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Pump Haven: :: PIU Exceed - Turkey's First Hand Review!
1:22PM CST :: 3/22/04


Please note that this is to be read AFTER reading the original Exceed review...


I went to play the brand new PIU Exceed first-hand yesterday at the London Trocadero, on the only Exceed machine on the planet right now (huzzah!). Not only is it the first machine to be in an arcade with Exceed, it was the first brand new Exceed GX machine ever seen period (from the ATEI show in London). The machine was insanely perfect. You barely had to put any pressure at all on the pad for it to register. For sure the machine was in perfect condition for me to write an extensive review on it. Anyway, I was greeted by the machine with a fantastic mini-clip showcasing the new songs. The graphics were incredible. I don't care who you are, if you walk by that machine and glance at that video, you're gonna stop and watch it. It was beautiful, and it got me pumped to play it.

When I put in my first credit, the first thing I did was scroll through everything to gather as much information on the levels and BPM's as I could (see below). Since there was a 60 second timer, I ended up being forced to make last second decisions on what songs to choose, and I ended up picking some lame stuff on like Normal and Hard mode. Nonetheless, I was gonna be there a while, so it wasn't much of a problem. The first thing I instantly noticed about Exceed was the graphics. The amazing animations weren't just limited to the opening animation, because every song had an awesome background. I can't really say enough about them. Exceed is heavily influenced by Anime, and some songs such as Go and Essa Maneira have animations with pretty cool looking characters that are animated very well.

People are seriously going to have a good time here, no matter whether they are freestylers, steppers, Nightmare mode masochists, or people who just play for fun. For FS'ers, they have all the basic FS songs you've grown to love such as Funky, Caution, We Are, Koul, and even Fighting Spirits. For people who play for fun, you've got to play the 6 Banyas on Double. They aren't easy, hard, made for FS, or made to kill you. They are simply downright fun. You'll have a blast playing them all, because their step routines are just FUN and nothing else. Anyways, for the Nightmare freaks, you'll cream yourself when you hear this: PIU Exceed has not one, not two, but 53 songs on Nightmare mode!!! All 24 new songs have Nightmare, plus the 23 from Prex 3, plus 6 new ones. I'll let you find the new ones on the list of Nightmares in the bottom. You'll like it when you see which ones...

Anyways, I played each of the new Banya and K-Pop songs, so let me talk about each one in detail:

Banya Channel:

Banya - Final Audition 3 U.F
(BPM 130.5; EZ: lv. 2; HD: lv. 5; CZ: lv. 12; DB: lv. 6; NM: lv. 15)

OK, FA3. This SOB is FUN as hell, and strangely Andamiro didn't make this song to be the ass-kicker it could have been. Fair enough, because it's still freaking sweet. Crazy is hard enough, at LEAST a level 9 in the old scale, and it has one small chain of 32nds that you simply have NOT seen before. I wonder if any human can hit them all. Besides that, the rest isn't bad at all. I'm sure you guys have seen the video. The other modes are much simpler, and the steps are done well. On Double it's damn fun. And of course, the video. Fantabulsitic. The whole fighter plane war thing is done very well, and once you watch it up close, you see plenty of little details that you can't see on the video we had at PH.

Banya - Naissance 2
(BPM 128; EZ: lv. 2; HD: lv. 5; CZ: lv. 12; DB: lv. 6; NM: lv. 15)

WOW. Just... WOW. Naissance 2 has, hands down, the most kickass background animation ever seen in Pump it Up. And I mean it. It looks like something off a videogame, like SSX or something. There's a snowboarder going through a tunnel and avoiding obstacles and doing tons of sweet tricks, and NONE of the video repeats. The tunnel keeps changing, and you just want to keep following the video to see what happens next. It starts with a countdown (6... 5... 4... 3... 2... 1!) with flashing colors spinning around the screen and it ends with him flying into space. It rocks! The steps are incredibly fun as well. On Crazy, it's definitely made more to be enjoyable rather than to kill you, but it's still pretty hard. This is one of the few Crazies I played more than once. On Double and Hard it's also very well done and on Double it has hold and step patterns that are VERY unique and haven't been seen before in PIU. And I'm SO glad they used the Banya soundtrack version of the song rather than the original one that's been floating around on the net. The rap part of the song rules!

Banya - Blazing
(BPM 158; EZ: lv. 3; HD: lv. 6; CZ: lv. 13; DB: lv. 5; NM: lv. 14)

Woo! This one was fun as well. Blazing is like the "sequel" I guess you could say to Hello, with that whole Latin flavor and tons of instruments. The steps are fun (didn't try Crazy), and the video is to die for, especially those who watch for every detail and look for storylines and stuff. I know there's people out there like that. Basically the video has this cowboy dude with a pistol rescuing this girl that's held hostage and there's the evil villain guy who he fights with. You see him travelling to the bad guy's "headquarters" and fighting all the other enemies and stuff. It has a unique white and red-colored environment, which is interesting. So funkified... but I love it.

Banya - Pump Me Amadeus
(BPM 170; EZ: lv. 4; HD: lv. 7; CZ: lv. 15; DB: lv. 6; NM: lv. 17)

And here it is, the best classical remix ever. Let me break it all down. On Normal it is the same old thing like Beethoven and Winter, being one of the hard classical remixes of Normal. On Hard, it's some tough shiat. It's at LEAST at Winter's level, and it's run city. For those people who know how to correctly turn with "confusing" step patterns, this is some fun stuff. Since I knew how to adjust my feet and turn around on each of the parts, the steps flowed very naturally. Anyways, on Crazy it's that horrorfest you guys all know, and it's the same on Nightmare. But on Double, WOO! It is so much fun. It's easy yet you want to keep playing it anyway. And with the way the music got projected from the different speakers, with different instruments being more emphasized than others, it sounded really awesome when being played. I love it.

Banya - X-Treme
(BPM 162; EZ: lv. 5; HD: lv. 8; CZ: lv. 15; DB: lv. 8; NM: lv. 19)

Why the hell did AM make this the default song? Stupid Andamiro... it's a level FIVE on Normal and there's a ton of level 1's around. Whatever, I'm not a newbie anyway. If there's any song I can compare X-Treme's steps to, it'd be Extravaganza. On Crazy it manages to pack a TON of steps, maybe even as many as Winter, but it still manages to somehow be kind of easy. The song follows a not-so-challenging yet fun pattern where it goes double skip/run/drill, and it matches the song perfectly. There are one or two runs that kick your ass, but it's no biggie. On Hard it's tough as well, and on Double it's tough (yet fun). And the video... man. It's as good as the others! Everyone says that inside the video there are the Powerpuff Girls and crap, but I think that they are mistaken. There is only one of them, the one that looks like the one in red, and in the video she looks more "evil" than the PPG one. It's not the same thing, but it's close.

Banya - Get Up!
(BPM 180; EZ: lv. 5; HD: lv. 8; CZ: lv. 12; DB: lv. 5, NM: lv. 17)

This sucker is fun as hell. It's a carefree kind of song with cutesy cartoon characters rocking out on a stage (playing guitars, drums, and all). The song sounds like a cross between End of the Century, Twinbee, and the guitar part of Winter, with lots of extra sound effects thrown in (like a rooster making a noise at the end). It's sweet, and on Double once again it's a blast. I don't understand why this song has been ignored and overlooked in the trade shows, because this is a classical remix that's just as good as Pump Me Amadeus probably, and it doesn't sound AT ALL like any of the others. I played this song three times. Loved it.


K-Pop Channel:

S'max - One Love
(BPM 98; EZ: 2; HD: 4; CZ: 7; DB: 4, NM: 12)

This song turned out to be better than I expected. It's slightly altered with a rap part and a nice hip-hop flavor. It's definitely good for freestyle, and people should check it out. Crazy mode is odd, because it's certainly not as easy as they claim it is. 7 is the lowest level for a Crazy in Exceed, and since this was a 7, I didn't expect it to be this hard. The song has holds that make you slap the pad (not too bad though), and lots of fast runs. It's not bad by any means, but certainly not easy enough to be called a 7. The video's all 3D with some factory and these blue crates being transported around. Kinda corny, but it looks cool. It's the most "3D-y" video of the bunch.

Oliver - Flamenco
(BPM 105; EZ: lv.2; HD: lv. 4; CZ: lv. 9; DB: lv. 5; NM: lv. 10)

I have this weird suspicion that Flamenco is going to be a very overlooked song in Exceed. The intro and title screen don't do it much justice because it's actually an excellent song. It's slow and has a good beat for freestyle and it has a very cool Anime-based video. The steps aren't hard and it's perfect for people who want to take a break and play an easy song after they played Pump Me Amadeus Crazy on their first credit because of Stage Break (our machine doesn't have Stage Break, yay). Make sure not to overlook Flamenco when you try out Exceed. It's quite a good song.

U;nee - Go
(BPM 130; EZ: lv. 3; HD: lv. 6; CZ: lv. 10; DB: lv. 5; NM: lv. 15)

This is one of my favorite K-Pops in Exceed. They remixed the song slightly to have more of a hip-hop flavor (like One Love), and the way they made it makes it perfect for freestyle. On Double it's damn fun, and I ended up actually attempting to freestyle it some even though I normally don't. I played Double with Freedom and Earthworm on (yes, both codes are still in Exceed), and it was a blast. The song had an Anime-based background and the steps were top-notch. Very nice indeed.

Crash - What Do You Really Want
(BPM 110 EZ: lv. 2; HD: lv. 7; CZ: lv. 15; DB: lv. 7; NM: lv. 16)

Yay! What Do U Really Want by Monocrome from 1st Mix is one of my favorite PIU songs of all time, and now Andamiro has brought it back in the form of a cover by Crash. Excellent. Anyways, even though the song is merely 110 BPM, this song is still out to kick your ass. It's hella hard. On Crazy it's a jumpfest with very difficult step combinations. It has the highest level possible for a Crazy on Exceed (15), and it's not beaten by Dignity in difficulty by much. On Double it's fun (played it twice) and on Hard it's difficult but still fun. And they even made it a level 2 for newbies who want to start their Pumping with a rock song! Perfect. The video is really funny. It has these rock dudes with big heads slamming on their guitars and running around and doing dumb crap all over the place. It matches the song, that's for sure.

BoA - Valenti
(BPM 104; EZ: lv. 2; HD: lv. 6; CZ: lv. 14; DB: lv. 6; NM: lv. 16)

Valenti's fun. It's tougher than it should be, but the steps are done right. Hard's level should be bumped up some because it's got 16ths and even a couple triples, but the steps aren't bad. I didn't even try Crazy or Nightmare, but I heard they are brutal. There's one thing about Valenti though that was very, very weird. The song has a glitch where getting a score of an A, B, or C is simply impossible. Only S's, D's, and F's are possible. It's some kind of error on the grading scale. And the problem is, there's a weird hold on most of the modes with a double step hold ending a fraction of a second before the next step comes in, causing you to miss, and thus killing your S. This error may as well be patched in the final release (the machine I played IS a test version), but for now it seems to be that way. Either way, Valenti was definitely an interesting choice here for Andamiro...

Crash - Dignity
(BPM 195; EZ: lv. 5; HD: lv. 8; CZ: lv. 15; DB: lv. 6; NM: lv. 20)

And this is it, the holy grail of insanity. Good God. This song has the most horrific and psychotic steps I've ever seen on Pump. On Nightmare it's like something out of hell... quadruple HOLDS, 16th runs (at freaking 195BPM) back and forth on the two sides, triples in between the holds... utter insanity. On Crazy it's the same crap - it's uber hard. But don't let this fool you any, because the steps are actually very well done. They DO match the beat (unlike Get The Party Started) and DO make sense. The thing is it's a speed metal song at 195 BPM!! Those of you who have stamina and speed from another dimension should go right ahead and play this on Nightmare. It's quite a challenge. God. The song is really good on other modes, though. On Hard it's like Will O' The Wisp in difficulty and on Easy it's not all that bad. But on Double... woo! Dignity Double is my favorite step routine on Exceed, believe it or not. It's SO harder than a 6, but it's nothing worse than Beethoven Virus. It's just mindless and stupid fun. Like the video, mindless and stupid (and for the video, pointless). There you go. That's the assassin of Exceed.

And that's about it, really. The Pop songs aren't bad, I guess... judging by the intros they are at the same level (if not better) than the Premiere 3 ones. I played Kiss Me and Xi Bom Bom Bom. Kiss Me is a song about 75% of you have heard before, but I think in this case it's a cover. I like the song, actually. And the steps are easy and fun. And then there's Xi Bom Bom Bom. Muhahaha. Anyone from Brazil and who listens to Brazilian music will recognize this song. It's a cover of the song that goes "Bom Xi Bom Xi Bom Bom Bom" by As Meninas. It's a good song, sure, but I have never in my life seen a song catchier than this. This is the kind of song that gets stuck in your head and doesn't leave even beyond when you go to sleep that night. You have it stuck in your head the next day. Gaaaaahhh... this is SO gonna be the most hated song when Exceed starts spreading around, but I still like it. And the steps. Yummy.

Now let me explain the level system some, because I know some of you are in shock because every song looks like it has Slam steps. The levels are now universal, as in a 3 on Easy would technically be the same as a 3 on Nightmare. Easy songs range from 1-5 (and maaaybe 6 for BOTW, not sure), Hard from 2-8, Crazy from 7-15, and Nightmare from 8 to 20. On Nightmare 11 is about the level of Come Back To Me or As I Told U, and 20 is like Will O' The Wisp and Dignity. The Easy, Hard, and Double mode steps were basically left unchanged. Some songs were brought down one or two levels in either direction, but it wasn't something major. Well, that's the case for MOST songs...

Here are some odd and weird things I noticed about the other songs.

--Com'back Crazy is now a level 12... what the hell. It's a  really simple Crazy and I don't know if this rating is an exaggeration or if there are new steps. Dunno...

--Beethoven Virus and Winter had their levels on Double dropped quite a bit, and now the levels are just damn wrong. Beethoven Double is now a level 6. WTF.

--Vook Double... now THIS intrigues me. It's a level SEVEN on Double. I have this weird suspicion that it's not a level error, because the Nightmare is listed as 18. Maybe they changed the steps for Double? Not sure. I didn't play it to find out either. I didn't wanna waste a song on my credit, sheesh.

--It seems like the Prex 3 altered steps are still here... at least Join The Party. It has the hold hell steps from Prex 3 still. And it's only level 11. That makes it easier than Com'back! Thanks Andamiro for informing us of everything correctly.

--The new Nightmares, such as.... wait. I'll let you find them for yourselves. Anyway, lemme just tell you here, the steps are NEW. They're not old step rehashes... except for one. I think you can figure that one out because it doesn't even have Double mode.

I brought a lot of paper and a pencil, and I put them to good use. I got a ton of level stats for y'all, and here they are...


And that's it! Pump on! And since I'm nice, here are the original game version MP3's of 5 of the Exceed Banyas in full quality for all to have. Click to stream and then save. Enjoy! This is yet another Pump Haven exclusive!

Banya Game Version Music:

- Turkeyslam