Review By: Siou Choy
and bad news for dance game aficionados: the good news is that
in Japan, there appears to be an endless number of Dance
Dance Revolution games in current release. The bad news is
that the 95% of the world that doesn't live in Japan is
outta luck, leaving fans with the meager option of either
forgetting about it and wishing they lived in the land of the
rising sun, or paying exorbitantly high import prices for games
whose text they'll never begin to understand. Worse, the latter
option additionally requires gamers to have a special grey
market "mod chip" soldered in to their already worn
Playstation. The third option, generally of the "don't hold
your breath" variety, is to sit around idly waiting for the
developer, in this case Konami, to bring the games over to our
shores. Well, ok, all you table scrap fans, here's your helping
for the night: Dance Dance Revolution Disney Mix has
concept behind DDR Disney is the same as any other DDR game: the
gamer has to step on the correct arrows at the exact time that
they reach the Step Zone located at the top of the screen (which
is generally, but not infallibly, on the beat or some
subdivision thereof). The more "correct" steps you
make, and the closer to 100% on par with the game's metronomic
timekeeping, the higher your score (which ranges from
"good" for just off the beat to "perfect"
for right in sync). Of course, if you're too far off, or make a
few too many mistakes, the game ends. The sequences of arrows
can get extremely fast and crazy, depending on the song and
generally how nasty the developers felt like being at any given
time (keeping up with the standard "normal" mode, at
least in the original DDR, can be a far more daunting task than
you'd ever anticipate).
you have all the Disney "favorites", generally acting
as dance DJs or bouncing around in cars, but occasionally taking
to the floor themselves. So far, so what. Actually, I'm being
generous saying "all" the "favorites", since
the actual number of Disney characters in the game is fairly
limited. Let's put it this way: with only 20 songs (some of
which are the exact same song "remixed"), every
character manages to appear for more than one song. And all you
prepubescent riot grrrls in training take note: there is not one
single female character to be found in DDR Disney.
get to the big issue, here; the one everyone's been waiting
breathlessly to hear about: the song list. And before you jump
to the logical conclusions, let me have the pleasure of
informing you: you might be surprised. As one might expect,
about half the songs are crappy dance versions of grueling
"classic" Disney tunes such as "zipadeedoodah"
and "chim-chim-cher-ee", which might seem cool to the
undiscriminating 4 year old, but remain as grating as
fingernails on a chalkboard to the rest of us. Surprisingly,
however, most of the remaining cuts are "real"
sounding enough (if still somehow "off", like the
almost-techno of "fire" or "night of fire" -
hmm, notice a trend here?) to get older players through the game
without tossing their cookies. Admittedly, there is more than a
fair share of that omnipresent sense of fakeness and pandering
traditionally accompanying entertainment aimed at children (at
least since the mid to late 70s); but if you're dreadfully
anticipating endless 128-bpm rehashes of "it's a small
world" and the like, you will be pleasantly surprised to
find that is, generally, not the case (though you're right,
there IS a "eurobeat" version of said teeth-grinder).
That said, there are several smarmy euro-styled vocals to a
number of the cuts, and a truly horrible remake of "the
has 5 modes of play: Main Game, Free Selection, Dance Magic,
Training Mode, and Lesson Mode. In the Main Game and Free
Selection modes, you can have the further option of playing in
One Player mode, Couple mode, or (for the daring) Double mode.
One Player mode and Couple mode should be obvious, but Double
mode refers to the fact that the intrepid gamer will make use of
both mats! If you had trouble keeping up with one controller,
just picture playing the game with two!
mode should be equally obvious: you get to practice moving to
songs without having to worry about the game ending early for
mistakes. Unlike the parent DDR, DDR Disney has an
"Assist" option which helps you learn timing with the
aid of a hand clap or metronome. You can also choose which part
of the song you'd like to practice, so if you're a great starter
but have trouble finishing, you can isolate problem areas in
who are new to DDR games or have two left feet, Lesson Mode is
of extreme importance. Here you can learn how to move your feet
and get a handle on tricks that longtime DDR fans already know.
A tutorial will guide you first through the basics, then into
more advanced moves. There are 3 lessons, with 8 sections in
each, so you can really take it slow and easy if you like.
A few major
changes from your well-worn copy of the standard DDR:
- You may
see the word "boo" pass by, but you lose the sneering
yuppie attacking your every misstep. In fact, the
"boo" has become an additional score, alongside the
standard "perfect/great/good/miss" - unbelievably,
ranking above the miss!
"free selection" mode, you seem to have unlimited
continues - rather than playing the standard 3 song average, the
game just keeps on going until you decide to stop dancing. It is
only in "main" mode that you will get "kicked
out" for poor performance. Also in regard to getting kicked
out, there is a bit of an issue in that you get kicked all the
way out of the game (to the point of seeing the "Disney
Interactive" logo), not merely to the selection menu!
mode has been retitled as "dance magic", and offers a
somewhat mean caveat: if you get enough combos to fill the combo
gauge, the unlucky second player gets nailed with a vastly sped
up and correspondingly difficult sequence of arrow/steps.
sneering mix of fake-sounding, sarcastic "compliments"
and insults of the parent game has been replaced with
exclusively positive messages. Even when you get kicked out in
main mode for poor performance, you are told things like
"you're very close! I'm sure you'll get it next time!"
or "You've not shown your best dancing yet - keep it
up!" My personal favorite was a smarmy sounding, overly
melodramatic "Oh, no! Please don't leave! Please try
- Grading is
significantly easier. What would have earned you
an "E" in the parent game can get you a
"AAA" score here.
workout mode of the standard DDR game ("diet" mode
here) has become a permanent part of the game. Rather than
setting and working towards a given goal, you are told
automatically, in whatever mode you choose, the calories you
(theoretically) burned at the end of each song. Additionally,
you are given an equivalent in situps, running, swimming, stair
climbing, jogging, or jump rope. The base setting for this
function is random: in other words, you won't see your
equivalent in swimming each time. You can set it to do
this, if desired, in the option menu under "sports
type". However, much like the scoring, the calorie meter is
way off kilter from reality...for adults, anyway. To be
generous, it seems to be set to a child's higher, less demanding
metabolism. It is not at all uncommon to see
"workouts" of 70 calories per song (with an
equivalency of running something like 400+ yards)...and this for
barely moving around the dance pads!
there seems to be an overreliance on the X button (left side)
rather than the O button (right side) to get into menus and make
selections. While the standard DDR allowed you to use either,
most people (myself included) are inclined to use the O button
(particularly as it is located below the "start"
button). DDR Disney, for whatever reason, relies solely on the X
button, which can be somewhat disorienting to the average DDR
- It should
be noted that among the barrage of arrows and scoring that flash
by in the course of any given song, everyone's favorite
corporate children's monopoly will subliminally flash the word
"Disney" at random intervals (along with the names of
the characters, though this somewhat less than the plug of their
corporate logo). Kids, can you say "mind f**k
the lame characters and an overabundance of cheesy songs,
the game remains surprisingly fun and addictive, even for
those past their puberty
- You no
longer have to embarrass yourself in the arcades - instead,
you can do it at home with your loved ones watching
- A great
way to exercise without it feeling like you're exercising
- Not enough
songs. And let's face it, people. Disney sucks. Bad, syrupy
songs; absurdly fluid, rococo animation, and lame characters.
How the hell did they stay in business all these years?
are too distracting. Cheap marketing takes precedence over
gameplay once again...
line is this: any Dance Dance Revolution game is loads of fun,
and DDR Disney Mix is no exception. But let's be honest here.
Despite the surprise factor (did you really expect to like it?
But you will!), it's really for the kids. There are fewer songs
than the parent game, and beyond that, most of them are Disney
"classics" that may very well force you into
taking your own life. I mean, honestly, tell me you can actually
sit through "It's A Small World", even just for the
length of the ride?). That being said, the important thing here
is that it's a DDR game. And if you don't want to
add a mod chip to your Playstation but still want to have more
than one DDR game in your collection, DDR Disney Mix
should satisfy your jones until Konami sends over something
better (or hell freezes over, whichever comes first).