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The Jungle Book: Rhythm 'n Groove
Review By:  Jared Black
Developer:  Disney Interactive
Publisher:  Ubi Soft
# of Players:  1-2
Genre:  Rhythm
ESRB:  Everyone
Online:  No
Accessories:  Memory Card
Date Posted:  4-29-03

 

Generally when a game is released for only $19.99, the consumer shouldn't expect to get a whole lot.  However, most games released at that price point also tend to be fully worth that $19.99.  That's the case here.  Walt Disney's The Jungle Book Rhythm n' Groove isn't the greatest dance game on the market today, but it's well worth the budget price for most Disney and/or dance fans.

 

 

The Jungle Book is essentially a DDR-clone through and through, so anyone's who has paid attention to the industry over the last five years should know that that means.  Two sets of arrows fall in time with the music, and the player has to time their button presses (or pad presses if using a dance pad) as the arrow lines up in the circle.  The face buttons act as the right-side directional buttons, with the normal d-pad handling that duty on the left-hand side.  This is wrapped up in the storyline from the original Jungle Book movie, with cutscenes mixed in between each gameplay session.

 

There are a few gameplay additions that aren't always present in these games, although none of them are terribly innovative.  Playing well can cause a combo to appear on screen, and if that combination of arrow presses is accomplished in between the normal button presses than one of several different types of combos will be activated.  These include fire walls (kill all incoming arrows), 2x point bonuses, and various challenges (basically a weird series of button presses) that the player can overcome.

 

Naturally these games are best played with a dance pad and an opponent, and Disney didn't neglect to include a good two-player mode.  Included is a Power-Up mode (earn a power-up with a well-timed series of button presses, which is unleashed on your opponent) and Dance Marathon.  Dance Marathon is your basic versus mode (high score wins), although thrown into this is a random dance sprint that judges whom is able to press/step on the buttons the fastest.  It also includes a nifty karaoke mode, where the player can simply sit back and sing along with the songs.

 

A DDR-clone will obviously play well, but it's this game's extras that keep it from being more than "above average".  First, there are a lackluster total of 9 songs (stages) in the single-player mode.  9 songs!  Granted these are awesome songs all from the first movie, but that's still a small number compared to almost every other dance game on the market today.  There's also one song by the Mambo #5 (Lou Bega) guy playable as a separate mini-game, with the reward being…the video of that song.  Sigh.

 

Graphically, it's heritage as a PSone port is pretty obvious.  Stages are almost completely static and uninteresting.  Character models look a lot like their movie counterparts, but they're still blocky in comparison to most other PS2 titles.  The cutscenes are solid though, with a nice polished look and plenty of vibrant color.

 

The music's top-notch, and that holds true for the voice acting as well.  Most of the original cast provided the voices for this game, and the obvious replacements do a good job as well of recapturing the original voice's atmosphere.  Sound effects are virtually non-existant however, save for a few blips and blops.

HIGHS:

  • Excellent soundtrack from one of the best Disney movies ever.
  • Likable cast of characters.
  • Decent party game as long as you have the dance pads.

LOWS:

  • Way too short, with only 9 stages in single-player mode.
  • The graphics are barely better than the PSX original, although the cutscenes are nice.
  • Too easy for most gamers on all but the highest difficulty setting.
  • The box indicates that it takes 120MB of memory card space, when it obviously should be 120kb.  Another sign of an obviously rushed PSone port.

FINAL VERDICT:

If you love The Jungle Book or DDR-style action, you can't go wrong with this game.  Just make sure you have a dance pad and some friends that aren't embarrassed to play a Disney game.  If you're a parent who's always complaining about Little Johnny playing is PS2 too much, here's a great way to get him to exercise (and not mind it!) while doing so.

Overall Score: 6.4

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