Review by TheDurinator
"A great game that leaves you satisfied."
When I first heard that Konami and Nintendo were going to join forces to create a Mario version of Dance Dance Revolution, or DDR, I nearly rolled over in laughter. I had never really played DDR much myself, rather I had watched my friends play it and marvelled at how complex the steps were on some songs. So, when I read this, I wondered how could a dancing game based on Mario songs be any fun, (and I'm a huge fan of Mario games), with it's simple yet memorable songs? Well, guess what. It was.
To be blunt, this game is awesome for a DDR newbie like myself. It starts out ridiculously easy, making you feel pretty sure of yourself, so after a few songs you move on. All of the difficulties up to Very Hard follow in this manner, getting you acquainted with the realm of DDR quite fast. the patterns are simple for difficulties Hard and below, so you can get used to it. Once you hit Very Hard it heats up, and Super Hard I still find extremely difficult. The controls are pretty self-explanatory, and the steps never get too intense for anyone who should be at that skill level (except maybe the last song, which just seems to be leagues ahead of the others), so once you get the hang of not getting way off kilter or losing your balance, you'll be fine. There is also a ranking system present for how well you dance. For every step, you'll be given either a PERFECT, a GREAT, a EARLY/LATE (depending on if you hit it before or after it passes where you're supposed to), and MISS. During a song, there is a "dance meter" at the top of the screen that basically tells you how you're doing in the song. A PERFECT or a GREAT will both fill it, with the former filling it more, an EARLY/LATE will not affect it, and a MISS will decrease it, quite significantly on the higher difficulties. There is also a combo recorder that will appear once you get four steps in a row, and tell you how many you've had uninterrupted. PERFECTs and GREATs keep it going, while EARLY/LATEs and MISSes will stop it. At the end of every song, you'll be given a ranking based on the number if steps you got Perfect and such, as well as your max combo, which is the largest unbroken chain of steps you had in the song. The rankings will either be an A, which is getting nearly everything perfect, a B, which allows for a few mistakes, a C, which is given when you still do decently but not too hot, a D, for when you just barely pass the song with more than a few EARLY/LATEs and MISSes, and F, which means you essentially bombed the song. Notably absent are the AA and AAA rankings, which were present in previous DDR installments, as well as steps that force you to hold them down and release when it tells you to. All in all, this game is a complete blast to play. I haven't had this much fun playing a game of this style since...well...never. I always look forward to this whenever I know people will be able to come over.
Much to my surprise when I first turned the game on, I found that the game had a story mode. Mario themed of course. The story winds up being the sole way of unlocking songs, making you play it more than once to get them all, which adds a nice bit of flavor to the game. It may not be the deepest storyline you've ever seen, but it's definitely something Nintendo would cook up, and is more than enough to keep you entertained by its comic value.
Graphics-wise, the game is actually pretty impressive. Fluid characters, bright landscapes, and impressive water and lava effects complete the package. The in-song graphics aren't too shabby either, complete with little Mario throwbacks such as Shy-Guys and Goombas dancing along with you. The sound, of course, is excellent, (it is a dancing game after all, right?), perfectly conveying classic Mario themes that awake the nostalgia in us once you begin to dance to them. Some classical pieces were even thrown in for flavor, and they make an excellent addition. The only thing that might ever get annoying would be the announcer, but he can be shut off anyway.
The replay value of this game is simply enormous. It is, of course a game meant to be played over and over again so you improve and can beat the harder difficulties. The story mode itself, by making you play it more than once to unlock all the songs, adds to the re-playability of it by default. The story mode itself shouldn't take more than a couple of hours to complete, so long as you're capable of finishing the songs. There is even a way to have the game count the amount of calories you have burned playing, if you're interested in that sort of thing. The best part of the game, though, by far is getting a bunch of friends together and having some sort of competition. There's nothing more amusing than watching your friends play DDR. It always leaves me with an oddly satisfied feeling, especially when they screw up and you beat their ranking the next time you get on the pad.
In the end, this is an awesome game. I can wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone who will listen to me. However, this might not be the perfect game for you. I would still recommend a rent of this game before you buy it, just to see if you like this style of game-play. DDR vets may be turned off by its lack of suicidally-difficult songs though, so be forewarned. This game is excellent, but not perfect, so I bestow upon it a stellar 9/10.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/10/05
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