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Usually, the only differences between Dance Dance Revolution games are the remixes of what?s been heard before. Not so with DDRMAX2, which features a bunch of small changes that start to justify its appearance on a technical powerhouse platform like the PS2.
If you've never played any version of DDR, the five-year-old franchise that has transcended the video-game world and invaded global pop culture, here's a brief summary. You stand on a dance-pad peripheral ("optional" since you can play with a Dual Shock 2; mandatory to enjoy the game), watch intricate patterns of arrows scroll up the screen, and stomp the corresponding arrows on the pad.
You’ll never catch me playing this game in the arcades but having DDRMAX 2 on my PS2 ready to humiliate myself in the privacy of my own home is undeniable fun. I suppose there is a certain demographic that will really enjoy this game (girls and anyone who can dance). Much like Frequency you either “get” this game or you don’t. For those that do, you won’t find a more comprehensive or fun dancing game out there.
When's the last time you walked by the local arcade and heard some techno or heavy beat coming from inside? Did you walk to take a closer look at where the music was coming from, and start to hear a constant stomping noise in rhythm? As you pass the never again played "latest" fighting game, did you see a semi-circle of teenagers watching one of their own jumping around on a giant board in front of a huge screen with swirling colors and moving arrows? Then what you're seeing is this incredible game that has literally taken the US gaming community by complete storm. The reason people even still go to the arcade. Yep, you're watching them play Dance Dance Revolution.
And now, we come upon the release of DDRMAX2: Dance Dance Revolution. There was a lot of hype surrounding this game, with the inclusion of even more licensed songs and new, additional features. But does this version live up to that hype? Read on to find out!
Regardless of my one gripe, I still feel that DDRMAX2 is a game that will endure with its addictive dance beats, incredible soundtrack and astounding gameplay. You don't need a dance mat to play, but it IS a dance game and using the controller sullies the experience to a degree that makes the game annoying and dull. So go out, get a pad and GET DANCING!
There are so many unlockable songs and also tunes out of the box you are familiar from artists like the Crystal Method, Kylie Minogue and KC & the Sunshine Band. For many, including me, this makes a new purchase warranted at the MSRP of $39.99. For those who don't care about licensed music, it is overall the same ‘ol. You will find little value in the upgrade.
In the late 1990s and in the early years of the new century, Konami, which has always been considered a top-notch publisher, became the biggest publisher in Japan. Among its many well-known titles are Castlevania, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill and depending on how far you go back, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Among the slew of games it pumped out in the late 1990s and after, Konami's bread and butter game franchise was undoubtedly the Bemani series.
No dancing game would succeed without some catchy tunes, and DDR has its moments. There are some actual music videos from Kylie Minogue, Dirty Vegas, and 2 Unlimited, along with a few less-recognizable artists. Of the 65+ remaining songs, a few are nightclub caliber gems, but too many are mediocre and generic. I wish they could have licensed more big name acts and included more videos. Once they do that, this is 'A' material.
The Dance Dance Revolution series has been around long enough to successfully establish itself as the premiere dancing videogame, standing alone as the single source of light in its respective genre. As such, it can do no wrong. Luckily, Konami and company have given each progressive DDR release, starting on the PSX and now up to the second PS2 game, noticeable improvements. So the mere fact that they haven’t got any worse justifies the game’s dominating position.
After many years, and many different companies failing, Konami was the one to finally figure out how to make a floor pad work for a video game. Rather than making the game rely totally on foot speed (which resulted in people kneeling on the floor slapping it with their hands), speed would be combined with coordination, and all that in time to a musical beat. Thus, Dance Dance Revolution was born, and perhaps that name is fitting; it made gamers think of floor pad games as something to take seriously, and it inspired many gamers, myself included, to lose weight via video game playing.
When the Dance Dance Revolution series got its start back in 1998, few could have predicted that it would go on to garner such a huge and dedicated following. Since then, the Japanese version of the series has been through more than seven different iterations, some of which just added more music to dance to and some of which made real enhancements and additions to the gameplay.