Frequency is a music-rhythm game developed by Harmonix and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation 2. It was released on November 20, 2001 in North America and on June 28, 2002 in Europe.
It is one of the platform's first rhythm games and is also one of the first titles to support the PlayStation 2 Network Adapter. A visually-strong presentation and a strong reception from critics would lay the ground for Frequency's sequel, Amplitude. It would also mark the beginning of Harmonix's pioneer-like reputation as console-based rhythm game masters with a highly-reveered soundtrack and addictive gameplay that still has fans asking for a third entry in the franchise.
Harmonix would go on to later release Rock Band: Unplugged, a PSP-entry in the Rock Band franchise. It was highly anticipated and well-received by fans as a somewhat-spiritual successor to the Frequency franchise.
Frequency broke up any given song into tracks, such as drums (always the first), bass, lead synths, vocals, and so on. Each track was represented by one side of an octagonal tube that the player swept down over the course of the game. On each side of that tube were a series of notes, either left, middle or right. You tapped out these patterns with either the square, triangle, and circle buttons or L1, R1, and R2, which was a more advanced but ultimately more flexible control scheme. Upon completing two measures of music flawlessly, the track would lock on and the player could move on to the next section. Unlocking multiple tracks in succession increased a score multiplier. Every eight measures, the song would progress to the next section, and the process would repeat. When the musical segment came around again, the previously unlocked tracks would still be on, and by completing all the tracks in a section, you could unlock a bonus 'freestyle' track, which either added an arpegginator or a scratch-pad to the music.
Several power-ups were available, all engaged by the X button. The Autocatcher would unlock a track, and was good both for unlocking difficult tracks and for saving your score multiplier in case you missed a note. The multiplier power-up doubled your score for a number of measures.
Frequency also featured a multiplayer mode where the goal was to score more points than your opponent. You were aided in this quest by several other power-ups. The Freestyler allowed you to unlock the freestyle track and score some easy points, especially once all tracks had already been unlocked. The Crippler disabled your opponent, breaking their streak and failing their attempt to unlock a track. The Neutralizer restored a track to 'locked' status, allowing you to unlock it again and get more points. The Bumper kicked your opponent off a track, allowing you the chance to unlock it. Multiplayer was simple but in the right hands, a great deal of fun.
It's also worth noting that Frequency was one the first games on PS2 to have online multiplayer. It was somewhat complicated to get into, however. Upon connecting the Network Adapter Sony released to allow PS2's to connect to the web, players were prompted to insert the hardware's install disc. The disc contained a few videos of various upcoming, online-enabled PS2 titles and a demo version of Frequency. This demo was the only way to access the game's online mode. It had the first four songs of the game, but also provided players with the option to swap discs from the Network Adapter install disc to the actual Frequency game disc in order to play all the songs in the game online. Online Frequency supported up to four players and allowed users to download and play songs created in Remix mode, post remixed songs, and even remix songs together.
Frequency also allowed for some clever player creativity. You could create your own 'FreQ', an avatar that represented you in the game world, by building your avatar up out of basic shapes and colors. This ability was, in fact, referenced in the song 'Super-Sprode' by Freezepop on their second appearance in a Harmonix game, Amplitude. ('You made your FreQ, so Uber-shiek. This is what you are.') There was also a limited remix option, where players could use notes from individual tracks to build up their own version of a song.
- The Crystal Method - "The Winer"
- Akrobatik - "Exterminator"
- No Doubt: "Ex-Girlfriend (remix)"
- Orbit - "XLR8R"
- Freezepop - "Science Genius Girl"
- Dub Pistols - "Official Chemical"
- Low Fidelity All Stars - "Lo Fi's in Ibiza"
- Fear Factory - "Frequency"
- Paul Oakenfold - "See it"
- Ethan Eves - "Selecta"
- Powerman 5000 - "Danger is Go"
- Orbital - "Funny Break (Weekend Ravers mix)"
- DJ Q-Bert - "Cosmic Assassins"*
- BT - "Smartbomb"
- Curve - "Worst Mistake"
Stage 4: (Only available on difficulty hard or above)
- Jungle Brothers - "What's the Five 0"
- Funkstar D Luxe - "Ignition"
- Roni Size & Reprazent - "Railing Pt 2."
- Meat Beat Manifesto - "Dynamite Fresh"
- Juno Reactor - "Higher Ground"
Stage 5: (Only available on difficulty Expert)
- Toni Trippi - "Motomatic"
- DJ HMX - "Ibiza Dreamz"
- Symbion Project - "Funky Dope Maneuver"
- Komputer Kontroller - "Control Your Body"
- Symbion Project - "FreQout"
*The in-game version of DJ Q-Bert's Cosmic Assassins differs from retail one that appears on his Wavetwisters CD/Film.