While Dance Dance Revolution is slowly gaining popularity in America, DDR has been out for quite sometime in Japan. It has been about six years since the first DDR mix and the series hasn’t changed much. The concept of the game is simple. Directional arrows scroll up the screen, which represent dance steps. You need to step down on the corresponding arrow when it reaches on top of the screen. In writing it sounds simple, but this game will test your eye-hand.. err.. eye-foot coordination. All of the songs have cleverly designed dance patterns that include jumping, freeze arrows and off-beat steps. It’s a fun experience, once you get over the initial embarrassment.
Before the arcade version was released Konami asked the Japanese audience to vote on what Beatmania (another popular rhythm game in Japan made by Konami) songs they wanted to see on this mix. Some of the songs that were chosen are V, air, Frozen Ray and A. Konami also included many DDR classics like Brilliant 2U, La Senorita, Silent Hill and Dynamite Rave. All of the new eight mix songs remain intact from the arcade version. So you’ll be able to play 1998, Speed over Beethoven, We are the Champions, bag, and Graduation in the comfort of your own home. For the more advanced DDR players this mix includes all of the Paranoia remixes, Trip Machine remixes and Max songs. This version of DDR also features some totally new songs. Some are taken from DDRMax2 US like Try 2 Love U and more deep 2.1, but some are entirely new like A Stupid Barber, Scorching moon and Max period. Unlike past Japanese PS2 releases there is more “new” stuff.
Since this is a music game the quality of music is probably the most important factor in the game. The songs for the most part are very good. There is a house/eurobeat slant to the music, since eurobeat is popular in Japan. Songs like Hyper Eurobeat and 1998 are very energetic and make you want to get up and move. There are some slower Hip Hop and R&B songs like Put Your Faith in Me and Try 2 Love U. For the first time some Latin music is included. Gamelan de Couple (from Konami’s Mamba A-Go-Go series) and La Copa De La Vida (yes that Ricky Martin song) are some examples. There are even sports classics like We Are the Champions and We will Rock you. Compared to the other DDR mixes this mix boasts high quality music that spans multiple genres. The only minor complaint is this mix features the least amount of licensed music compared to the other DDR mixes. The American DDRMax2 just got songs from popular artists like Crystal Method, 4 Strings and Dirty Vegas while the Japanese Extreme mix gets one song from Wildside.
This version features all of the classic DDR features and more. Diet mode, Nonstop mode and Oni mode all return. Oni mode and Nonstop feature a new challenge in this mix. There is the new “marvelous” step that requires you to be on beat by 1/64th of a beat, which is a real challenge. If you grow tired of the standard courses you can even make your own with the Nonstop and Oni course editor. Edit mode returns too, so you can make your own steps and trade them with other people. This game also has arcade support so you can get additional steps by bringing your memory card to a DDR Extreme machine. Konami chose to listen to their fans and bring back dancing characters. Every single character ever created was added to the game, in all of their incarnations. This means popular characters like Rage and Emi have outfits from 3rd, 4th, and 5th mix. Unlocking the characters is a bit of a pain. Each time you clear nonstop mode you unlock two characters. So the process is a bit tedious, but well worth it if you’re a DDR fan. As a final special bonus, inside the options menu is an option that can unlock all of the secrets from the Japanese versions of DDRMax and DDRMax2.
Dance Dance Revolution Extreme plays like a homage to the entire series. Everything from the old school characters to the classic songs makes DDR fans reminisce. Still this game is DDR, and DDR hasn’t made any real improvements since DDRMax. Konami isn’t going to win over too many new consumers, but fans of DDR rest assured this is the best Playstation 2 DDR mix yet.
Import Friendly? Literacy Level: 1
The Dance Dance Revolution series has always been one of the more import friendly game series. All of the menus are in English and the announcer speaks in English! What more can you ask for?
Since DDRMax2 was just released in the US and this game isn’t announced don’t expect it anytime soon. Also this game is likely to lose many of the Japanese and Dancemania songs when it makes it over to this side of the world.
+ Pros: 105 songs to play, excellent music and variety, lots of gameplay modes
– Cons: It’s still the same old DDR, missing some of the favorite songs from the arcade rendition
Overall: Dance Dance Revolution Extreme is like all the other DDR games in the series. If you’re a fan of DDR you should get it, if you’re not this mix is a good place to start since it has such a wide selection of music.
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