Review by TuxedoAlex
"A Great U.S. Title, but Pales to the Japanese Counterpart"
Dance Dance Revolution. I eat, sleep, and breathe this game. Never before has a game captivated me so with it's simplistic, yet addictive gameplay. It's the only game I ever played that could ever beat YOU! In Japan, this game spawned many, many sequels (dubbed ''Mixes'') in the arcades and the PSX console. And now, Konami finally throws us a bone and gives us a special mix for the United States. But considering what Japan and the arcades have to offer, is it worth it?
HOW TO PLAY
First, you need the special floor mat the game is sold with. (You can buy both separately, but it might run a bit deeper into your wallet.) If you play this game with a regular controller, you are insane and will not have any fun. Anyway, the goal of the game is correctly match the arrows that scroll from the bottom of the screen to the arrows at the top in time to the music. To do this, you'll need to step on the four arrows on the dance mat at the right times. If you match it perfectly, you'll get a ''Perfect''. If you are slightly off, you'll get a ''Great''. It goes on down to ''Good'', ''Almost'', and ''Boo'' depending how well you match the arrows. Depending on the difficulty of the song, the arrows will go by from slow to UNGODLY FAST!!! At the end of the song, you'll be graded on how well you've done, ranging from E (horrible), to AAA (All Perfects).
First, the gameplay. This game is massively addictive. You get 27 songs to dance to. The range of music is varied from Pop, to Rap, to Rock, to in-house Konami tracks that are nearly impossible for the novice to complete. (More on the music later in the review.) Each song has three sets of steps: Normal, Difficult, and Expert. With each song having so many steps, the replay value is tremendous as you try to perfect your scores. As for modes, you get a Game Mode, where you have to do three songs to pass, and a versus mode to challenge a friend. The game also boasts a Workout Mode, where you pick a workout program, and burn calories to your favorite DDR songs! If this were the only version of the game, the gameplay would get an 11/10. However...
This version of DDR is very scaled down from it's Japanese counterparts. The songs this game contains come from mostly the first two DDR mixes in Japan, with just a sampling of the Japanese 3rd Mix. While a nice compilation, many of the best songs seemed to have escaped this collection. Compared to other home versions, the amount of songs included is simply laughable. 3rd Mix contains over 50 songs, while this one has a little over half of that amount.
The amount of modes are also scarce. In Japan, you are given so much more to work with. Modes such as Paint, Endless, Nonstop Edit, and a Challenge Mode would have done the game wonders. However, this version will leave you board and quick.
Also, various changes from the Japanese version are simply inexcusable. The grading system, for one, has been dumbened down considerable. In Japan, the grades went all the way to SSS. Here, the S rankings are eliminated entirely. Also, the difficulty modes were changed from the traditional Basic/Trick/Maniac. Is it just me, or does dancing on ''Expert'' rather than ''Maniac'' sound rather dull? Lets see, what else...Workout Mode was originally called ''Diet''...the ''Almost'' and ''Boo'' ranks were changed from ''Boo'' and ''Miss'' respectively...and I'm sure there are a couple of other things in there that I missed. Therefore, the gameplay drops to 6/10. I'm sorry, but I'm anal about my DDR!
The graphics are a prefect translation from the arcades. Heck, you don't even pay attention to them much while you are dancing, so why rate them anyway? Oh well. 10/10 for what they are. The psychedelics are just cooooooooool.....
The Music and Sound are phenomonal. The tracks to dance to are so catchy that I find myself humming them for days on end after dancing to them. (Boom Boom Boom Boom, Aiy Aiy Aiy Aiy!) There is also the announcer's voice that either praises you or pokes fun at you depending on how you're doing. I don't mind him much at all. Again, this category would score a higher rating if there were more songs like in the import versions. A 9/10. Why? The current song selection still holds up on its own.
This game would be MUCH better if Konami gave us more on a disc. Even so, nothing could compare to the arcade experience. Thats pretty much the whole reason DDR is in this country. You dance in front of people, and compete with others for bragging rights and fabulous prizes (In the tournaments anyway). The home version is nice, but can never be truly replicated at home. (Well, unless you shell out tons of money for an arcade-built pad.)
If you don't have an arcade around and don't want to import the game, this is a definite buy, even a 10/10. If you can import, then I'd suggest you do. Get the Best Hits collection in place of this version, and 3rd, 4th, and Extra Mix for some insane party action. The American version suddenly becomes a good rent at 7/10. If there's an arcade near you with this game, what are you waiting for? GO OUT AND PLAY IT! STOP READING THIS REVIEW! Seriously though, this is a good game. One of my favorites. You can't choose wrong. Now, show me your moves!
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 01/02/02, Updated 01/02/02
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