Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) MAX 6th Mix Arcade Machine was released by Konami in 2001. It is a music video game that requires dance, movement and rhythm with the player's feet to play. The game involves timing and balance by having players use their feet instead of their hands, catching player's off-guard with its addictive qualities.
6th Mix was intended to be the Next Generation of Dance Dance Revolution. As such, there are many changes form the previous releases. First, the difficulty levels were renamed. Basic' was renamed 'Light', 'Trick' was named 'Standard', and 'Maniac' was named 'Heavy'. Their color codes—orange, fuchsia and green, respectively—remain the same.
Second, the interface used is a recoloring and smoothing of the song wheel interface first introduced in Dance Dance Revolution 5thMix, with the addition of changeable sort settings and a longer time limit. Also, all songs from previous versions have been scrapped (the prototype version has few previous songs), intending the game to start from scratch.
It contains a total of 42 songs, 36 of which are new to the DDR series. Core gameplay remained mostly the same on 6thMix, with the addition of Freeze Arrows and a new scoring system: Freeze Arrows appear as green arrows with a long extension. If they are held for the entire length successfully, a O.K. is scored. If it is not held down for the entire length, a N.G. (no good) is scored. Freezes affect the life bar. Scores are calculated with 2 distinct scoring systems, the long-score system used to determine rankings, and an independent dance point system now used to determine the grade.
All songs have a long-score ceiling of 50 million points, and a bonus score is tacked onto it based on the difficulty of the song and other factors. Rankings are given for the highest long-score accumulations a round. If a player plays more than three songs, then it only counts the last three played. If a song is played repeatedly among the three songs used for ranking, then the repeated songs carry no bonus score.
The dance-point system uses raw step values to determine the grade. A 'perfect' step adds two points, a 'great' step adds one point, a 'good' step is worth nothing, a 'boo' step takes away four points, and a 'miss' step takes away eight points. An 'O.K.' freeze adds six points, and an 'N.G.' freeze is worth nothing. The dance points are also tied to the life bar. As always, if a player takes too many bad steps and depletes the life bar, they will fail, and the game will end immediately.
Dancing characters have been removed in 6thMix. Instead, the arrows scroll over clips of full motion video, hence the game does not render any polygons. The screen refreshes at a full speed of 60 frames per second. In addition, the arrows themselves have been tweaked too, now having a rounded edge on their outer tip rather than the V-shaped cut used in all previous games.
6thMix retains the Song Wheel interface introduced in 5thMix, but adds an easier method to enter modifiers. In previous versions, modifiers like "Sudden" or "Shuffle" required a combination of dance steps. Beginning in 6thMix, a player only needs to hold the Start button when they select a song to bring up a full menu of available modifiers, including the ability to speed up or slow down the scrolling of arrows, and a final chance to select the song difficulty they wish to play.
The "foot rating" system used in previous versions to identify a song's difficulty has been replaced in DDRMAX by the Groove Radar. The Groove Radar is a graphical representation of the difficulty of a song which debuted on DDRMAX Dance Dance Revolution 6thMix which exclusively used the system to represent difficulty instead of foot ratings, the only version to do this. Due to this, the only songs that have no known foot ratings are "Follow Me" and "Flash in the Night", because both songs have yet to appear on a different mix.
The radar uses 5 categories to represent the difficulty:
- Stream - the overall density of the steps in the song.
- Voltage - the measure of the peak density of the steps (the highest density of arrows that ever appear on the screen at once).
- Air - the amount of jump steps within the song
- Freeze - the number of freezes (requiring the player to hold a note after it has been pressed initially) in the song.
- Chaos - the number of steps in the song that don't occur on quarter or eighth notes.
The Groove Radar displays up to two graphs, one for each player, depending on the difficulty they select.
There are also some available modifiers which include ‘Speed' mods, which change the arrow speed; ‘Boost', which causes the arrows to accelerate as they near the step zone; ‘Appearance', which changes the appearance of the arrows; ‘Turn' mods modify the stepchart itself ‘Other' affects the difficulty of the steps; ‘Scroll' changes the scroll direction of the arrows, and ‘Freeze Arrows' can also be turned off.
Also new to 6thMix is the "Extra Stage", where players are rewarded for meeting conditions set by the game. If a AA is scored on the final stage on Heavy mode, a message inviting the player to "Try Extra Stage" is shown instead of the Cleared graphic. For the Extra Stage, the song wheel is locked on "MAX 300", and the song is played with several forced modifiers, including 1.5x speed and Reverse. The song is also played in Pressure mode, where the dance gauge starts filled, and can only go down.
If the player scores a AA or higher on the Extra Stage the game again rewards them with "One More Extra Stage". This time, the song wheel is locked to "CANDY☆", an easier song but with more difficult Modifiers. The exact same modifiers are used, but the song is played in Sudden Death mode, where any step judgment which breaks a combo immediately ends the game. If the player clears the song with a full combo (which is the only way to do so in Sudden Death mode), a special credits movie is shown. When this second Boss Song is passed for the first time it too will be unlocked for normal play, also displayed on the Song Wheel in red.
The cabinet features lights under the buttons that illuminate when pressed, neon flashing lights that flicker in tune to the music, as well as overhead multi-coloured lighting to create a dance party feeling. Additionally, much like some of its predecessors, Dance Dance Revolution 6th Mix features Playstation memory card slots for exchanging data between the arcade version and the home version of Dance Dance Revolution 5th Mix.