Review by BobtheKeeper

"Do yourself a favor and buy it."

Dance Dance Revolution has finally made its way onto the Gamecube! I'm probably in the same boat as most people considering this game: I'm a fan of Mario and Mario music, but I have very little experience in DDR. (So, hardcore DDR fans may disagree with my comparisons and laugh at my misuse of jargon.)

DIFFICULTY - Just Right
Konami was wise and designed this game for the audience: Gamecube owners with little or no experience in DDR. At the beginning, only Easy and Normal are available for Story mode, which I'm sure was so as to not scare off newcomers. While the Easy, Normal, and Hard difficulties are appropriate for newcomers and even casual DDR fans, they will bore hardcore DDR players. However, Very Hard and Super Hard are available, and I'm willing to bet that while these won't CHALLENGE hardcore DDR players, they will certainly ENTERTAIN them. Most people who buy this game will be happy with the difficulty.

MUSIC - Excellent!
The music alone is a good reason to buy this game. In any dancing game, the music must be great, and Mario Mix goes above and beyond. Each of the twenty-nine songs is an insanely catchy remix of either a Mario tune or a classical piece. What? Only 29 songs?
Yes, but they're all great! It's much better than most DDRs, where you must dig through about seventy average songs to find ten really good ones. If you like just one of these, you'll probably like them all. 29 won't seem so small when you realize that every single song is a completely catchy, addicting, one-hundred-percent great one.

The Mario remixes are all really well mixed, so that they sound fresh and new, yet unmistakably Mario. The classical remixes are great, too. Gamespot claims that these are aimed for the "bib and cradle" audience. What, because there are no cuss words? Because most of the songs are instrumental? I really don't see where they get that. "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" never sounded cooler, and it's the only song even barely hinting at a young audience.

While they're all techno, each has a different flair. The underwater theme from Super Mario Bros. has a jazzy remix, while the Mario Party 5 theme has a salsa-ish remix. Underground Mozart is the most clever song I've ever heard. It is Eine Kleine Nachtmusik in the spirit of Mario Bros. Arcade combined with the rest of the piece. When you hear it, you'll think: "Oh, yeah, I get it!" The best tunes from Super Mario World, Super Mario Bros. 3, Mario Kart Double Dash, and more are here. Even the original Donkey Kong Arcade comes in, with an awesome song combining all the tunes and sounds from the game where Mario debuted.

GRAPHICS - Excellent!
Even if DDR fans disagree with me about the music, they can't deny that Mario Mix excels other DDRs as far as graphics are concerned. A beautiful, 3D action sequence worthy of a wacky Mario scenario goes on behind the arrows (in both Story and Free Play mode). They won't distract you from the dancing; rather, they'll get you more into it! These sequences are often breathtaking and always excellent; do NOT think they are just second thoughts. One that particularly stands out is when Mario is flying a sailboat through a lava canyon. Truly awesome.

STORY MODE - Excellent!
Mario and Toad go on an adventure to get the musical keys back from Waluigi, Wario, and Bowser. Each song goes along with an objective/scenario. You may dance normally to get across a river or fix a hotel. You may hit bullet bills or goombas while you dance to escape a trap. You may shoot fire balls at your enemy in a battle dance. When there's a purpose behind the dancing, you really get into it! The Story is typical of a Mario game--intentionally wacky and funny. I laughed out loud several times.
When you clear a song in Story, you unlock it in Free Play mode. Completing Story unlocks Story Ex, where a few more alternate songs can be unlocked. Each completion of Story mode unlocks the next skill level up for Story. In Free Play mode, only Super Hard must be unlocked, by clearing the song on Very Hard.

GAMEPLAY - Excellent!
I saved this for last because there is not much to say. It is DDR. The pure dancing gameplay is the same tried-and-true format. Tons of fun. But, Konami brought more to the table with this DDR than any other. "Mush Mode" is the official name of the gimmick mode. Goombas, Koopas, coins, blooper tentacles, and more appear with the arrows and will keep most players on their toes. Mush Mode is no gimmick; it really adds to the gameplay. The minigames are fun diversions but not as fun as the dancing. Dodging snowballs, whack-a-goomba, and catching bananas are among the twelve or so minigames. In Story they help break the monotony of dancing, but alone they're just okay. All of these additions to the basic DDR formula make a great and innovative game.

THE PAD - Great!
While this is the first pad I've owned, I've used a variety of soft pads at friends' homes. The pad that comes with the game is probably the best soft pad available. Plus, it won't slip and slide because the bottom of it is nice and rubbery. This pad is second only to arcade-style hard pads.

BOTTOM LINE - 10/10. The only people who should NOT buy this game are either: A) not at all interested in dancing games, B) super hardcore DDR fans who clear Legend of MaxX on Heavy in their sleep, or C) people who despise Mario/Nintendo/Mozart. Otherwise, you ought to do yourself a favor and buy it. I wouldn't buy a Gamecube for it, but if you have a Gamecube, buy DDR Mario Mix. A DDR game for the masses!


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 10/28/05


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