Review by Nintendy86

"If the DDR series has you tripping all over the mat, give this version a try."

DDR is quite the gaming phenomenon. For years gamers were sitting around pushing buttons on hand-held controllers. Don't get me wrong, I love my lazy gaming, but it was getting a bit stale (not to mention horrifically unhealthy).

A trend from Japan came to the rescue, though. A game that involved stomping and jumping on a dance pad to hit arrows as they scrolled up the screen got players up and moving. This game quickly became a cult favorite in the US, and the craze grows stronger every year.

Nintendo finally brought DDR around for the Game Cube. They didn't seem to wish to parallel with their competitors (PS2 and XBox), so they released a version that remixed many favorite Mario songs. The result was DDR: Mario Mix. A great game inside and out, but is certainly not meant for the DDR veterans.

The plot line in story mode is horrifically silly. You roam across the land with Toad, saving music keys from Bowzer (he loves to get his groove on!). From the cooky dialect to the childish humor, I must admit that the story mode almost made me take my game back. You must complete it to unlock all of the songs, and to make it more trouble-some, you must complete it in multiple difficulites to ensure a full song list. Some songs must also be purchased during game play.

It is also worth noting that the difficulty of the game is severely lacking. I, personally, can manage through the standard DDR difficulty (medium or normal), and can work my way through the songs on Super Hard mode with little to no difficulty. If you are well experienced on the other DDR versions, this is not the game for you.

A new aspect was added to DDR game play, however: mush mode. You may find yourself stomping goombas or koopa troopas instead of arrows, or avoiding stomping on spinies (poor Mario...). This does add a new challange to the game, helping compensate for the lacking difficulty. It is also amusing to squish those little goombas, great for stress releif!

The song selection is fun, but very limited. Nintendo remixed their own sound tracks, as I metioned before, which is a must have for any die-hard Mario fan. Some songs I couldn't identify, and some songs were just randomly thrown in (Pomp and Circumstance makes an appearance in an underwater challange). The remixes were rather well down, though. They are fun to dance to, and the tempos are great for DDR players with different preferences.

The background animations were very well done. Watching Mario dance is often amusing, and the Bowser dance animations at the end of story mode make up for the poor story line. I personally find the background dancers in the other DDR games to be annoying, but find the dancing Mario crew to be very entertaining, this is a large improvement over the other DDR versions.

All in all, if you are an avid Nintendo fan, aren't that talented at DDR, or are just lacking a PS2 or Xbox, then go ahead and pick up a copy of DDR: Mario Mix. The difficulty is a little lacking, and the song selection a bit slim, but the entertaining animations and wonderfully remixed songs make up for the flaws in the game.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 12/04/06

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