here come dat sequel list!!!!!! o sh*t waddup!
Seven. The level that began to introduce the patterns that we associate so commonly with tougher songs, including densely packed grouped notes, frequently hitting different types of notes at the same time, and more complex drag patterns. Though most of them don't trespass upon the realm of "stupidly tough", they can certainly offer a pretty solid challenge to the player. They can also be a ton of fun, especially when they introduce fresh concepts to the game.
Luckily for us, there are plenty of Level 7 songs that have done just that in an endeavour to provide us players with an entertaining experience, and many of them have succeeded. This list will be listing off the best of the best; the Level 7 songs that have deviated far from what’s commonly accepted, yet still provide the same amount of fun, if not more.
The same concept and rules in the Level 6 Outliers list apply here...except, y’know, it’s for Level 7 songs. And there’s an extra entry, because I’m a cheeky prick. ouo
Now without further ado, I present the Stupendous Seven!
Awh, hell yeah. We’re starting off strong here, bois. Sweet my, sweet mo--
*gets stomped on by half the community*
Ow...oww...watch it, that’s my sh*tposting hand…
Really though, no matter what your opinion on the song itself is, you can’t deny that its chart kicks ass in all the masochistically appealing places. What, you’re denying that? Well...damnit. I didn’t expect you’d actually do that.
I’ll try to talk about it anyways, you cynics. Just in case your Cytus history is a little foggy, I’ll remind you all that this was the longest song in the game upon its release in 4.0, and retained that title until the release of Cytus Alive in 6.0. Hell, I’d argue that Scherzo’s length is part of what inspired Rayark to release these marathonal pieces of work later on, and not earlier, when they were first conducted.
That aside, however, good Gardenia, does this song draw itself out! Though pieces like Landscape weren’t too far off from this one, and many songs in Cytus Alive and Chapter L dwarf it in comparison, the sheer placebo of Scherzo’s legacy as an incredibly long song makes it feel just like that. Is that a bad thing, though? Well, if you hate the song, I’d expect that’d be the case. But for me, and hopefully for most others who enjoy fun and fair charts, it’s quite the opposite.
You see, the length of Scherzo doesn’t really make it feel like torture. It makes it feel like an endurance test...almost like an adventure. This wouldn’t have been possible if the chart was sh*t, but it thankfully pulls through, with snappy patterns that make your fingers feel like they’re doing a jig to the melody. The patterns here aren’t extremely unique, hence why this song is only at 7th place, but they still have a kind of swift rhythm to them that I rarely see replicated in other charts.
Hate it all you like, but I’ll still rightfully conclude that this song set a precedent for longer and tougher songs to come in future updates...though none have managed to build the same legacy of endurance and half-infamy that this one did. You won’t be forgotten, Baroque, whether that be for better or for worse. :3
Ahaha! How did you all like that double entendre of a hint? I hope it didn’t make you too Krabby! Hahaha! AHAHAHAHAHAHA--*cough* *cough* *retch*
Coming in just above the long and drawn out Scherzo, we have the fast paced, blood boiling First Gate Overdrive...on Easy! Hang on to your Ravioli, this is going to be a bumpy ride.
Back before 9.0 flooded the game with Level 8s on Easy to rectify the god awful decision of creating a chapter full of 9/9’s, there only existed two songs in the game audacious enough to be given that rank in its lesser difficulty. I always argued that this duo should be expanded into a trio...and it was thanks to this hidden Level 7 from hell.
Exhibit A: The staggering note count of 710. I realize I just charted a Level 7 song with 757 notes, but within the actual game, this song has the highest note count for a Level 7 song under 3 minutes (i.e. the length of a large majority of songs in the game). For a song on Easy, that’s incredibly dense! Already, we have it trumping one of the songs in this apparent “duo” of Easy Level 8s, beating out Bloody Purity’s note tally on Easy by over 100.
Exhibit B: The timing. This is put into perspective best by NeLiME’s other Easy 7 in this chapter: Codename : Zero. Though this song is incredibly fast, making it tricky for beginners, the notes are generously spread apart, and rarely trespass beyond 4 note divisions (Hard does this as well, except it’s unrelenting in its note density). First Gate Overdrive, on the other hand, breaks this formula all the time, throwing in rapid double/triple taps and eight-note groups wherever possible. Which leads me to…
Exhibit 69: The ridiculously tough patterns. Swift and jagged drag notes, profuse eight-note groups, and...good lord, the rapid tap combos. These types of patterns get especially ludicrous in the ending of the song, showcasing what I personally believe to be the hardest patterns in any Easy song excluding the L series.
So, what was the point in rambling about this song’s difficulty for the whole entry? Well, that difficulty is exactly what makes this song an outlier. It isn’t just tough in the traditional sense; it pulls off things that have hardly been bothered with in common Level 7s. Though high note density isn’t common in songs with this ranking, First Gate Overdrive showed that it can be done. Just because I find it to be above its given level doesn’t mean that others won’t find it to be reasonable. This song still does bear the semblance of a Level 7 piece...and with its unique qualities, it’s a damn good one, at that.
WHAT AM I FIGHTING FOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRR--
You haven’t even played Megaman X4
Excluding a certain blister in the ranks (*glances at Loom*), Sta’s pieces have never failed to be entertaining for me. Due to the erratic style he implements in most of his songs, they’re all unique in their own right. However, though he carries an overwhelming majority of Level 7 songs under his belt, I could only turn the spotlight towards one. In that case, the choice was obvious for me.
Alongside Fight With Your Devil, Iris renewed the fact that songs following an irregular beat can actually be done properly. Of course, Rayark hasn’t bothered to show us another good chart of this kin since 7.0, but we still have these preserved relics of the past to look upon.
Take notes, Nocturnal Type. Instead of scrapping its potential-filled old chart and replacing it with flavourless shite, Iris improved on the formula it was previously given, and gave us something both memorable and challenging. Like, really god damn challenging. This piece is up there with Red Eyes on the controversy of its given level. Not even I have a concrete answer on whether it should be a 7 or 8; I’d honestly be fine with either.
Getting back to the chart itself, I can safely say that Rayark cooked up one hell of an adrenaline rush with this one. Feeling sluggish? Give this song a go, and feel your awareness spike as you’re hit like a battering ram with a twelve-note group straight out of the gate.
The madness doesn’t stop there, however. Beyond the aforementioned twelve-note group, this song repeatedly hits you with smaller, yet equally as effective note groups just begging to eat away at your TP if your reflexes aren’t en pointe. Not only that, but we also have hold note combos that require a great deal of coordination, and...wait, is that a three-point zigzag drag? Yeah, I know the scan line is slow enough to make it manageable, but these kinds of drags are still part of the formula that made PatE II and Slit I such dastardly songs!
Though it may not be the hardest Level 7 song, Iris' radically different timing and unrelenting note barrages cause it to stand far out from the others, both in difficulty and diversity. In time, we can only hope that Rayark pulls through in delivering more charts like this from Sta’s genius.
Don’t you love getting flooded with obligations, schoolwork and illness in immediate succession of each other? It totally helps writers reacquire their creative flow that so easily ebbs away due to stressful bullsh*t in life!
So f*ck everything; Qualia is good. Next entry.
…This is why I love tabbers. ouo
Those of you who’ve seen my Favourite Charts list know that I love Qualia’s chart in particular too much to disregard it like that. It hurts to only put it in the middle of the list, but I hope to convey the message that this is more than just an outlier. It stands to this day as a precedent for how dubstep and techno should be incorporated into a chart; a precedent that can be all too easily misconstrued, as seen in cases such as GENESYS and Magnolia.
Dubstep is a tough genre to tackle in charting. It’s all too easy to make your patterns too cluttered and constraining. It takes a keen eye to give a chart enough space and freedom to lose that confining feel, but not make it loose enough to make it feel too lofty. There exists a sweet spot that causes the patterns to feel sharp and exhilarating, and this can cause for the birth of some of the greatest charts in the whole game. Qualia hits this sweet spot like 10.0 hit the Rayark fanbase in the balls. That is to say, right on target.
I was honestly blown away when I played this song for the first time after purchasing Chapter IX (yeah, back in my day you used to have to purchase that chapter). I was hyped for songs like First Gate and COMA, but I didn’t expect this song to join them in their glory. I barely knew what this song was supposed to be; all I remember was scoffing when I heard that the entire piece had been composed in FL Studio. Obviously, I had underestimated it, both in the quality of the song and its kick-ass chart.
I may just end up repeating a lot of what I said in the Favourite Charts entry for Qualia here, but that’s because the unique patterns contained in this song are exactly what captivated me about it. Not even focusing on the main attraction yet, this song does click notes amazingly, utilizing them in a quick and scattered manner, requiring intense focus to nail perfectly in comparison to other Level 7s. From the successive taps and grouped notes to the hard-hitting double notes (especially in the ending, I mean damn), you’ll be kept on your toes at all times. Lots of Level 7s have their own unique surprises, but rarely at the frequency of this one.
And then we have the drag notes. I feel like I’ve talked about these enough to put it out of style, but we all know I’m famous for necromancy. (*glances at the top of the blog*)
If the whole “exhilarating” quality I mentioned earlier had to apply anywhere in particular, it would be in these expertly crafted drag notes. From the short, sporadic tracks that’ll royally screw up your TP if you tackle them haphazardly, to the long curving tracks that will kill your combo if you falter for even a second, the whole experience makes your fingers feel like they’re gliding at high velocity across your screen.
You guys want to know a funny thing I learned from this university thing I keep talking about? The definition of qualia. It’s the plural form of the the word “quale”, and it’s a term used to describe subjective experiences within the mind, or the way we perceive things. And y’know what? I perceive this song to have an epic, genre defining chart. That’s one hell of an achievement for a Level 7.
...Also, this tabber still serves as the hint for the next entry. I bet you'll never guess it in a million years.
“OMGWTFBBQ 21 ONLY AT 3RD?! KYS N00B UR ONLY DOING DIS CUZ U H8 FD”
Okay, I know nobody here comments like that, but for safety’s sake I’ll explain why this song is only ranks at #3. Firstly, as a kind reminder, difficulty does not equate to how much of an outlier a song is. There are still two songs on the list that are even stranger than this one, despite being widely considered to be easier. Also, I placed the hardest song in a level at the top of the list last time, so leave me alone pls.
Of course, this does not mean that Twenty One is, by any means, a “normal” song. In fact, even if the song doesn’t particularly appeal to me, I can still call it the most inventive chart in Chapter X without a moment’s hesitation. Most people only focus on how difficult it is, without taking time to notice the distance it puts itself from other Level 7s that makes it so hard in the first place.
I actually believe that the reason as to why this was first classified a Level 7 was due to the patterns being so experimental that they made assigning a difficulty level a confusing task. However, that doesn’t excuse Rayark’s bullheadedness in keeping it a Level 7 after it was quickly ranked as underrated by a near staggering majority of the community, but who am I to judge? Oh yeah, I’m a critical prick who derives joy from complaining to companies who’ll ultimately never hear me. Hey Rayark, make Twenty One a goddamn Level 8 already.
In any case, the song is still quite innovative. Especially during the beginning, click notes are oddly placed and follow a very confusing pattern. Keeping your TP perfect in these types of sections is a beastly feat, especially for a Level 7. The following drag notes are placed in ways purposely intended to throw you off (or at least it seems), and the hold notes contribute to impeding your progress through the song. This first half of the song is tricky enough to warrant a Level 8 rating on its own, in my opinion.
Afterwards, the song dumbs itself down a little. A good portion of this song’s second half isn’t confusing or difficult in the slightest. In all honesty, it’s actually pretty boring. When regarding songs with skewed difficulty ratings, I always like to think that the developers only look at one part of the chart and assign it a level based off of that part alone. Of course, this almost certainly isn’t true, but if it were, this second half would probably be that part they’d be looking at.
But as you all know, this song has an ace up its sleeve. What serves to be the duller half of the song for the most part also contains a short, but positively brutal section that causes it to instantaneously become the harder half of the song. Twenty One’s killer has been widely regarded in infamy for how unfair of a pattern it is for a Level 7 song, and is pretty much the final nail in the coffin for the doubters of the song’s difficulty. Utilizing all three types of notes in a cluttered mess that even surpasses Level 8 standards to a certain point, this section that spans a mere eight pages of notes has stolen so many potential Million Masters from the grips of players pleading for nothing more to stand in their way. Then again, a pattern only lasting for two pages does the exact same thing to me.
*glances in fear at Galaxy Collapse*
In any case, even if Twenty One was a Level 8, it still would’ve been an outlier. It succeeded in perplexing new and old players of Cytus when it was released, and to an extent, it still does today. This wasn’t just because of a fast scan line or a high note density (in fact, it has a pretty average amount of notes in total), but because its patterns were arranged in a way that still remains unique among other songs in the game, forcing the player to adapt to its style. Too bad that Rayark thinks that creating another devilish Level 7 like this requires a sluggish scan line and infuriatingly unfitting patterns.
This song honestly doesn’t get talked about enough. Well, I talk about it a lot, and I have a big mouth, so to you it may seem ubiquitous. For me, however, it just seems like I’m shouting to a crowd and only hearing only my own voice echo back at me. So let me shout some more in an effort that will continue to fail in giving you a sudden epiphany to talk a lot about this song that nobody cares about anymore because it’s in Chapter III. Like, who the f*ck gives a damn about Chapter III? The only good song in that chapter is Libera Me, you scrubs.
Okay, to be honest, I find Chapter III to be horrendously underrated. Due to having only one Level 9, a shoddy Level 8 that hardly even deserves to be a Level 8, and a plethora of Level 7s, people seem to overlook it as much as possible.
despite there being a very similar chapter in the game that Rayark and its fanbase won’t stop gushing about
However, I actually consider Chapter III to be my favourite of the original trio. That’s partially due to the preserved gem that is Prismatic Lollipops. To put it simply: this song’s chart blew my goddamn mind when I first played it. It was fast, unpredictable, and challenging as hell in comparison to other Level 7s in the “5.0 minus IAPs” environment I started off in. Think of one of those adjectives in particular. Fast.
*autism noises in the background*
...Hold that thought.
Get out of my blog, Sonic! I’ve already used enough bad memes!
...Alright, what was I saying? Oh yeah, I was about to repeat a paradox joke about how this song feels quick despite having a Scan Line BPM of 101. Remember Endless Journey? Remember how exciting that chart felt, despite being a whole beat lower than 101? Yeah, that’s a chart you’ll totally see at the top of this list.
Okay, in all seriousness now, Prismatic Lollipops derives its unique qualities from its ability to feel swift and spontaneous despite being a “low-level” piece with a “sluggish” scan line. I put quotes around both of those adjectives because this chart, unlike many other Level 8 and 9 slow pieces, this chart does not feel sluggish in any regard. You could argue that it’s only because the song has an actual BPM of 202, but look how many other slow charts halved their BPMs, too.
That’s not to say that a slower pace is bad by any means, but it just feels so damn refreshing to get such a rush from a chart with such qualities. And I haven’t even touched upon the patterns yet! Well, I have. In my Favourite Charts list. You should really take a look at that if you haven’t, this certainly isn’t the last time I’ll end up mentioning it by accident.
maybe that’s because diversity is an admirable trait in a chart
To quickly summarize, the paths of note lines and grouped notes, which actually work due to the scan line not f*cking you in the ass (*growls at TBWL*), mixed with the simple, yet incredibly enjoyable drag notes that alternate in many directions with many variations give this chart a special charm that has barely been replicated in any other chart to date, forget the restriction to Level 7s.
And perhaps most importantly, Prismatic Lollipops thrives off of its age. You can feel a sense of genuinity in the fact that this chart was made into the best thing it could’ve been made into with the tools and skills Rayark had when developing it, and that is hardly off from what the best thing for it could be today. Modern slow charts really need to take notes from this one. Your crappy drag notes aren’t doing anything for ya, Wings of Piano.