Dance Dance Revolution Extreme – Review

Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) , the rhythm-action game that involves stomping feet on a special dance mat controller, has a devoted fan base that will eagerly pay to play the same songs over and over again. After countless remixes, appends and spin-offs, the latest DDR game to hit home consoles is Dance Dance Revolution Extreme for PlayStation 2.

True to form, Extreme only has a handful of original songs (including Kim Wilde's "Kids in America" and the Pet Shop Boys' "Go West"). The bulk of the 70-plus song repertoire has been culled from old arcade appends, previous-generation console releases, BEMANI sister-titles like Guitar Freaks, DrumMania and BeatMania, and finally even the PS2's DDRMAX series and—with the exact same step patterns no less—the Xbox's Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix, released less than two years ago.

Basically, investing in DDR is like buying Greatest Hits CDs over and over again that have the few "bonus" original tracks thrown in—that in the case of DDR eventually get rolled into the repertoire and on into the next Greatest Hits package. (The song "PARANOIA", for example, has been featured ten times including its appearance here.)

DDR players know what they like and like what they know, apparently. And in that regard, Extreme doesn't disappoint. It has the standard arcade-style Solo Mode, where players get to dance through four songs before being dumped back to the title screen. Things really start to heat up, however, when the dance-til-you-drop Endless and Challenge Modes are unlocked. There's also a two-person Versus Mode (that requires two dance mats) and Edit Mode, where players can create their very own step patterns.

There's also Workout Mode, which is not a Mode per se but rather a built-in calorie counter-cum-workout diary that calculates how many calories have been burned during a particular DDR session (the average is about 40 calories per song) and tracks it in a chart that spans days and even months.

Double Mode requires one player to leap around on two dance mats; Mission Mode requires the gamer to satisfy certain criteria in each song, like not scoring any high combos.

Extreme has the distinction of being the first (and so far only) DDR game to be compatible with the EyeToy, and several of the mini-games in its all-new (and oftendreadfully gimmicky) Party Mode require the USB camera peripheral.

The first and most basic EyeToy application is a mode in which the cartoonish on-screen dancer avatar is replaced by an image of the player in all his or her sweaty, clammy mussy-haired DDR glory. Another of the mini-games involves having to wipe away various bits of crud from frost to foliage as it slowly fills the screen and obscures the view of the arrows. Frankly, most people look silly playing DDR under the best of conditions, and having to windmill one's arms frantically while dancing isn't going to help matters.

The most successful implementation of the EyeToy is "Hands and Feet," in which there are two scrolling hand-sensors in addition to the foot arrows. Predictably, one of the songs to dance to in this mode is the Village Peoples' "Y.M.C.A." If any of the EyeToy games are going to make it to the next Greatest Hits package, it will be this one.

In essence, you've seen it all before. Unless you want to see yourself. Rating: 7 out of 10