Dance Dance Revolution Extreme
Dance Dance Revolution Extreme takes the foot-stomping dance of its predecessors and adds hand movement to the mix, creating an interesting new game that somehow fails to fully utilize the upper half of the body. The dance elements of this latest DDR are sure to please, with over 65 songs and more than 100 minutes of dance music and moves. The songs are fun to dance to and the challenge can really be pumped up by increasing the difficulty settings. But if you were expecting a complete overhaul of the game's engine, forcing players to use their entire body to dance to the rhythm, you're going to be disappointed.
The game still includes the basics, including a mission, endless, training and lesson modes which let you take on songs one at a time or in sets. The new feature is the party mode where you can play a collection of mini games with or without an EyeToy. The two non-EyeToy mini games are pretty pedestrian, pun intended. In Hyper Dash you have to out run your opponent, a good exercise game if you are using the foot pad, and in the other you have to feed digital creatures by mashing or stepping on the correct food button for a given animal.
The EyeToy games are where the real innovation in this latest DDR is. There are five mini-games included, most of which are exceptionally fun and almost worth the price of admission. Clean the Screen is a dance mode where you have to continually wipe the screen clean in order to be able to see the dance steps. Coconut Panic is a game that has you shaking trees with your feet and then swatting at falling coconuts with your hands. Magic Ball is probably one of the best in the lot. It's basically a complex game of break-out where you use your hands to guide a steel ball into breakable bricks. It's quite fun and could have easily been a great addition to EyeToy Play.
The two biggest disappointments in the mini-games and actually the whole game are Watch Me Dance and Hands and Feet. Watch me Dance simply lets you see yourself dancing on tv while you play the game, the problem is you typically are concentrating too hard on steps to watch the image and for some unfathomable reason Konami decided to not make it possible to play back the performance. That would have been a great feature and could have helped push the game from Fans Only to Recommended Buy. The other thing that would have made this game a definite keeper is if Konami had done more with the Hands and Feet game. This is the mode most probably expected when they bought the game. In it you have to follow the regular dance steps plus wave your hands over fixed spots, one in the top right and one in the top left, to the beat. While this is fun, it would have been much more fun if there were more fixed spots, perhaps a circle of them or moving spots for your hands ' something that forced you to really use your hands as much as you use your feet.
I guess what I was expecting was DDR meets EyeToy Groove, a fantastic dance game in its own right. But what I got was DDR with the EyeToy thrown in as an afterthought. It's still worth a try if you're a DDR fan or have an EyeToy and want to try something a little different, but Dance Dance Revolution Extreme just doesn't live up to its name.