Dance Dance Revolution Extreme

Game Description: Show off your mad dancing skills with Dance Dance Revolution Extreme. But don't just use your feet; with eye toy support, DDR EXTREME will have you waving your arms too!

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

Dance Dance Revolution Extreme – Consumer Guide

According to ESRB, this game contains: Lyrics, Suggestive Themes

Parents shouldn't find DDR offensive at all, but should be prepared to shell out the necessary cash for the essential dance mat controller.

DDR newbies will find Extreme to be a good jumping-off point into the series, since it has a thorough Lesson Mode that introduces players to basic steps and techniques.

Health-conscious gamers can use the Workout Mode to feel good about themselves. Playing a session of DDR is hardly the equivalent of jogging or cross-country skiing, but it's not a bad way for the otherwise sedentary gamer to get some exercise.

Players without dance mats can buy the version of Extreme that comes bundled with an official Konami soft pad, although once they hit the intermediate to advanced stage they'll want to think about upgrading to a Red Octane semi-hard or metal pad (www.redoctane.com).

Deaf and Hard of Hearing gamers will obviously miss out on the soundtrack, which is an important component of any rhythm-action game. It is however more or less possible to follow along based on rhythm alone.