Dance Dance Revolution Extreme – PS2 – Review

In arcades and at home, Konami’s Dance Dance Revolution
series has been making sweaty addicts of millions of gamers.  The latest version
of the series to hit the arcades, DDR Extreme, is now available on consoles and
the results are about what you’d expect.  Those looking for a completely new DDR
experience will only find more of the same.  However, considering the massive
following, it’s hard to think that those who want to pick up DDR Extreme will
find this a problem.  Extreme is set to give DDR fans exactly what they want, a
nice mix of new songs and familiar favorites.  Plus, Konami has added some nice
features, namely EyeToy support with a bunch of great mini games. So, if you are
a DDR fan or someone looking to become one, then DDR Extreme is a solid entry.

 

For those who are unfamiliar with the Dance Dance
Revolution series (I know, but there are a few out there), the game is a pretty
simple concept.  Using either a controller (which some would consider cheating)
or a dance pad, you must hit the arrows on the controller/pad as they line up
with the row of clear arrows on the top of the screen.  These arrows correspond
with the beat of the music, which will make your job a lot easier.  One of the
newer additions to the series (as in added to the series about a year or so ago)
is freeze arrows, which require you to plant on an arrow for a certain amount of
time.  By getting the arrow at the precise moment, your Dance gauge will
increase.  Miss an arrow, and your gauge will decrease.  Miss enough arrows and
it’s lights out.  How you fared on the song will be revealed to you at the end,
and you’ll be rated from AAA (getting every single arrow in the song perfectly)
or E (not completing the song at all).

 

 

The challenge rating of each song varies; some are
pretty easy while others are extremely difficult.  You can also increase the
difficulty level of each song yourself from Beginner to Light, Standard and
Heavy, with the steps growing more and more complex as you increase in
difficulty.  Hardcore DDR players have the ability to put even more handicaps on
themselves as they play, making the arrows rise even faster to the top, drop to
the bottom, or make them disappear before the hit the top.

 

DDR Extreme features 65 songs, some of which must be
unlocked by completing more songs in the game.  These songs are a nice mix of
new and old, with familiar favorites including Trip Machine, Paranoia Eternal
and Tsugaru and new licensed music, like YMCA by the Village People, The Reflex
by Duran Duran, and Move Your Feet by Junior Senior.  All in all, the track
selection is a pretty eclectic mix with something for everyone.

 

 

 

Aside from the tried and true DDR formula, there are
quite a few mini-games that can be played with the EyeToy accessory.  The uses
of the EyeToy camera device vary between the game modes.  Watch Me Dance mode
does what it sounds like, you can watch yourself onscreen as you dance.  Clean
the Screen has the whole screen mucking up with goop, requiring you to wipe it
away as you dance in order to properly see the arrows.  Hands and Feet requires
you to use your hands to touch areas on the screen as you dance, Coconut Panic
has you shaking coconut trees and trying not to get hit by the falling coconuts,
and Magical Ball has you knocking a ball against some bricks in order to break
them, Breakout-style.  There are some multiplayer party games as well, like
Hyper Dash Versus and Feeding Time Versus, the former being a racing game
reminiscent of Track and Field with the Power Pad on the old-school Nintendo,
and the latter being a feeding frenzy where you must feed some animals with
their correct foods.  The EyeToy compatibility is a great addition to the
gameplay, so EyeToy owners should certainly give this game a look if they’d like
to extend their use with the peripheral.

 

 

The graphics in DDR are pretty much the same as they’ve
always been, with little arrows rising up the screen and a cel-shaded dancer
bustin’ moves in the back.  Some of the songs feature full-motion video, but
nothing too fancy.

 

DDR Extreme is exactly the type of game that DDR fans
want from the beloved series; it offers premium blend of old and new songs, the
classic gameplay that has lasted over the years, as well as some great new
EyeToy features to get people involved who are new to the series.  

 


Review Scoring Details for DDR Extreme


Gameplay: 8.5
The classic
tried-and-true formula is largely unchanged, meaning that hardcore DDR fans
shouldn’t be disappointed with this version.  Also, the added EyeToy support is
a great party element that fans of the series and of Sony’s peripheral should
greatly enjoy.

Graphics: 7.9 
Nothing new here,
simply arrows moving up the screen and an animated dancer in the background. 
Some of the songs have music videos playing in the background, but nothing very
special.

Sound: 9.2
The huge
soundtrack is a great mix of new and old tracks that feature something for
everyone.


Difficulty: Medium
 

Concept: 8.5 
This is the same
DDR you’ve been playing for years, albeit with a bunch of new songs and some fun
EyeToy minigames.


Multiplayer: 8.0
The regular game
and the EyeToy features are great to get some people together to play, but the
lack of online support is very evident.

 



Overall: 8.5

DDR
Extreme not only gives DDR fanatics what they need with new songs, but it also
adds cool new EyeToy features to the mix.  Fans of the series and people with
EyeToys should give it a look.