How to Play Double A FAQ for all mixes of Dance Dance Revolution Arcade, Playstation, Playstation 2, Dreamcast, and by Sam Pinansky Contact: Version 1.1 September 12, 2002 Version History: 4/16/02 1.0 First complete public version. 9/12/02 1.1 Added sections on freeze steps and reviews of most 9 foot double maniac songs, as well as a few small changes here and there. Contents: 0. Disclaimer 1. Introduction 1.1 Purpose of this FAQ 1.2 Background Info 1.3 Pads 1.4 Why is double better then single? 2. Basic Techniques 2.1 Some definitions 2.2 Starting to play double 2.3 The 3 basic positions 2.4 How to step in the middle position 2.5 Jumps 2.6 Basic crossing method - the crab step 2.7 Miscellaneous 3. Intermediate Techniques 3.1 Limits to the basic techniques 3.2 Advanced crossing techniques 3.2.1 Forward diagonal cross 3.2.2 Backward diagonal cross 3.2.3 Linked diagonal crosses - A practice exercise 3.2.4 Real world diagonal cross use 3.2.5 Lower horizontal cross 3.2.6 Upper horizontal cross 3.2.7 Linked horizontal crosses - A practice pattern 3.2.8 Real world horizontal crosses 3.2.9 Combination cross patterns 3.3 Position 2 techniques - Truncated crossing patterns 3.4 Other techniques 3.4.1 Hopping 3.4.2 Large walk 3.4.3 Swivel 3.4.4 Freeze Steps NEW! 3.5 Congratulations! 4. Advanced Techniques 4.1 Limits of intermediate techniques 4.2 Tricky Steps 4.2.1 Gallops 4.2.2 Toe-tapping and recovery 4.3 Case Study #1 Gradiusic Cyber AMD G5 Mix 4.4 Case Study #2 La Senorita 4.5 Case Study #3 Paranoia Eternal 4.6 Case Study #4 gentle stress AMD Sexual Mix 4.7 Reviews of nine-footers NEW! 4.7.1 7th Mix 4.7.2 5th Mix 4.7.3 4th Mix 5. Some Random Ruminations NEW! 5.1 On Learning Max 300 5.2 On the Evolution of Difficulty 0. Disclaimer This FAQ is copyright 2002 to me. You may not copy, distribute, or post publicly either electronically or physically, this FAQ or the information contained within without my express permission. 1. Introduction 1.1 Purpose of this FAQ Before we start, I'd just like to say a few disclaimers about who this FAQ is for, and what my purpose is for writing it. Every day when I play DDR either at the arcade or with friends, I see many people who only play single (quite well, too), and give the excuse "Well, I suck at double" for never trying double. In my opinion, all these people are missing out on half (or more) of the fun of DDR, and this guide is to try and help those people who want to learn how to play double play it well, and therefore have more fun at DDR. I also hope this FAQ will be useful to those people who already play double a lot, as I'm sure I'll have a different perspective then other people and maybe give some tips and techniques others haven't thought of. 1.2 Background Info First off, some information about who I am. I started playing DDR in the summer of 2001, basically in a vacuum (I knew of no other people who played). I bought DDR USA and two pads off ebay to try and exercise, and I was hooked. I quickly got better, and in about 3 months had mastered all but the nine foot single songs. I needed a new challenge, so I tried double play out, and was quickly humbled back to barely passing 2-3 foots songs. After modding my pads a bit (see below), I eventually (like another 2-3 months) managed to pass 6-7 foot double songs, but I still couldn't do anything more difficult. I needed some techniques! After downloading some videos of Korean players, I tried mimicking some of their moves, and, after a lot of practice and refining, now safely say I can pass every song in every mix (through 5th) at every difficulty level, in both single and double. And you can too! 1.3 Pads OK, I know I'm going to get flack from this, but its the truth: You can play double well with only the cheap topway (or equivalent) 3rd party pads. All you have to do is make sure of two things: 1. The two pads cannot separate during play. 2. The pads cannot slide too much along the floor during play. Easier said then done. Now there are many great resources out there for fancy pad modding, but I'm just going to give what I have at home which works great for me. I have two topway 3rd party pads ($30 for both off ebay), affixed by duct tape around the edges to two pieces of particle board (1/2 inch thick and cut to the proper size. Cost $25 at Hechingers and they cut the things for free), and (not necessary, but nice) two red-octane pad covers (also affixed by duct tape). I then duct tape (I like duct tape) the two pads/boards together across the XO and the triangle-square, and we have a stable, responsive, non-moving platform, for about $55, not including the pad covers. It works great for me, and you can always undo the duct tape and get the pads out. If you have fancier pads, all the better, just as long as they satisfy the two criteria above, they'll be fine. 1.4 Why is double better then single? Note: This entire FAQ is subjective and completely based on my opinion. If you disagree, good. Double is better then single for many reasons: 1. It requires more skill visually. With eight arrows instead of four, you have a lot more information to process at once, and things can get quite hectic. Single will seem easy to see after playing a lot of maniac double songs. 2. It requires more stamina, and burns more calories. Simple physics fact: By accelerating and deceleration your center of mass, you do a lot of work, ad thus burn energy. Double requires far more center of mass motion then single play (which when played well requires very little), and thus burns more calories. This translates directly into a higher required stamina level, as anyone who's played the long versions in 5th mix on double maniac knows all too well. 3. It allows more interesting step patterns. By having twice as many arrows to deal with, the step patterns for double are far more varied then single, and are less repetitive. 4. It is more flexible with performance play. Since you have a lot more room in which to move around, you can do more neat moves. And many more... 2. Basic Techniques (1-4 foot songs) 2.1 Some definitions To make things easier, I'm going to define some things first off. I am always assuming that your body is facing the television (or arcade monitor), and when referring to left, right, up, and down I will be assuming this orientation. The pad located to the left I will call pad 1, and the pad on the right pad 2 (to correspond with player 1 and player 2). So for instance the left arrow on the right pad will be called L2, and the down arrow on the left pad will be called D1. Got it? 2.2 Starting to play double Many people never try double seriously until they've nearly mastered single (like me), but there is no reason why people who aren't as good yet can't start playing. My personal recommendation is that you can start to play double when you are able to pass 4-5 foot songs on single. It'll be hard at first, but it pays off in the end, and single will seem easy after learning to play double well. 2.3 The 3 basic positions When starting off playing double, you will quickly realize that it is a lot harder to know where your feet are on the pads (what I call "pad presence") without looking down all the time. This just takes practice to get used to, but to help out, it helps to define three basic pad positions, which are all you need at the most basic levels. Position 1: Pad 1 In this position your center of mass is directly over pad 1, as if you were playing single mode. From this position you can reach L1 U1 R1 D1 and L2. Position 2: Middle In this position your center of mass is directly over the center of the pads, your left foot is on R1, and your right foot is on L2. From this position you can reach U1 D1 R1 U2 D2 and L2. Position 3: Pad 2 In this position your center of mass is directly over pad 2, as if you were playing single mode as player 2. From this position you can reach L2 U2 R2 D2 and R1. At the 1-3 foot difficulty level, you can basically view the sequence of steps in 3 groups: 1. Steps which require you to be in position 1 or 3. You should step these as you would in single mode. 2. Steps which require you to be in position 2. 3. Steps which require you to move between the three positions. These are generally the kind which give new double players the most trouble. At harder difficulty levels, these arbitrary divisions begin to blur, and you will begin to get long sequences of steps in category 3. For techniques for those kinds of steps, see the intermediate section below. 2.4 How to step in the middle position When in the middle position, you must remember that your feet are closer together then when in position 1 or 3, a little closer then shoulder width. At this skill level, the easiest way to step U1 and D1 is by toe tapping your left foot up or down (toe tapping means keeping your weight on your right foot and tapping with your left), and similarly for U2 and D2. For R1 and L2, just march in place. When steps get faster, this technique breaks down, and you'll need a different method that doesn't require toe tapping (see the intermediate techniques). Pardon the digression, but I think I need to talk a bit about: 2.5 Jumps You'll notice pretty soon that there are now 5 more kinds of jumps when playing double. I'll review them here: R1L2 (no space indicates a jump) Simple. Stand in position 2 and hop. Can also be done while facing right or left if traveling from position 1 to 3 or vica versa. U1L2, R1U2, D1L2, and R1D2 Tricky to keep your balance on these at first. Jump from either position 1/3 or position 2, but make sure your weight is over one foot primarily, or you'll lose balance because your feet are spread too far apart. In Disney mix only: U1U2 and D1D2 Ouch! Unsafe! Only appears in a few songs, but watch out as it requires quite a large separation between feet and it is easy to slip in socks and hurt yourself. Many times you'll find a series of jumps in position 2, which are generally easy to hit, because it doesn't require moving your center of mass. Example: R1L2 R1L2 U1L2 D1L2 R1L2 R1L2 R1U2 R1D2... Easy huh? Practice that to get better at feeling out the spacing for your feet on these new jumps. In the harder difficulty levels, you will be required to perform jumps while moving across the pads (jumps "on the move" so to say), such as: R2 D2 R1L2 D1 L1. Doing these properly and in control is tricky. Sometimes jumps will require you to launch yourself across the pad, as in a notorious (to me anyway) section of B4U double maniac which had something like: U1R1 D1R1 U2L2 D2L2. My suggestion: keep your center of mass as stationary as possible, i.e. lean toward the center at all times, to keep yourself (and your feet), in control. Digression on jumps over. 2.6 Basic crossing method - the crab step So stepping in position 1 2 and 3 is mastered. Great! But how do I get from one to the other without tripping over myself? This difficulty is essentially what makes double harder than single, so there's no easy answer. Here are some simple moves which will do you good. To cross from position 1 to position 2, place your right foot on L2, and then your left foot on R1. Now you're in position 2. Easy, huh? To cross from position 2 to position 3, place your right foot on D2 (or U2), and your left foot on L2. Now you are in position 3. Even easier! To go from 1 to 3, just first go from 1 to 2, and then 2 to 3. OK, so I'm being a bit pedantic here (hahahahahahahahaha! ahem..) but this style of crossing is very important. I call it the "crab step". It always entails keeping you body facing forward, and alternately spreading your stance, and then shrinking it through alternate steps, never crossing one foot across the other. In fact, this is almost to only technique you need even for some of the most difficult songs (like the nine foot Paranoia dirty mix maniac). There are innumerable variations, and you can apply this pattern to many kinds of steps. Example 1: U2 R2 L2 D2 R1 L2 U1 R1 L1 D1 Just step this LRLRLRLRLR. Example 2: L1 L2 R1 R2 R1 L2 L1 Again, LRLRLRL (watch the balance, though!) Example 3 (taken straight from Paranoia Max Dirty Mix 190, a catastrophic nine foot double maniac): L1 U1 D1 R1 U1 L2 R1 D2 U2 R2 D2 U2 L2 Amazingly enough, just step this LRLRLRLRLRLRL (of course, at eighth notes at 190 bps, this isn't easy, but hey, its pretty simple right?) See how fast you can step this pattern accurately. Example 4 AM-3P Double Maniac: If you've mastered the crab step, you SHOULD be able to pass this song (just watch out for the end). Every kind of crab is in this one, and I use this song to warm up all time. This technique will get you pretty far, but it won't help for step patterns like L1 D1 R1 L2 D2 R2 (unless you add eighth note steps in between). As a side note, I've heard many people suggest that you should add extra steps to reach far apart arrows. I don't think that this is a good way to think of things, and prefer to think of moving from one position to another instead of one arrow to the next. Example: D1 rest U2. If you try and add a step in between, you might end up stepping this: left on D1, right on L2 and left on U2, which puts you facing backwards and off balance. The proper way to step is to crab step from position 1 to position 3, D1 L2 R1 U2, LRLR. (Or just toe tap from position 2). It becomes less of an issue when the steps become continuous. 2.7 Miscellaneous You should now be able to do most double songs on Basic. Some notes on "pad presence": This is by far the greatest problem with beginning double players. Since you move your body a lot more then single mode, it is harder to know where your feet are on the pads. There is only one hint I can give you here: Practice! Practice! and more Practice! Well, there is one thing that can help (but don't let it become a crutch): Put down some rough tape on the arrows, which enables you to feel a bit better where your feet are on the buttons. Soon you'll be able to remove the tape and your feet will still remember where to step. If you are playing at an arcade don't grab on the the back bar. Sure it will help you keep balance and know where you are, but once you hit a seven foot song, you'll have no choice but to let it go, so its better to just learn without using it. Don't memorize songs! At this level, you should be able to read and recognize how to step songs on the fly. You'll never be able to memorize the more difficult songs (without a LOT of time), so make sure these basic steps are ingrained in your skull before you start trying to learn the more advanced techniques below. 3. Intermediate Techniques (4-8 foot songs) 3.1 Limits to the basic techniques So you can rock every Basic double song, full comboing everything, but every time you try something on trick, you trip over yourself and fall down, or jump around haphazardly and are completely out of tempo. You my friend, need some new techniques. The basic techniques given above are sufficient for most steps which don't require eighth note non-crab step crossing patterns, covered below, or non-flowing jump crossings. Also fast patterns in position 2 become hard to toe tap. 3.2 Advanced crossing techniques 3.2.1 Forward diagonal cross Full pattern: L1 D1 R1 L2 U2 R2 Step this LRLRLR by facing right and "walking" across the pad. It is essentially two standard single walk techniques, one in position 1 and one in position 3. Note: You could also step this by facing left and "moon walking" RLRLRL. I suggest against this, since you end up with your body facing away from the screen. However if you happen to have your right foot on L1, its easier to step backwards then awkwardly re-orienting yourself. The flipped pattern: R2 D2 L2 R1 U1 L1 is done RLRLRL by facing left, the opposite of the above. 3.2.2 Backward diagonal cross Full pattern L1 U1 R1 L2 D2 R2 Step this LRLRLR, moon walking backwards, facing left. When going backwards it is tricky to gauge your step size, as you will need to make seemingly bigger steps going backwards then going forward. Note: As above, you could step this RLRLRL facing right, going forward, but this would leave your body facing away from the screen again. The flipped pattern is of course done in the opposite manner. 3.2.3 Linked diagonal crosses - A practice exercise Forward cross combo: L1 D1 R1 L2 U2 R2 D2 L2 R1 U1 L1 D1 R1 L2 U2 repeat ad infinitum... Step this just LRLRLRLRLRLRLR etc... and make sure to swivel your body around the curves so you face right, then left, then right etc... See how fast you can go around and around. Make edit data for Era or something. 3.2.4 Real world diagonal cross use These kind of crosses are not uncommon, but are rarer then the more difficult horizontal crosses explained below. They are often found in different beat patterns, such as L1 D1 R1 rest L2 U2 R2 or overlapped with itself as in L1 D1 R1 rest D1 R1 L2 rest R1 L2 U2. The same step patterns apply, but in different rhythms. 3.2.5 Lower horizontal cross Pattern: L1 D1 R1 L2 D2 R2 Step this LRLRLR, with your body facing right for the first three steps, and facing left for the last three steps. IMPORTANT: This is BY FAR the most useful technique in this entire FAQ. If you aren't stepping this pattern in this way, you should be. Getting this in rhythm is tricky, and takes a lot of practice, since you are swiveling your body around while you are doing it. But it is worth it, as this pattern appears everywhere, all the time, and after mastering this technique songs that were once impossible will seem easy. Note: Do NOT step this pattern RLRLRL, with your body facing left and then right. Why? After the second left step, you will be facing left with your right foot on R1 and left foot on L2. Now you must put your right foot on D2, which requires either swiveling your foot around your planted left foot toward the screen and then back (a far longer movement which will assuredly be out of rhythm and is hard to keep balance), or turning away from the screen and swivel to your left around your left foot. Either option is BAD. Try and see what I mean. The flipped pattern is obvious 3.2.6 Upper horizontal cross Pattern: L1 U1 R1 L2 U2 R2 Step this LRLRLR with your body facing left for the first three steps, and right for the last three. This is less common then the lower cross, but almost as important. That same reasoning as above will explain why you don't want to step this RLRLRL. This is (in my opinion), a harder cross then the lower cross, mainly because you have to lean a bit forward, and that puts me a bit off balance. 3.2.7 Linked horizontal crosses - A practice pattern My favorite drill: L1 D1 R1 L2 D2 R2 U2 L2 R1 U1 L1 D1 etc.... See how fast you can go! Go for accuracy, both in foot placement AND rhythm. 3.2.8 Real world horizontal crosses These are the most common patterns in all trick and maniac songs for crossing patterns after the crab step. For a great example, look at the Maniac 2 steps for Follow the Sun (Extra mix) Another great example is the latter part of Saints Go Marching maniac. 3.2.9 Combination cross patterns Combining both horizontal and diagonal charges can get confusing: L1 D1 R1 L2 D2 R2 U2 L2 R1 D1 L1 U1 R1 L2 U2 R2 D2 L2 R1 U1 L1 etc.... All four kinds of crosses, in a large pattern. I've never seen this entire sequence in any song, but pieces of it appear everywhere. See how many times you can do it in a row without screwing up. Once you master these patterns, you'll be able to handle almost anything the game can throw at you. (Well, there are a few more intermediate techniques, but they are not nearly as important). 3.3 Position 2 techniques - Truncated crossing patterns Say you are in position 2, and encounter this step pattern: D1 R1 L2 D2 L2 R1 D1 etc... at the moment, you probably step this LLRRLLRR etc... which works fine... at slow tempos. But at fast tempos, this becomes both tiring and inaccurate. A better way to step this is RLRLRLR etc ... essentially do a truncated lower horizontal cross, and swivel your body back and forth. It takes practice to hit the buttons accurately, but again it is worth the work in the end. Other position 2 step patterns work similarly: U1 R1 L2 D2 L2 R1 U1 etc... is just a truncated diagonal cross. Step this RLRLRLRL while continuously facing left and going forward and backward. These kinds of patterns are not uncommon. An extreme example is Boom Boom Dollar K.O.G. G3 Mix double maniac, which has these (and all kinds of full crossing patterns too) all over the place. It is also found in many "samba" songs, since it is similar to some actual dance steps. 3.4 Other techniques 3.4.1 Hopping Sometimes to keep the flow of steps it is useful to hop on a repeated step while swiveling your body into the next step. Example: L1 D1 R1 R1 L2 D2 R2 Do a normally lower horizontal cross, but hop on your left foot for the second R1 while swiveling your body to face forward. This keeps your center of gravity moving from left to right, and makes it easier to make the steps in tempo and keep your balance. 3.4.2 Large walk Pattern: L1 R1 L2 R2 L2 R1 L1 etc... Just face right and step LRLRLR etc.. taking big steps. There's no real better way to do this, so just hope it doesn't come too fast. NEVER CROSS YOUR FEET. Instead, face the direction of travel (or opposite the direction of travel if moon-walking). 3.4.3 Swivel In Afronova double maniac, there is a section which appears in part in easier songs. The pattern is: L1 D1 L1 D1 R1 D1 R1 D1 R1 L2 R1 L2 D2 L2 D2 L2 D2 R2 D2 R2 U2 R2 U2 R2 U2 L2 U2 L2 R1 L2 R1 L2 R1 U1 R1 U1 L1 U1 L1 U1 L1 D1 etc.... Despite how fast this goes, just step this LRLRLRLRLRLRLR etc... The trick is, at times your body will face AWAY from the screen. Don't be afraid, just turn your head toward the screen and keep the tempo up. Swivel those hips! (Note: In crossing pattern terms, this is a very overlapping version of the linked horizontal crossing pattern drill given above, so it really should be easy for someone who knows those techniques). 3.4.4 Freeze Steps New to the max versions of DDR (6th and 7th mix) are the freeze steps. These bring some added challenge to some songs, as they can be utilized to force you to use a certain foot. But they tend to be placed in places where its pretty obvious how to step them. The real added difficulty is with frozen jumps, especially of the U1L2 variety. Remember what I said above about those? "make sure your weight is over one foot primarily". Well, no longer. If you follow my advice on freeze jumps, you won't hold down one arrow properly. This makes them trickier then the normal jumps so be warned. If you want the freeze step workout, try exotic ethnica on maniac. 3.5 Congratulations! If you've mastered these techniques, you should be able to do up to 8 foot songs, with enough practice. The biggest non-technique factors are stamina, which is just gained through practice (and proper execution of the techniques above will drain less stamina then random flailing), and visual recognition of the patterns above. Both of these just require practice. Soon, you should be able to recognize the patterns above by sight, and apply the proper steps on the fly, even on songs you are sight reading. 4. Advanced Techniques (nine foot songs) 4.1 Limits of intermediate techniques "I've learned all your stupid techniques, but I still can't beat La Senorita double maniac, or gentle stress, or paranoia ! Your FAQ sucks, and you suck too!" Well maybe I do, but that's not the reason you can't beat some nine foot double maniacs. Many (not all) of these songs take special practice or techniques to be able to pass regularly, and it takes a person who is specially dedicated to learn these songs well enough to get B's and A's at them. Many of the techniques are specific to the song or require some limited memorization or familiarity with sections to do well. This is, to an extent, similar to nine foot single songs. But normally a much greater part of the song is difficult, and stamina drain can be brutal. In this section, I will point out some common difficulties and then pick out some case studies from 9 foot maniac songs and try and give hints for the hardest parts. Also keep in mind that all 9 foot songs are not equal. Just because you can beat one doesn't mean you have the skills to beat any one you want. Each has its own set of skills needed to beat it. 4.2 Tricky Steps 4.2.1 Gallops A common addition to many of the hardest songs in DDR is a rhythm commonly called the "gallop" (I call it "skipping"). It is two steps only a sixteenth note apart, either starting on, or ending on the beat. In single play, you will sometimes get large strings of "gallops" in a row (a.k.a. Saints go Marching), however this is far less common in double play mode. More often you will find gallops interspersed within eighth note crossing patterns. The best example of this is Hypnotic Crisis. To successfully perform the gallops, you MUST use both feet, and essentially have your center of gravity somewhere over the middle of the two steps (since it is nearly impossible to toe-tap these kinds of steps). Sometimes you will have to change direction very quickly to get yourself in position to step these steps properly, and looking ahead in the song is a must. Using the intermediate techniques above makes them a lot easier to step, so if you find yourself jumping across the pad trying to reach the gallop steps, first check how you were stepping the steps before, to see if there was a better way to prepare you for them. Many times Gallops will occur within standard crossing patterns. Sometimes this makes things easy, and sometimes it requires a bit different technique then normal, since you will have to shift your weight unevenly. Step with caution. Gallops occasionally come in continuous skipping patterns (a classic example is In the Navy, a more recent one is Tsugaru). This is rarer in double then in single, but the same techniques apply, they're kindof like jumps where one foot lands before the other. 4.2.2 Toe-tapping and recovery So you make a mistake. Well then go home, you don't deserve to play the game. Just kidding. In many of the fast and difficult songs, you are going to screw up, and sometimes screw up BAD. But don't just jump of the pads and forfeit your quarter/turn. Recover! First of all don't panic (easier said then done). Then (if you are in the middle of a hailstorm of steps) get into the position the most steps are coming in, face the screen and toe tap away. Keep your body facing forward and don't try anything fancy. You should be able to hit enough steps to keep you alive, and when the next rest comes in, start back up with proper technique. Great for songs with crazy sections like Leading Cyber or the Paranoia's, not so great for songs that are consistently hard like La Senorita. Obviously you will die if you try this too many times in a row, but it should keep you alive for long enough to reset yourself. 4.3 Case Study #1 Gradiusic Cyber AMD G5 Mix This song is not the most difficult of nine foot doubles, but it is by no means the simplest, and poses some rather unique difficulties. In the intro and first section of the song, rhythm, not technique, is the stumbling block for building your dance meter (you'll need it later). Just try and step with the rhythm of the drum beats. About 1/3 of the way through the song, you'll encounter your first sixteenth note step sequence: R1L2R1L2R1L2R1. These are FAST. You must step lightly, and IN TEMPO. If you can't, try standing in position 2, and slowly stepping LRLR and increasing speed slowly and evenly, to practice the technique. Don't worry, it gets worse. About halfway through the song, the rhythm gets simpler, with the interspersed sixteenth syncopation notes going away and replaced by just eighth note patterns. At the last third of the song, you get the part that kills many people. Multiple sixteenth note clusters come in a row, and some are not simply oscillatory. Specifically U1R1U1R1U1 1/16 rest L2R1L2R1L2 then an interlude U2R2U2R2U2 1/16 rest R2D2R2D2R2 1.5 beats rest L2D2L2D2L2 1/16 rest L2R1L2R1L2 1.5 beats rest U1R1U1R1U1 1/16 rest D1L1D1L1D1 interlude L2U2L2U2L2 1/16 rest L2D2R1D2L2 1.5 beats rest R1L2R1L2R1L2R1L2R1L2R1L2 <- All sixteenth notes! This is hard to sight read. This is hard to do even if memorized. The third line is deceptively hard, as you have to swivel your body around during the 1/16 rest (or hop to the other foot) and step it LRLRL LRLRL (or if hopping LRLRL RLRLR). If you get off, you're dead. Good luck. You need to be able to read the steps FAST, and step them FAST. After this, the rest of the song seems like a cinch. This is impressive if done well, and can be learned without too much difficulty (for a nine foot song, anyway). Its one of my favorite songs, because of the interesting rhythms. 4.4 Case Study #2 La Senorita A stamina draining triplet-fest which WILL kill you the first time you play it. It's tough, but not impossible. Section 1, which is repeated near the end, is a sequence of three eighth note clusters, which aren't exactly flowing (especially if you don't step them right). Make sure you try to alternate feet at all times in the triplet section, if your having trouble with your feet crossing each other, try facing the other direction (i.e. left or right) to do those steps that give you trouble. Section 2, which is repeated near the end as well, is a pattern that just must be learned and practiced: U1L1D1R1D1L1D1R1L2D2R2U2D2 D2 U2R2D2L2D2R2D2L2R1D1L1U1D1 D1 U1L1D1R1D1L1D1R1L2D2R2U2D2 D2 L2U2L2R1U1L1U1R1D1R1L2U2R2U2L2 This is a standard lower horizontal cross at high speed (with a doubled initial walk) followed by an additional swivel at position 3 to face right for the two quarter down steps, then repeat to the other side. Repeat one more time back to position 3 and two more quarter down steps. Now comes the REALLY tricky bit which I reproduce here: L2U2L2R1U1L1U1R1D1R1L2U2R2U2L2 The trick is to start this sequence with your RIGHT foot (huh? this is so you convert it into a upper horizontal crossing pattern), which requires you to use your right foot three times in a row. This is still not going to work very well though, as this only gets you through L2U2L2R1U1L1U1R1 and now you have to press D1- with your right foot on U1 and your left foot on R1? You could turn around... not my choice. You must swivel your right foot from U1, around your planted left foot on R1 clockwise around to D1, all in the SAME 182 eighth note tempo as the rest of the pattern. Then it is just a diagonal cross and you're done. The interlude in the middle is easy, and then the thing repeats (so if you HAPPENED to survive this the first time, you get another chance to DIE). At the very end is a perfect opportunity to use the position 2 truncated crossing pattern technique. This song doesn't let up, so if the patterns don't kill you, the stamina drain might. Virtual mix is FAR easier... don't be fooled by the single steps difficulty. 4.5 Case Study #3 Paranoia Eternal Not the hardest paranoia double maniac (that would be rebirth), but no simple feat either. The first half of the song is a strong test of the intermediate techniques above, it only gets REALLY hard about halfway through. Problem 1: Misleading steps. You get patterns a lot like L1 U1 R1 D1 L1 which should be stepped RLRLR (or LRLRL with a spin, but not at this tempo....) but they are led up to by steps which try and get you to start the pattern with L... case in point: (spaces are eighth note rests...) R2D2L2 R1 U1/D1 L1U1R1D1L1 jump with the standard lower horizontal cross, you'd step this RLRL jump facing to the RIGHT, and then the logical foot to place on L1 is the LEFT foot. But that's NOT what we want for the next pattern. You should step back to L1 with your right foot, which is awkward unless you are keeping your weight FORWARD on your left foot. Similar misleading steps abound in this section, where foot choice is crucial. Problem 2: Misleading eighth note runs Near the end of the song, you get some really evil eighth note runs which if started on the wrong foot are impossible. Example: U2L2R1U2L2D2U2L2R1D1U1R1L1D1 This step sequence MUST be started with the LEFT foot, even though the first two steps imply the right foot is the better choice. Otherwise there's no way to make the next three steps. Then the rest of the pattern is FAST non-trivial moon walking. This pattern is immediately followed by a fast set of swivels, that at least aren't misleading. Once you are aware of these problem, you'll find this one becomes a lot easier. 4.6 Case Study #4 gentle stress AMD Sexual Mix Three tricky things here. In order of trickiness: L1D1U1R1U1R1L2D2L2D2U2R2 When jumping from U1R1 to L2D2, keep the alternating of the feet going and don't swivel, instead jump from the U1R1 position to the L2D2 position. Getting it in rhythm is hard. Also happens backwards, which is a bit harder. Now comes a HARD pattern, because it requires large crossing strides. This might be the only place I suggest holding on to the back bar for balance. Here's the short version: U1L1R1D1L2U2R2D2R1D1U1L1R1 First five steps are easy, RLRLR, then to hit the next step with L requires you swing your foot around front to U2. The rest of the steps are simple. Be light on your feet or you're sunk. Don't relax though, as you have another similar step immediately again. And finally there are one of the few examples of triplet steps in DDR, and they are FAST. Its just a crab step really, but the visual reading of the order is very difficult, and you are probably almost dead from before, so you HAVE to hit these. How many times have I passed the above only to die on these steps? Too many. The second tricky bit repeats itself near the end, combined with eighth note jump sequences that need to be carefully hit. This song is deceptively difficult, don't be fooled by the gentle in the title! 4.7 Reviews of nine-footers Review of Every 9 foot (and 10 foot) double maniac song. (Songs are listed in the highest numbered mix they appear in, in alphabetical order) Please take into account in my reviews that when I say something is "easy", I am comparing it to the other nine foot songs. Any 9 foot song is extremely difficult when measured on a global scale. 4.7.1 7th mix Afronova No hints here. This is a classic, and you should learn it yourself. Have fun! (It's not too hard once learned, but it'll always be a challenge) BreakDown Fast fun and pretty simple. Lots of steps in three, plenty of jumps and a few extended runs. Stamina is the main issue here, and since this song is a pretty constant difficulty throughout, its not that bad once learned. Broken my Heart This song is just the tempo I hate in a 9 footer: Slow enough to throw tricky crossing combinations and jumps, but fast enough to be really tiring. This song has lots of interesting crossing patterns of all kinds, and in between throws jumps at you. Its a constant difficulty throughout, so you don't have "the one really hard part to get through then your fine", making this very difficult to get all the way through if your skill level isn't top notch. Very stamina draining no matter what. Can't Stop Falling in Love (Speed Mix) Fun and pretty difficult. Very fast and continuous, with no breaks, but luckily it all flows quite well. Almost no crossing patterns or jumps, just crab step techniques so the main difficulties are in the single play technique. Has some interesting patterns which are fun and easy but can slip you up if you've never seen them: R1 D2 L2 U2 R1 D2 etc... its easy to step, but a little hard to read. Candy* Pretty easy overall. Its kindof like an easy Max 300, fast and with eighth note syncopated crossing patterns. Theres an extended jumping section which isn't a problem, and a few easy freeze steps, but overall this song isn't very difficult for a nine footer. Do you remember me? This song doesn't let up. Crossing patterns with gallops and freeze steps intermixed. Quite difficult rhythms and very continuous with almost no breaks. It gets a bit easier around the 2/3's point, but then its back to the beginning until the end. Drop Out Why this is 9 feet and single mode Drop Out is 8 I can't imagine. This is easy if you stay calm, and keep you body moving around the pads. You don't have the frantic jumping section that single mode does, but you do have the eighth notes at the end, so be ready. They're all simple overlapping crab steps, just move your feet fast enough. End of the Century Kindof a combination of Boom Boom Dollar KOG 3 mix and a Paranoia. Lots of very fast crossing combinations. Somewhat repetitious though, if you learn the one or two long patterns you should be able to get through it without trouble: it'll drain you though. Exotic Ethnic Freeze step frenzy! I passed it sight reading, so its not that hard, but it FORCES you to use certain feet for each arrow, with so many held notes. Easy to pass, hard to perfect... But pretty fun altogether, something a bit well, exotic. Fantasy Quite easy, that is, if you can survive the eighth note stream at the beginning and end of the piece. All are just crossing patterns however, so it shouldn't be that difficult except for the speed. No 16ths in site makes this one quite playable. Healing Vision Very much like a paranoia, this song is all around pretty easy, though tiring. Lots of crossing patterns going on, but you only get continuous streams right near the end. Know the tempo changes and the simple rhythms, and its just stamina from there. Healing Vision Angelic Mix Angelic Mix, on the other hand... About 2 feet harder then the original, even though they are both rated 9, this sucker hits your stamina hard and continuously. Difficult (though doable with standard techniques) crossing patterns and quick jumps abound. When you get to the pause near the end, notice that there is a R2 followed by a L1 ONE eighth note apart! But for the one beat pause it would be impossible. From then on its non stop, totally insane speed already completely tired flinging of your body back and forth. I almost recommend toe tapping just to get you through (its only about 16 more meaures....) Just don't give up, and I bet you'll make it. I consider this the hardest double maniac on the home version of 5th mix. (harder then paranoia evolution). i feel... This song is pure rythm. Non-repetitive syncopation that goes with the music but is fearfully hard to predict. This song is easy to pass, and VERY hard to get an A on. little boy This is actually quite simple. If you die in the middle section, go back and work on your technique a bit, and eventually you'll see exactly how the steps should flow. The rest isn't too bad, just a few quick jump steps and jump combos, (like most captain jack songs). Not too stamina draining for a 9 foot. La Senorita Covered in Case study #2 Max 300 Easier then the single, still extremely difficult. If you have the stamina to make it through, then the only thing you need worry about is the insane speeds of the crab/crossing patterns near the end. Yeah, right. Think positive thoughts, and you just might get though it. Max Unlimited This is ludicrous. I've seen all the steps in a simulator, and frankly I don't think its really possible. Of course, I didn't think the single maniac steps are possible either until I saw a video of someone doing it. Don't even attempt it unless you're the best of the best. Of course, if you're truly the best, you don't need to be reading this, do you? Orion 78 Civilization Mix This is VERY hard. It is fast, and rythmically challenging, as well as stamina draining. What makes it possible are some easy marching sections in the middle that allows you to build back up your dance meter after the devastating start. The end is also very difficult. It helps to know the slow orion to know the rhythms. Paranoia Almost entirely fast crab steps. Hardest part is section with triple eighth note jumps, they are just damn fast. If you have the stamina, this is a cinch. Paranoia MAX (Dirty Mix) Faster then the original, but easier IMO. Almost entirely fast crab steps with a few jumps intermixed. Another easy paranoia double maniac. Very stamina draining though. Paranoia Evolution This one is pretty easy until the very end where there are some tricky continuous crossing patterns that are very fast. And by the time you get there, you're bound to be tired. Harder then the other paranoias (except rebirth), but not by too much. Paranoia KCET Clean Mix This shouldn't be 9 feet. It just shouldn't be. There is nothing that a little stamina won't beat. You hardly even need my intermediate techniques. Paranoia Rebirth Now here is the paranoia which we all fear. All kinds of tricky, non flowing, foot wrenching meanness is in this song. Technique is needed, but applying it right it tricky since the steps mislead which foot is needed to complete the runs properly. You'll probably end up toe tapping a lot of it, and thusly getting REALLY tired. Very stamina draining no matter what. Quite difficult, the hardest paranoia double maniac there is (and of course, it came from 3rd mix, where else?). So Deep (Perfect Sphere Remix) This song throws every trick at you, and it is hard mainly because you're bound to be bad at some kind of technique. First it has a continuous crossing pattern which is repeated twice (if you can't handle this, then go back to my intermediate section for a while). Then it throws a skipping gallop section which is made harder since it doesn't really fit with the song. After that things get dicey. It throws alternating continuous crossing patters in with triplet 16 steps and syncopated 16 step rhythms, all in a pseudo regular pattern, but don't get too used to the pattern cause it changes a bit throughout. Good luck with this one! Stay This song is hard but doable. It basically splits into four sections: First, its standard crossing patterns with gallops interspersed (a common thing in 7th mix slow nine-footers), then comes a hideously difficult to read section with insanely syncopated rhythms. Thank goodness that section only lasts for a few measures and it eases up a bit until the end which repeats the first section. Sweet Sweet Magic Fast, but not hard. Pretty repetitive rythmically, and not difficult step wise. There are a number of quick jumps thrown in, but once you're aware of them they aren't a problem. Stamina is an issue but it doesn't get any harder at the end so all in all its pretty easy for a 9 footer. Trance De Janeiro Reminds me of Hypnotic Crisis except faster and less interesting. The basic syncopated rythm at the beginning gives way to a more complicated one that includes a gallop which morphs into a very erratic and uneven rythm during when the voice is singing. Get through this and its back to the previous rythm until the end. Trip Machine (luv mix) This is the least rythmically challenging of the Trip Machines, but the difficulty ramps up through the first half of the song. Lots of fast crosses and jumps within crosses. If you get through the first half, the rest is easy. Trip Machine Climax The hardest trip machine. Very difficult, no repetition of steps, all kinds of crosses, triplets, jump outs, misleading steps, and rhythmical trickiness. Doesn't let up ever either. Its hard to give advice for this one, as no one section is harder then another, its just all very difficult. Tsugaru This is a fun song. It combines gallops with straight crossing patterns and repeated step trickiness. If you can do galloped crossing patterns, then you can do this song. The rythm is exactly with the music, so it shouldn't be a problem. Yozora No Muku Don't let the freeze step difficulty trick you, they're not really that bad in this song. The song starts with crossing patterns with obvious freeze steps interspersed, and then throws a few 16 note triples (three quick 16 notes). These get more prevalent and denser until a run of four of them in a row. From here on out the song just repeats things you've already done. Not too difficult overall. 4.7.2 5th Afronova Primeval Far easier then the original, IMHO. Pretty simple altogether with the exception of two long strings of eighths about a third of the way though and near the end. But both are quite simple and repetitious and are a variation on one of my crossing pattern drills above, so are quite doable. Stamina and speed are the main difficulties here, with no special techniques necessary. B4U Glorious Style Boom Boom Dollar (K.O.G. G3 Mix) This song is either fun or impossible, depending on how good you are at technique, specifically truncated crossing patterns. You can toe tap your way straight to a fail if you try that crap here, its just WAY too fast. Swiveling your body left and right at high speeds, alternating feet will get you through the entire thing without much difficulty. But don't get off a step, you'll never ever recover... Not as stamina draining as a song of this speed should be. Captain Jack (Grandale Remix) Hard. One of the hardest from 3rd mix. Fast and continuous, with tricky rhythms to boot. The hardest bits are when they throw fast eighth note jump combinations at you in the middle of crossing patters. Easy to miss, even easier to throw you off. Very tiring, with all the sixteenth steps thrown in to make you work harder. All notes are with the music, so learning the rhythms isn't tricky, but performing them is. A good mix of stamina and technique: if you can beat this, you can probably beat anything with enough work. Cat's Eye (Ventura Mix) Dynamite Rave (Long Version) Just the trick steps for 3 minutes... Tough cause of the stamina drain, but no special techniques needed. Furuhata's Theme Can you say PAIN? Oh, you can't? Then play this song on double maniac, its very similar. The first part is hard and fast. The second part is easy and fast. The middle part is friggin impossible. And then the last part repeats the first part. To elaborate: In the beginning, the steps are syncopated with the music, and you are flying back and forth across the pads with lower horizontal crosses at high speeds. Eventually you get to a swivel section ala Afronova which is easy if done right, and if done wrong will kill you. Use this section to gain your dance meter to maximum, you'll need it... Then comes the section where you will die (Its when the rapper comes in in the music). Continuous streaming eighth notes at 170 bpm in NON standard patterns. I.E. my techniques DON'T WORK. In many cases the ONLY solution apart from turning 360 degrees is to toe tap, and do so fast while allowing your center of mass to continue moving in the right direction. It can be beaten (I can do it at home in socks regularly, and have beaten it once in the arcade), but you will be drained. Hypnotic Crisis Oooh... my FAVORITE 9 foot Double Maniac in 5th mix. It isn't fast, but it has 16 notes everywhere, stuck straight into standard and overlapping crossing patterns. Very difficult at first, I suggest learning the single first since the rhythms are the same. Its not hard at all (though still stamina draining) once its learned (I've full comboed it). Leading Cyber This is a position 2 workout. Not much side to side movement in this one, but a lot of repeated steps and fast complicated rhythms make this one pretty tiring. Much of the same difficulties with the single maniac translate over to this one, including the difficult rhythms in the middle section and the constant repetition of steps which makes keeping a "flow" going almost impossible. Make Your Move Well beat me with an easy stick, this deserves 9 feet like a shoe model... Continuous streaming 8th notes at 126 bpm? In patterns which can all be stepped smoothly with intermediate techniques? Puuhleease.... Paranoia Eternal See Case Study #3 Wonda (Speed K mix) 4.7.3 4th Mix Turn Me On (Heavenly Mix) Like La Senorita, except without the tricky parts... Mostly steps in triples, and pretty easy patterns too. Its main difficulty is in the middle section, where the steps come in groups of 7, however still in basic crossing patterns. Stamina is an issue if the song is unfamiliar, however all in all its quite easy for a nine footer. Watch out for L1R1 R1L2 L2R2 jump combinations, they're fast and can throw you off balance. Gradiusic Cyber (AMD G5 Mix) See Case Study #1 gentle stress (AMD SEXUAL Mix) See Case Study #4 5. Some Random Ruminations You don't have to read these, they're just some thought of mine you might find interesting 5.1 On Learning Max 300 So I've been playing 7th mix recently since I moved to Southern California for graduate school (in theoretical physics, in case anyone cares) and have not yet beat Max 300 yet (on maniac I've gotten 4 measures from the end). As I've been trying it, I realized that my problem was not reading the steps at that speed but in fact was just stamina (I can't make it through the thing without falling over). But I was noticing something else about how I am reading the arrows so fast correctly: I have begun to read the arrows in "chunks", which is a cognitive psychology term. A metaphor is how we read english. When you look at the word "revolution", you see the word as a whole. You don't read each letter individually and then piece them together and go "aha! that word is revolution!" The same thing happens when I read DDR steps. For instance, when I see URLDURLDURLD I see the pattern as a whole, and instantly know how to step it. This kind of thinking turns out to be completely necessary when playing Max 300, as you will see. So I did some calculations, and here is what I came up with: Eighth notes in Max 300: 600 bps= .1 seconds per eighth note. Also note that it is a well known fact that it takes about .1 seconds for a nervous impulse to travel round trip to the brain and back. This leaves: 0 seconds to think! This is clearly not going to be physically possible unless you can process more the one step at once, which is the primary skill that needs to be learned to do max 300 and any other super fast speed song. The same is true for complicated doubles crossing patterns. If you play long enough using the proper techniques, you can visually recognize the entire lower, upper, horizontal, or diagonal cross at once. That enables me to sight read most songs I've come across. My mind always knows where to go, sometimes my body just doesn't cooperate. 5.2 On the evolution of difficulty When writing the review section of the 9 footers for this faqs update I noticed something that I hadn't really noticed before. A 9 foot song in 7th mix is WAY harder then a 9 foot song in 3rd mix. It is really ludicrous to compare the two on the same playing field. The new pentagon based rating system (which is automatically generated, I think) is a much better measure of the true difficulty of the song. I guess DDR players have evolved along with the mixes, requiring harder challenges. This effect is less prevalent in double songs though, as I believe that less people play double really well. Doubles haven't gotten harder, they've gotten rhythmically trickier and less dependent on pure speed. I think this trend is a good thing as players always need new challenges to keep things interesting, but I hope that new players don't get lost in songs that are so blazingly difficult that it is impossible for them to learn. Keeping around the older songs is a great idea for this. 6.0 Conclusion I hope you've found this FAQ useful and informative, and my home-brew jargon parse-able. If you find errors, wish to comment constructively on this FAQ, or wish to post this FAQ on your web-site, feel free to email me at