Konami’s Bemani series Dance Dance Revolution got its start in the arcades in Japan. Then DDR came to the USA and found a place in our homes. Now that the dancing craze has died down in Japan, most of the series innovations are made in the USA. Instead of just adding in new songs Dance Dance Revolution Strike Konami revamped the entire series, this time focused around single player gameplay.
Dance Dance Revolution Strike is really the Japanese version of Konami’s Dance Dance Revolution Extreme 2. It introduces an all new dance master mode where gamers complete songs and earn points to unlock new tunes. You start out by doing songs on the beginner level, which puts novices and experts on the same page. Most of these tasks are simple such as complete the song and get a grade of C or better. Each stage you clear unlocks new stages and new paths. Sometimes the tasks in DDR Strike force players to master “mods”. Players will need to try out arrow options like “stealth” where arrows disappear and “hidden” where no arrows appear on screen. Other times challenges ask you to avoid all the arrows on screen. With hundreds of challenges to complete Dance Dance Revolution Strike is bound to keep people busy longer than other DDR mixes. Even experts will have new challenges to master since Strike offers new mods. Strike also refines some of the features that Extreme 2 introduced. For instance you don’t have to buy hints to find the hidden arrows anymore. Just press select over a mission and you’ll be given a clue where the hidden arrow appears.
Stomping on hidden arrows and completing songs earn you points to spend at the shop. New songs cost thousands of points, but this time you can choose what you want to unlock. If you like “19 November” get it first or if techno is your cup of tea try out “R10K”. The default song list has a bunch of the best music in Strike already available to play like the club hit “As the Rush Comes”, the great Konami OZ remix “Povlovstian Dances and Chorus” and the happy melody of “Love is Orange”. Other songs on the mix include the “VJ Army” which switches the beats per minute a couple of times for a challenge, the energetic beat of “starmine” and old school classic “You Sexy Thing”. If you’ve been following the USA mixes namely DDR Ultramix 2 for the Xbox and Extreme 2 there isn’t too much new to see here. Brand new songs include a dance remix of “Heaven is a Place on Earth”, “iFUTURELIST” for the hardcore fans, a new Naoki / Paula Terry track called “Maria (I Believe…)”, “Everyday at the Bus Stop” for the J-pop requirement and David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” which is the most surprising track in the mix. There are over fifty songs to play, which is a fair number. Think of Strike as the best of the USA DDR hits series.
If you don’t want to play dance master mode you can opt for free mode, which is just like classic DDR. You’ll step on the arrows to the beat, hold the freeze arrows and try to get the highest score possible. One good idea that Konami added in free mode is that the game doesn’t reset after three songs. Even if you fail a song you’ll just go right back to the song selection screen. Dance Dance Revolution Strike also has eyetoy support for hands and feet mode. Play this mode and you’ll have to wave your hands on screen on top of hitting arrows with your feet. For the pro players out there you can try out edit mode to make your own steps. Or if you want to use Dance Dance Revolution Strike as an exercise tool you can manage your workout with diet mode. Then for beginners Strike offers a training mode so you can master the basics before becoming a dance master. What is missing is online play that Dance Dance Revolution Extreme 2 introduced to PS2 players.
If you’ve skipped out on the most recent USA releases Dance Dance Revolution Strike may be of interest to you. It offers more single player additions over any other home mix to date seen in the dance master mode. Character costumes are easier to unlock and there are easily accessible hidden arrow hints. However both of the USA mixes offer new features that Strike doesn’t have. Extreme 2 has online play and on top of that the Ultramix series has downloadable sound packs. The only real reason to pick up Strike over Extreme 2 is because of the song list, which might be more appealing to some gamers out there.
Import Friendly? Literacy Level: 3
The biggest problem that importers are going to face is in the dance master mode. Players won’t be able to read the rules on how to complete each mission or tips on finding the secret arrows. Since playing dance master mode is the main way of unlocking songs people who can’t read Japanese won’t be getting all there is out of Strike.
While Dance Dance Revolution Strike won’t be getting a US release, most of the songs and gameplay evolutions can be found in a couple US DDR titles.
+ Pros: The new dance master mode gives the game more single player depth than any other Dance Dance Revolution title to date.
– Cons: The major downside is mainly for importers, there isn’t really anything “new” songs or gameplay modes compared to the USA DDR games.
Overall: If you haven’t picked up Ultramix 2 or Extreme 2, Dance Dance Revolution Strike might be worth a look. DDR Strike has some great additions like dance master mode and a bunch of new licensed music, that is if you haven’t checked out any of the USA releases.
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