DDRMAX: Dance Dance Revolution


posted 12/12/2002 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PS2
Dance Dance Revolution is the ultimate geek’s dream, it allows them to escape the horrid torments of reality and for a few brief moments, showcase their skills on a stage where like-minded individuals can watch and adore them. Sure passersby (like me) will laugh and scoff at them but in the end, a dedicated DDR player has to be respected, he’s willing to throw all his pride and inhibitions out the window for a few moments of geekdom glory. Thankfully Konami decided to bring their giggling school girl megahit Dance Dance Revolution to the home market so that closet players the world over would be able to play without fear of jeer or ridicule.

After releasing a few run of the mill titles for the PSOne, Konami has decided to do things right with their first next-generation release, DDR Max. This time around the lineup has been beefed up to include over 65 songs, about half of which are available from the start. New ones are unlocked by obtaining high scores, by beating the game and even by losing the game. This makes playing through the game’s core single-player mode much more rewarding each and every single time.

I found this game’s lineup to be much more beefier and robust than the ones that appeared in the PSOne releases. I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I’m some sort of DDR expert but I’ve been around enough arcades and gamers to know which songs are the catchiest. This means that you’ll get less of songs like Silent Hill and In the Navy and more of Stomp to my Beat and Era. The majority of the songs (not all) are pretty catchy and if you’re just a bystander, chances are you’ll be finding yourself tapping along with the beat. Sure this game has its stinkers as well but if you don’t like em, just avoid em.

One of the major additions to this year’s game is a complete graphics overhaul. Gone are those un-attractive and un-inspired still images and in their place are beautifully rendered background sequences. I’ll admit, they are quite catchy and it seems as if every song has a unique set of visuals. While they’re appealing to the eyes I feel that they sometimes serve as too much of a distraction. It’s like trying to watch MTV and concentrate on open heart surgery at the same time, it’s just too difficult. As the arrows travel up the screen they have a tendency to become lost in the backgrounds only to re-appear right before they need to be inputted. This won’t be a problem for advanced gamers who have the steps memorized but for a new or novice gamer this can be a major diversion.
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