I’ve never quite understood the need for no-name DJs to remix each and every hip-hop song with a strong bass line. I know that it’s the life blood of the all-too-trendy nightclub circuit but shouldn’t the artist’s vision be, you know, the artist’s vision? But for all of you out there who disagree with me there’s Codemasters and MTV’s wannabe DJ-sim, MTV Music Mixer
. Apparently there are a ton of you out there because someone decided to green light the third installment in the series.
More of a Windows application than an actual video game, you’re tasked with remixing some of today’s hottest hits. This includes 10 songs from the likes of Sean Paul, Snoop Dogg, Outkast and a whole host of other club mainstays. While this might seem like a painfully low track count, the game’s bread and butter doesn’t come from the pre-made variety. Instead, the variety in the game comes from the amount of sheer options available to the user. All of the songs can be broken apart entirely and remixed to your liking.
Your interface looks like your garden variety mixer program that you can pick up on your PC. In similar design, every single piece of audio is represented by a colored bar that can be moved and placed at your disposal. Not content with the smaples in the song? The game features over 3,000 samples for you to mess around with. If you’re not content with the massive library that the game offers you can always enter the beat box and create your own. If that’s not good enough, you can insert any of your own audio CDs and pull apart samples from them. Overall you’re given a pretty powerful suite that allows you to create some pretty decent tracks.
Where Music Generator
is able to distance itself from the others is in its interface. A problem that other similar titles have is that they look as if they were ported over from the PC with little fuss or fanfare for the console user. Here the game looks to be a console game through and through. Everything is controller driven and doesn’t look as if it were designed to be pressed and manipulated with a mouse. In fact, slick is a great word to use when trying to describe the interface. Codemasters was able to rid the screen of the usual clutter and mess to develop a very clean and informative interface that gives plenty of information, but not too much as to overwhelm the user.
It all seems very repetitive but the fact of the matter here is that the game can be surprisingly fun once you get into it. Codemasters was smart enough to allow you to play the song while you’re remixing it, giving you instant feedback on your progress. It doesn’t take much to make a great and catchy remix either, it’s all just a matter of moving a couple of samples around, or in this instance, pushing a bunch of random buttons and coming up with something different. To make the effort even easier, the game features accessible tutorials for every single function in the game.
Though the game is surprisingly intuitive, it lacks some of the secondary features that could have really made it special. Everything operates on a grid-system where the samples have to be placed on the lines. This means that you can’t place a sample in the middle of a beat, only at the beginning of one. Sorry Techno fans, that annoying repeating echo that seems to be the rage in every single remix isn’t in your arsenal. That CD ripper function can be powerful when used properly, but it’s difficult to get it to operate correctly. You can only pull out samples in eight second increments and most of the time, you’ll get pops and crackles in the middle of the tracks. Only with repeat tries will you be able to get clean and clear samples.
What bothers me most about the game is that it fails to capitalize on the most appealing feature of all; allowing the player the take the remixes on the road to show off to other peoples. Yes, the PS2 lacks the sufficient hardware required to burn the tracks onto a CD, but how about offering some sort of online component? Why not setup a server where players can trade tracks with one another? Or at least allow players to upload a song to the Codemasters server where they can in-turn download it with their PC in an .mp3 format. That way they have something to show for all of their hard work. Seriously, it’s impractical to bring a PS2 to a party to show off, not to mention that it’s incredibly geeky. Also, the game fails to really take advantage of the MTV licensing. A DJ-battle in the TRL studios or something similar like that would have been a welcome addition. Anything to give the game some sort of competitive feel to it.
Really the only thing this title has going for it (and it’s a pretty big one) is that there truly is nothing else like it on the consoles. Similar titles, such as Amplitude
, exist but they don’t truly allow you to break apart your songs and put them back together the way you’d like. In this sense the game is able to provide gamers with something that’s purely unique. Aspiring DJs might want to give it a try, enthusiasts will want to stick with the real stuff on their PCs.
What it lacks in graphics and flair it makes up for in with variety and intuitiveness. Playing around with the songs is fun, but no real sense of accomplishment kind of takes the wind out of the game's sails.
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