. The playlist will vary on which button configuration you choose at the beginning, as some songs are exclusive to certain schemes. You are scored on your performance for each song and all is tallied up into a total, final score at the end of the 3rd song.
Within the control scheme options at the start of Arcade Mode is the "Free Mode" option.
Free mode unlocks all songs at once (songs exclusive to control schemes stay so, however) and allows you to switch between each control scheme on the fly (in song selection menus, not during gameplay). Free Mode's biggest use is either for a quick play of a favorite song or to build up combos.
Network Battle is Black Square's multiplayer. There are two options: Score Match and Handicap Match, the equivalent of Ranked and Player Match. Network Battle can only be played through local Ad-Hoc.
Collection Mode is a gallery mode/statistics mode of sorts. There are 5 categories:
- Internet Ranking: Gives you a 24-character password to enter on www.platinumcrew.co.kr. This allows you to upload your best scores in Arcade Mode onto Pentavision's internet ranking service.
- Play Data: Shows statistics like your high score, highest combo and accuracy rating for each song in each Arcade Mode setting.
- ClubTour Emblem: Displays all the Emblems you've earned in Club Tour mode. Emblems are earned upon clearing 100% of a club's playlist/opponents.
- Image: A gallery for all the backgrounds, loading screens and other images for the songs featured in the game. Each image can be exported to the XMB and onto a Memory Stick.
- Movie: 3 Unlockable FMVs. The Opening Movie is unlocked by default.
Options menu. Here, data can be installed for faster loading, the gear's location can be switched (Left, Center or Right), the difficulty can be changed and the language can also be changed. Black Square is natively in Korean, though Japanese and English languages are available making it very import-friendly.
Link Disc Mode
Link Disc allows players to swap discs with previous installments of DJ MAX, giving them the opportunity to play past set lists with the gameplay additions of Black Square. It also unlocks bonus Characters/Gears/Notes/Songs in Black Square depending on the version you insert. Here are the unlocks for each version:
- DJ MAX Portable 1: The song "Hamsin", 1 Gear (PGP), 3 Characters (Preiya, L, Sorang) and 1 Note (Chick).
- DJ MAX Portable 2: 1 Character (Sehra), 1 Gear (Roadster), 1 Note (Bird) and the song "DIVINE SERVICE".
- Clazziquai Edition: A vast list of songs can be unlocked. Here is a detailed run-down of the list. Songs must be played in Link Disc mode and will unlock in Arcade Mode for the Button Mode you played the song in. An unlock message will not be shown. The song will still be unlocked, however.
Play in Link Disc
Unlocks in Arcade Mode
Come to Me
Proposed, Flower, Wolf Part 2
Sweet Shining Shooting Star
Heart of Witch
In My Dream
Keys to the World
Beat U Down
Ask to Wind ~Live Mix~
Memory of Beach
Elastic Star ~UK Garage Mix~
Real Over DRIVE
Ask to Wind
PLAY the Future
Space of Soul
Other unlocks include:
"Y MX 4B" - Clear 28 songs in Link Disc
"BS - HD style" - Clear the related CE song on HD style (or clear the BS song on NM)
"BS - MX style" - Clear the related CE song on MX style*
Note: For link play unlockables, do not clear the Clazziquai Edition songs on any other button mode before doing so on 4B. This is to avoid getting a glitched unlock. The glitched unlock will not show up on play data even when it is unlocked.
(Thanks to GameFAQs user InfertTAKUYA, of whom this info is pulled from)
Album Mode is what was known as OST Mode in past DJ MAX titles. It acts essentially as an MP3 player, allowing you to listen to the game's soundtrack. Throughout playing the game, you can unlock new tracks to listen to in Album Mode including extended mixes of shortened songs found in the normal game. There is also the possibility to watch the background video for certain songs in Album Mode.
|Ask to wind (바람에게 부탁해) Live Mix||Forte Escape||Live Pop||Miya|
|Beat U Down||Makou||Euro Beat||-|
|Colours of Sorrow||Tsukasa||Colours POP||nomico|
|Cypher Gate||7 Sequence||Hi-Break Core||-|
|Dear my Lady||Oriental ST8||HI-NRG||-|
|DIVINE SERVICE||Electronic Boutique||Ethnic Techno||-|
|DJMAX||Humming Urban Stereo||MAX HOUSE||J-Dogg (Rhymebus)|
|Fever Pitch Girl||Nikacha||Fever House||So Fly feat. JC|
|Get Down||BJJ||Dance Rock||Brandy feat. Jessica Kim|
|Get Up||Croove||2Step||So Fly feat. JC|
|Grave Consequence||Tsukasa||DNB Trance||-|
|Heart of Witch||ReX||Classical Trance||-|
|Honeymoon||Humming Urban Stereo||Acid Pop||Yozoh|
|I Want You||Lin-G||House Dance||Jay|
|In My Dream||ND Lee||Mental Metal||-|
|Jealousy||3rd Coast||Marble House||So Fly feat. JC|
|Keys to the World||Planetboom||Planet Core||Yohan (Main Vocal of the band 'Pia')|
|Lovely Hands||Planetboom||Space Pop||Miya|
|Lover (BS Style)||ND Lee||Barbie House||Young|
|Melody||Bermei.inazawa||Cute POP||Esprit Lee|
|PDM||Trish||Acid Jazz||샛별 feat. Zito|
|Play the FUTURE||Urbatronic Chopsticks||Electro House||Mellow Funk Sound|
|Proposed, Flower, Wolf (고백, 꽃, 늑대) Part. 2||ReX||Violin Trance||-|
|Ready Now||Ruby Tuesday||Euro Dance||LEAH|
|Real Over DRIVE||NieN||Hardcore||-|
|Relation Again||Tsukasa & ESTi||Bright Fusion||-|
|River Flow||Planetboom||Groovy Pop||Planetboom|
|Ruti'n||Bexter||Urban Pop||So Fly feat. JC|
|Shoreline||Oriental ST8||Balearic House||-|
|Son of Sun||Hosoe Shinji||Gabber||-|
|Son of Sun (Full version)||Hosoe Shinji||Gabber||-|
|Space of Soul||M2U||Symphonic House||Tari|
|STOP||3rd Coast||Bigband House||So Fly feat. JC|
|Supersonic||Planetboom||Speedcore||Planetboom feat. Mike Blunck|
|Sweet Shining Shooting Star||Croove||Acin House||So Fly feat. JC|
|The Last Dance (Eng ver)||Urbatronic Chopsticks||INDIA HIP HOP||Esprit Lee feat. KID K|
|Y (BS Style)||ND Lee||Acid House||Silver|
|Yo! Max||ND Lee||HIP HOP||Miya feat. Mike Blunck|
Platinum Crew update
Made available through Pentavision's "Platinum Crew" service, Black Square players received two updates. The first patched in a fix for a 6B Arcade Mode glitch and added in a "Season 2" to the Club Tour mode. The second patched in a fix for a still-unknown issue in the Link Disc feature when used with Clazziquai Edition.