(Konami, 2003)

As I'm writing this article here; summer is quickly approaching and you know what that means, eh? The sunny beaches are once again packed with people and many of them will be half naked of course. It's a exciting time yes but we live in a society where 'Sex Sells' and if you want the proof of this just go down to your local news stand and see all scantily clad and fit women and men on the covers of most of the magazines? I bring this up for a reason so stay with me here, most video games are strictly for fun and leisure purposes and unfortunately this means that this popular form of entertainment gets a bad rap for being an inactive activity. How many of you are afraid of being labelled a geek or a sloth just because you like sit down and play video games, uh? Although I hate anyone who stereotypes my favourite medium because they don't understand it, I bet a lot of you real players out there know that isn't true with all games. I discovered one title that both fun to play and it will give you a great work out at the same time. That moves to my Game of the Month for June 2004: Dance Dance Revolution Max 2.

So how do you play a strange game like DDRMAX2 here? As the background music is playing, you must enter the correct beats with your feet as multiple arrows appear from the bottom of the screen until they reach the top bar. That's right, what makes these DDR games so unique is that you can use a special floor pad controller to play the game which really adds something different and very cool to the world of games (forget about those lame NES power pad games by the way). Using these dance pads can be great exercise too since you're using a lot of your legs to enter the commands and the game even has modes that measure how many Calories you can burn while doing your movements. Name any video game that helps you to lose weight, eh? If you don't care about the exercise why not just play for fun and competition in the Game Mode. This mode will grade on each performance when you finish a song and it's even open to two player battles. Sure, matching foot movements with arrows sounds easy but a lot these stages require precise timing and even some of the Light tracks are quite difficult. There is even a cool secret Endless Mode if you are for looking some real punishment.

Sure, there is a way to play DDR with a standard Playstation2 controller but then the game turns into a basic rhythm button masher and that's a pretty lame way to spend 50-60 bucks, uh? Even though the game is a lot easier with a basic controller, the only real way to play DDR is with the dance pad. I noticed that these Dance Dance Revolution games and dance pads are not the easiest games to find in most stores. If you look around the auction sites you may have an easier time finding what you're looking for but be warned the DDR Max 2 special dance pad and game combo is pretty big so expect to pay a lot for the shipping. You can even buy packages that come with or without an official dance controller or if you're real hardcore you can even buy the real metal dance pads so you can dance with shoes just like in those arcade DDR games. The unlicensed third party dance pads are the easiest to find and some of them can work pretty well but they usually breakdown faster too so it's a trade off. I recommend getting a game dance controller combo so you can get start right away and try placing your pad on wood or flat surface floor, try to avoid placing it on a carpet floor because the thing will move.

With this many DDR arrows you need a solid dance controller!

That brings me to one of the game's best features: the music itself. DDRMAX2 features tracks from the famous names like the hot Kylie Monugue (Love at first sight), Dirty Vegas (Days gone by), Captain Jack (he does remixes of 'Dream a Dream' and the Village People's classic 'In the Navy') 2 Unlimited (Twilight Zone) and there are several other dance remixes from songs made popular by Artists like the Doobie Brothers, Brian Adams, Earth Wind and Fire, and these are just the tip of the ice berg. You can also dance to some old DDR favourites from the past editions like SuperStar, Paranoia, Tsugaru, and other default and unlockable favourites. There is one secret song called Maxx Unlimited that still gives me nightmares. All these tracks will definitely get ya in the mood to get your groove on, baby!

Some of these songs even come some of the real video that you would normally see on Much Music (a Canadian music station by the way). For example: you actually get to see Kylie Monugue dance in the background during her own song. DDRMAX2 sure has far smoother looks then the older PSone titles but doesn't really have very impressive graphics for a PS2 game but I was kind of expecting that. There are a ton of different cel-shaded dancers that do moves on screen plus there are some wild background effects as well but either will blow you away but at least both can be turned off if they become too detracting.

If you manage to ever find one of these special large bungle packs in the wild you better get it before it disappears. Just like a lot Playstation2 combo sets like Time Crisis and Guitar Hero they are for a niche market and weren't released in all markets so finding some of these titles can be difficult. Fortunately, this game here is definitely worth the cash.

When I did a mini review of Dance Dance Revolution Max 2 for the PS2 a while back, some gamers were surprised when I gave it a rather high 95 out of a 100 but lets facts here; DDRMAX2 gives you so much in one game. You can go crazy to over 60 slow or fast songs each with four difficulties, the game lets you compete against friends in the fun battle modes, and who can forget that its great form of exercise as well. I never played a game that actually gave me an intense workout yet I didn't want to stop until I got that particular high score or grade! OK, these DDR games maybe very intimidating at first but at least this version here has multiple beginner programs to teach you the ropes. These Dance Dance Revolution games have actually been around for a while now and you can even find a few Playstation games and there is even a Xbox one out there. Although the other editions are fun to play as well, I liked how DDRMAX2 had music from big names I actually recognized plus I also loved all the different modes like Beginner and Endless modes so the game is great for pros and newbie’s a like. If you haven't jumped on the DDR bandwagon yet then DDRMAX 2 is a great place to start.



overall rating: 95/100

Find DDR Max 2 on eBay here!

For 1 or 2 players
Rated (E) for Everyone

graphics: 7/10
sound: 9/10
gameplay: 9/10
replay: 9/10

(Ryan Genno) 2004

Other Star Soldier Games of the Month