(Konami, November 20, 2003)

Arcade games are really getting to be a rare thing now of days but they have not disappeared entirely, eh? One of the biggest things going is these cool arcade Dance Dance Revolution games where gamers use their feet to dance their way to a high score. Although the series got a slow start in North America after hitting big in Japan, DDR is really starting to get a good cult following and it even came to the Xbox with an amazing four games in the series. I always liked watching people try and play these games (especially when a girl would play) but this is the first ever time I played one of these Dance Dance Revolution video games for myself. Not only do you get all the crazy action from the older games in this Xbox exclusive but this DDR gives you 40 plus soundtracks, good multi-player options, and you can even play this unique game online thanks to the Xbox Live support for the first time ever. After playing it for only a few minutes, I can see why people go crazy for these games.

Are you new to this DDR stuff? If so you must enter the correct beats as multiple arrows appear from the bottom of the screen. What makes DDR so unique is that you can use a special dance pad controller to play the game which really adds something cool to the world of games. Using this dance pad can be great exercise too since you're using a lot of your legs to enter 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 (Wii Sports I guess)? Sure, you can still play DDR with a standard Xbox controller if you like 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 controller, the only real way to play DDR is with the dance pad.

Hitting the right directions at the right time to earn big points sounds easy enough but I have to warn you in advance, this game is harder than it looks. The first time I tried a song on the so called Light difficult, the game quickly ended early in failure and I got an E grade which I didn't think was too bad considering this was my first attempt. It wasn't until later when I learned that the E was the lowest you can get. It was kind of depressing because even if you do well early on by getting a lot of Perfects and Greats, if you miss too many beats you'll still get a bad grade. There is even a woman who does the commentary here will let you know how much you suck too which will only to add insult to injury. If you’re patience however, and you learn all the patterns well enough then the game becomes a bit easier (even I was able to get a few AA's on some songs so you may start your worshipping) but just be prepared for a real challenge if you go for anything above 140 beats per minute unless you're good.

DDRUM doesn't really have very impressive graphics but I was kind of expecting that. There are a couple of different cel-shaded dancers doing 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. A few songs even come with grainy videos like the MASAI track has. That video even has a scene where the two cute looking girls there tease kissing one another. Sadly not only do they not kiss during the video but you also have to put up with a bunch of shirtless guys as well.

That brings me to the game’s music itself. DDRUM features music from Paul Oakenfold, Ian Van Dahl Feat. Marsha, Who Da Funk……… let me stop right there because like many of you out there, “I HAVE NO CLUE WHO THE HECK THESE GUYS ARE!” Come on, I dare anyone to email me saying that they actually recognize these groups here. OK, I may not know who these bands are but the dance-able pop music here still works very well regardless.

Before you run out to your local game store and buy yourself a game and dance pad, you have to be able to stomach non-heavy metal music. You won’t find anything too edgy like a Marilyn Manson or a Limp Bizkit here, its all soft core stuff. I was also wondering why it would save my highest grade and score but I could not enter my name after getting that great score? This is a very tough game after all and it defeats the purpose when you can’t leave your own personal mark.

When it’s all said and done, DDRUM puts a lot on the table. You can dance to over 40 slow or fast songs each with three difficulties, the game lets you compete against friends in the fun Battle modes, its great form of exercise, and you can even download new stuff if you go online. DDR is also one of those rare games that female gamers can easily can into since there is no gimmicky violence or sexist material; it’s just a really fun party game. Although I like the song list in other versions like Max 2 (Ps2) and it may seem like a silly experience at first but if you give Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix here a chance you’ll find it to be a great and challenging diversion from the traditional video game.



*Xbox Live compatible

Dance Dance Revolution ULTRAMIX
overall rating: 80/100
Find DDRU on eBay here!

For 1 to 16 players
Rated (E) for Everyone

graphics: 6/10
sound: 8/10
gameplay: 5/10
replay: 7/10

(Ryan Genno) 2007

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