Written by Tommy Gun. Screenshots taken by Tommy Gun. Last updated: 11/18/06
This is a guide/FAQ for Ouendan. It assumes you have a basic understanding of how to play the game. Most of this was written by me, but some was done with help from the awesome people on the GameSpot/GameFAQs forum. Keep in mind that most of this information is from fan observation, so it’s possible that some of it is incorrect.
To Elite Beat Agents players: I have updated some of this guide to include EBA info, but I’m not changing all the terms. For instance, we’ve always used the term “track” for EBA “phrase markers” since we didn’t know the actual term, so I’m going to leave it that way.
This is meant as a supplement to the guides on GameFAQs, not a replacement. Be sure to check those out too. This came about as most do — by answering the same questions over and over again on forums (mostly regarding spinners), and deciding to put them in a guide. Enjoy!
- Hits (Hit Markers)
- Tracks (Phrase Markers)
- Spinners (Spin Markers)
- General Tips and Info
- “Do you have to pass each section to pass the song?”
- “I didn’t miss any hits and I keep failing!”
- “What’s the highest/lowest rank?”
- “How do you get an S rank?”
- “What’s different about the ‘Insane’ difficulty?”
- “What’s the hardest song?”
- “What’s the highest rank title? What do you get?”
- “Why is there sometimes kanji above the 300 or 100?”
- “How do you skip the credits after Ready Steady Go?”
- “What’s multiplayer like?”
- List of max hits/combos
- List of Cameo Appearances
- Extra Information
Hits (Hit Markers)
These are the main beats of the song. Each one is a numbered disc with a shrinking circle around it. Do not try to line up the circle with the disc. Instead, listen to the music and try to feel the rhythm. Use the circles as guides (along with the numbers) to know the order you have to hit, and the general beat it’s on, but the actual tap should be with the music. This is especially true when you have doubles, triples, etc. (multiple hits in a row in the same spot, see second image)! Ignore the circles! The more familiar you become with the music, the easier it will be.
Hit Spacing: In general the farther the hits are apart, the longer the time between them, but this isn’t always true later on! There are some parts where a hit is on the other side of the screen but the beat is immediately after! Watch for those, and remember them. One example is in “Koi no Dance Site” (Secretary) on Insane or Hard. There are three hits in the bottom left corner, then one hit way up at the top, but the beat is almost right after.
If you’d prefer a visual guide on the evaluation, check out this image from Asho:
Tracks (Phrase Markers)
Not a whole lot to say here, although if you’re going for a high score, know that missing a “dot” will break your combo! Missing some dots will not necessarily give you a “miss” though, so you may still get a high rank at the end. This is what makes it possible to get a lower score but a higher rank! Conversely, you can get a higher score (especially if you’re good with spinners) and a lower rank, which means your higher rank (e.g. “S”) will be replaced with the lower one (e.g. “A”) on your high score list! If you’re really interested in how scoring works, read mechazawa’s Score FAQ.
On the harder difficulties the tracks don’t appear as quickly. If you think there might be one, you might want to keep holding the stylus on the screen after you hit, just in case it’s really a track.
From Asho: “It’s possible to get a miss on track without breaking the combo. This can actually be very common. What you do is lift your stylus early at the end. Since you got at least one dot, the end is automatically hit. However, while the combo doesn’t break, you don’t get the 30 points for the end, and you also automatically lose the 300 on that track. You could also try lifting the stylus between dots, if the speed allows it.”
If you’d prefer a visual guide on the evaluation, check out this image from Asho:
Spinners (Spin Markers)
Ah, spinners, the cause of so many help threads, and so many scratched screens. Most people hate them, some because there’s no rhythm involved, some because they’re simply bad at them. I actually love them because they bring your health way back up and give you extra points if you’re good enough. Here are some tips to help you conquer these beasts (EBA players — the spin markers in EBA are much easier than in Ouendan, but these tips still apply):
You can go clockwise or counter-clockwise, most right handers find counter-clockwise easier. It’s faster to spin closer to the center, just don’t hit the center, or it’ll stop. Find the area that works best for you, like 1/4 of the way out from the center, for instance. You don’t have to draw a perfect circle, so don’t try to if it’s slowing you down. Draw an oval if it’s faster. It is possible to “DJ scratch” a spinner, but it’s extremely doubtful that it’ll be faster.
My technique: If you play by holding the DS in your left hand (resting the DS on your knee or something), then you can easily tilt your DS when you get to a spinner. Try to tilt it and position your right hand so you’re kind of “pointing” at the screen, instead of in the writing position. I can do spinners really well now and usually get lots of bonus points (e.g. average 12,000 on the first spinner of RSG Insane, I got 17,000 on the final spinner of Koi no Dance Site, etc.). Use mostly your wrist to spin, but also some arm movement if you have to. Keep your fingers fairly loose, don’t get too tense. Hold the stylus close to the back end if you can (again, find what works for you).
If you have an original DS, you can buy DS Lite styluses separately (buy official Nintendo ones though, or you could scratch your screen!). They might help you, they’re a bit longer and easier to hold. Make sure your screen is clean so you don’t scratch it. Press pretty hard so every spin registers, just be careful not to press too hard and hurt your screen. My screen is still fine, and I play a lot.
There are other techniques. Some people keep their hand in the same playing position (writing position), but spin mostly by moving their arm. I find my technique to be faster (much faster), but see what works for you.
You actually might have to just practice enough that your wrist muscles get stronger (go ahead and say it), it’s kind of a weird motion that people don’t do normally, so you might be weak at it.
If you’d prefer a visual guide on the evaluation, check out this image from Asho:
General Tips and Info
It is highly recommended that you use headphones while playing Ouendan! You may think the compression on the music is bad, but it’s not, it’s the DS speakers. It sounds much better with headphones, and it’s easier to hear the beats as well.
Some of the songs on easier difficulties are actually a bit harder (in certain ways), only because the beats are in weird places, and spread apart so much that you might lose the rhythm (e.g. most players find “Ready Steady Go” easier to follow on Hard rather than Normal). They’re also so crowded with circles that it’s hard to see which order you’re supposed to hit — on Insane you hit them just after they appear, so the screen is much less cluttered with overlapping circles. That’s not to say Insane is easier, only that it can be easier to read.
If you need help, search YouTube for the song you’re stuck on. Players have put up videos of pretty much every song (although they may be higher difficulty levels). This can help you learn the rhythm. Some songs have “off beats,” you should learn where they are or you’ll miss. For example, there’s a section in RSG Normal where all the hits are a bit after the beat of the music.
“I didn’t miss any hits and I keep failing!”
You’re not getting enough 300s. Your life is constantly going down, and 300s raise it back up a bit. Even if you don’t miss any hits, getting enough 100s can make you fail. Also, tracks don’t give you a life boost until the END of the track. Some songs (particularly on Insane) have long tracks, so you might fail before the end of it! Practice!
“Do you have to pass each section to pass the song?”
No. Each stage has 3-5 sections, with short cutscenes on the top screen. The cutscenes change depending on how well you’re doing, there is a good and bad scene for each section. You will pass that section (get the good scene and a pink circle over it instead of a red X) if your health bar is in the yellow. If it’s in the red you’ll get the bad scene and you won’t pass the section, but that won’t make you fail the song. You only fail a song if your health reaches zero. In other words, you can have your health at 1% the whole song, “fail” each section, but still pass the song.
If you pass all the sections in a song, a stamp appears on the graph at the end.
If you fail all the sections in a song, you get a different stamp on the graph.
“What’s the highest/lowest rank?”
The highest rank is an S. The lowest rank, as far as anyone knows, is a D. This is actually quite hard to get, as you have to miss a whole lot of hits, but not fail. Your health decreases the slowest on Easy, so it’s the easiest to get a D there. Thanks to Asho for mentioning this.
“How do you get an S rank?”
Again, read mechazawa’s Score FAQ or see the list of max hits/combos on this page if you want all the specifics, but to get an S you need no misses and 90% 300s. So for every one 100 or 50, you need to get ten 300s. This means on the easier difficulties the number of 100/50s you can get is much less. Breaking a track doesn’t necessarily count as a miss, but it won’t be a 300.
“What’s different about the ‘Insane’ difficulty?”
There are four difficulty levels: Easy, Normal, Hard, and Insane (aka Very Hard). To unlock Hard, you simply have to beat Normal (it doesn’t matter if you beat Easy). To unlock Insane, beat Hard. You don’t have to get S-ranks, you just have to pass all the songs.
Insane has smaller discs to hit, and they appear faster, so you don’t have as much time to react. This can be good, as mentioned before, because the screen is less cluttered. The hit patterns are flipped upside-down from Hard mode, but that’s not all! Contrary to what many people believe, there are more hits in some songs, and other differences! Just looking at the max hits list will prove it. Play the same song back to back on hard and insane and you’ll see. An easy example to see the difference is “Atsuki kodo no hate” (Teachers’ Dilemma) — on hard there are a bunch of double and triple hits (hits in the same spot right after each other). Play on insane and there are none, they are all spaced out.
“What’s the hardest song?”
You would probably assume the hardest song would be the last one, Ready Steady Go. However, most people agree that the hardest section, at least, is the end of Shanghai Honey (on Insane). It’s very fast with tracks popping up out of nowhere, and almost seems random at first. There are a lot of videos of RSG because it’s a very popular song and because it’s the final level. If you’re wondering, yes, some players have gotten “perfect” scores on it (it’s always possible to get more points on spinners). There is a video here (thanks Carlo!). Also, DagothUrReturns posted a screenshot of when he got only two 100s.
“What’s the highest rank title? What do you get?”
At a certain number of total points you’ll get a new ranking (a title, not to be confused with song ranks, like S-rank). You can see your current rank in the options. The highest rank you can get is when you reach 60,000,000 points. You’ll get a special picture when you hit that rank. Here is a screenshot of both screens, but it’s obviously a spoiler and you should probably earn it on your own:
60,000,000 ranking bonus picture [spoiler]
“Why is there sometimes kanji above the 300 or 100?”
Most of the hits give you a plain “300” if you hit perfectly (“100” if slightly off), but some have kanji above them. There are two different characters, they only appear at the end of a set. If you’re wondering why they appear, it has to do with how well you did on that set of hits. Like there will be a set of six hits that are all one color, and on the last hit you’ll get a character.
More info from Asho:
- All 300s on a set give you one kanji — “Intense” (“Elite Beat” on EBA)
- Mix of 300s and 100s give you another — “Shout” (“Beat” on EBA)
- Even one 50 or Miss means you don’t get either.
The result determines how the scene in the top screen changes.
- “Intense” = Fired up
- “Shout” = Normal
- Neither = Depressed
As a side note, EBA counts those symbols at the result screen, while Ouendan does not (another tweak from iNis, it seems).
“How do you skip the credits after Ready Steady Go?”
Every time you beat RSG you will have to sit through the end movie, and credits. It gets a bit annoying after the 50th time. After you are told your score and rank, hit okay and your progress is saved. It is now safe to “soft reset” your DS by holding L+R+Select+Start at the same time. This will take you back to the title screen. Thanks to FFandMMfan for pointing this out. (This is a fairly standard DS trick, you just have to know when your game is saved.)
“What’s multiplayer like?”
Multiplayer is multicart only, so you both need a copy to play. It’s played as you’d probably expect, save for one big difference: it actually has different stories! They’re pretty basic though, just a simple battle between you and the other player. There are five different ones, with each song using a certain one. Thanks to Pikaash you can see videos of each of them! The videos are of the top screen only, and no one is playing the second DS, so an actual match would look a bit different. YouTube links:
- Ouendan Multiplayer Video 1 – Monkey Competition
- Ouendan Multiplayer Video 2 – Car Race
- Ouendan Multiplayer Video 3 – Baseball Game
- Ouendan Multiplayer Video 4 – Boxing Match
- Ouendan Multiplayer Video 5 – Arcade Game Competition
Thanks to homesar for mentioning these additional points (not direct quotes):
You cannot die in multiplayer, you can only lose to your friend, so it’s great for practicing the hard levels.
There’s also a co-op mode where you share a lifebar. You both play, but occasionally the gameplay switches back and forth (i.e. you do the first part of the chorus alone, then your friend does the second part alone). You both have to do the spinners.
List of max hits/combos
This table was taken directly from this Japanese Ouendan site (then changed to English). Thanks to Asho for the link. The number listed is max hits, with max combo in brackets.
|1||Exam Crisis!||63 ||126 ||227 ||227 |
|2-1||Secretary’s Busy Day||96 ||120 ||174 ||174 |
|2-2||Bandit-nabbing Horserace||83 ||88 ||145 ||145 |
|2-3||Matsuri Competition||112 ||118 ||170 ||170 |
|3-1||The Ramen Stall||106 ||116 ||225 ||225 |
|3-2||Pottery Master||130 ||179 ||220 ||226 |
|3-3||Teachers’ Dilemma||124 ||152 ||201 ||221 |
|3-4||Dodgeball Crush||96 ||165 ||246 ||246 |
|4-1||Election for Mayor!||122 ||153 ||191 ||191 |
|4-2||Cleopatra’s Pyramid||129 ||191 ||244 ||244 |
|4-3||Violinist||155 ||202 ||254 ||254 |
|5||Ghost Love Story||124 ||130 ||183 ||183 |
|6-1||Mutant Rat Attack!||148 ||197 ||287 ||287 |
|6-2||Policemen vs Robots||161 ||171 ||233 ||251 |
|7||End of the World?||213 ||270 ||337 ||337 |
List of Cameo Appearances
You’ll see a lot of the same characters throughout the game. Some stages tie-in with other stages, and you’ll see characters from previous stages in the background. Here is a list of many of them. These were all contributed by Asho, except where noted.
From Loop & Loop:
Tsuyoshi appears at the end of Linda Linda.
His mother appears in Melody starting from the second break, in Taisetsuna Mono as a regular, and in the background during the first break of One Night Carnival.
Tsuyoshi’s brother is one of Ryuji’s groupies (Thrill).
From Koi no Dance Site:
This story is a parody of Cinderella. Not relevant, but had to share it.
There’s a guy in the bottom screen’s background during the first part. He later appears during the first break of One Night Carnival.
From Guts Da Ze!!:
The reporter appears during Linda Linda and apparently reviews Yasuhi’s restaurant.
Interviews Seizan at the end of Kokoro Odoru.
Not related, but he works for the TV Station “MHK”, which is a parody of Japan’s NHK.
From Linda Linda:
The cat appears in one panel of Melody’s intro.
Yasushi and his cat appear during the failed break scenes 1 and 4 of Over the Distance.
From Kokoro Odoru:
Seizan appears in the first break of Thrill.
From Atsuki Kodou no Hate:
There’s one particular light brown haired student who is always in the foreground in all of the girls’ shots. She appears at the end of Linda Linda and the first break of One Night Carnival. She also appears in Melody starting from the first break, along with another girl (dark brown hair) and one from another class (chubby one).
Ami Tamura (from Taiyo ga Moeteiru) wears the same school uniform, but doesn’t appear in Hiro’s story, which means she’s in another class.
From One Night Carnival:
Kouji appears at the end of Linda Linda.
From Over the Distance:
Ryouko appears during the second break of Melody if you fail the part. She also appears in one of the panels of One Night Carnival’s intro manga, along with the other four characters that appear in the song’s first break (she doesn’t appear in the song itself).
Sage2050: If you fail the 3rd scene, the guy from The Ramen Shop makes a cameo (rides by on a scooter).
From Taiyo ga Moeteiru:
Ichiro appears during the first break of One Night Carnival.
From Shanghai Honey:
Joe and Dan appear at the end of Taisetsuna Mono to arrest Jyama.
READY STEADY GO (and the ending):
Loop & Loop: Tsuyoshi, his mother.
Koi no Dance Site: Sachiko.
Guts Da Ze!!: Biridon, news reporter.
Melody: Shin-chan, Osizu and a baby they had sometime after their story.
Linda Linda: Yasushi and his cat.
Kokoro Odoru: Seizan and his manager.
Atsuki Kodou no Hate: Hiro.
Thrill: Trao and Wakana.
Taisetsuna Mono: Eisaku, the concerned mothers.
Nerauichi: Cleopatra and Mark Anthony.
One Night Carnival: Kouji.
Over the Distance: Toru and Ryouko.
Taiyo ga Moeteiru: Ichiro (Ichiro-MAN) and Ami.
Shanghai Honey: Joe and Dan.
Still want more? Check out our Fan Obsession page!