VGF.Net - Video Gamers First Network
   Navigation menu
New Page 1
Release List



The Budget Gamer's Repair Kit
-Things To Do While Waiting for Final Fantasy XI to Install
-Virtual Reality or Art?
(More Specials)

Harvest Moon: Back to Nature
-Wheel of Fortune
(More PS2 Reviews)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
-Mace Griffin Bounty Hunter
-Final Fantasy X-2
(More Previews)

Leisure Suit Larry Announced
-New Greatest Hits
-Unlimited SaGa FFX-2 Prologue Bonus
-XIII Multiplayer Details
-Acclaim Releases XGRA
-Sammy Ships Lethal Skies II
-SNK Announces King of Fighters Pack
-Chris Vrenna Scores Area 51
-PS2 Shipments Hit 60 Million
-Grand Theft Auto "Double Pack" Announced
-Soul Calibur II Ships
-New PS2 Bundle
-Soul Calibur PS2 Bonuses
-Atari Announces DBZ: Budokai 2
-Midway Announces NARC
-Midway Announces Area 51
-Lethal Skies II Dated
-Sony Announces PSX
(More News)

Message Boards | Free Email | | Hosting/Get Affiliated  
Ad Info


Spice World

Review By: Siou Choy

Developer: Psygnosis
Publisher: Sony
# of Players: 1
Genre: Music/Dance
ESRB: Everyone
Date Posted: 12-12-00

It seems society never ceases to move forward. The relentless march of industrialization and progress has added a subtle change to the old complaint (never more true than the present) that "just about anyone can cut a record these days". With the advent of method acting and the fall of the star system, oh, so many moons ago, that old chestnut invaded Hollywood, resulting in the addendum that "just about anyone can make a movie these days" (more popularly known as the "15 minutes of fame" rule). Now, in these more technologically savvy times, that ancient hydra has gained a third head, so to speak: because "these days", it seems that just about anyone can have their own video game. Case in point, the Spice Girls. Released in 1998, Spice World lets you control the Spice Girls (now, now, be nice), for the enviable and world-shaking purpose of making a music video (gasp! really? WOW.). Yes, the good people at Psygnosis have seen fit to take their bite of the apple that is that hoary staple of capitalist societies: the popular icon memorabilia cash-in. While every prepubescent female this side of Timbuktu almost definitely owned a copy at some point, and a presumably large number of gay males still do own a copy of this monument to cheesy self indulgence and outmoded kitsch, the public at large snorts in derision at the sight of a used copy of Spice World cluttering the racks of their favorite gaming retailer. And this is a shame. Because it wasn't all that long ago, that some unknown and unadmittedly large majority of those same people (you know who you are, though you'd never admit it today) were snapping up records, posters, videos, books, dolls, magazines, commercials, newsbites, etc. etc. ad nausaem of Britain's quirky, somewhat irritating semi-talents of the moment, running around with their friends spouting bad cockney accents while they offered to their immediate surroundings (most likely at an absurdly high decibel level) that powerful and incisive feminist mantra: "Girl Pow-a!". In the interest of defending these now- closet masses of Spice Girls fans, and the innate dignity of the good people at Psygnosis, I think it's high time someone took a second look at the Spice World game for Playstation.

Your first Herculean task in the game is to actually choose a Spice Girl. I know, I know, it's hard, but look, you're not marrying one. Thankfully, this was made when they were still popular, so you can choose from any of the original five members; Scary, Ginger, Baby, Posh, and Sporty are all there waiting to help you make your own personalized video masterpiece.

That having been accomplished, the fun can at last begin. There are several steps to making a video in Spice World. In short, you will begin your arduous journey in the Mixing Room, advance from there to Dance Practice, then onward to the ever popular "Dance Record", finally finishing up in the Television Studio, to record your finished and ever-so-polished performance. Well, come on, it's the Spice Girls. Your efforts will have to be at least as good, if not better than theirs.

First, we go to the Mixing Room, where some scrubby bozo in a beanie cap (who looks suspiciously like a garbage man, but they assure us is "the DJ"), trying desperately to sound "cool" to the preteen target audience of the game, floats around aimlessly while you choose from some rather limited samples of the song (of which there is, once again, a rather limited selection: you get to choose from 5 typically poignant and moving Spice Girls compositions, namely "Wannabe", "Move Over", "Who Do You Think You Are", "Spice Up Your Life", and "Say You'll Be There") for your "final mix", which is done by jumping back and forth on a series of 3D squares. Unfortunately, the number of samples you get per song appears to be a mysterious and random variable - I counted 13 on one song, and 17 on another, but you're never actually told how many sample slots you'll have to fill, so no actual forethought or planning gets in the way of making your Spice Girls masterpiece...which isn't a whole lot different from the actual recordings, come to think of it. Another little creative conundrum is presented by the fact that in no way can any reasonably "complete" song be made from these samples, since the parts chosen are short and somewhat random. You get to choose an order to put it together in (the funniest way to do it is to pick the most irritating part and just keep looping it, while the girls do their best to dance to this noise pollution in the foreground). The best thing about this part of the game is that they only bothered to animate the DJ's head and hands, which float over and around your chosen Spice Girl, making it appear that he's trying to poke, tickle, or molest her in some way while she does her thing (which adds a very strange and slightly disturbing frisson to the game).

Once you've finished mixing the song, you have to travel on to Dance Practice (something the Spice Girls could have used a little of in the real world). There, some slick 1970s disco pimp criticizes you while you catch Saturday night fever and learn to boogie by matching a succession of floating buttons that bounce past you (along the lines of Bust a Groove) in a hypnotic Chips-era nightclub setting (probably intended to hypnotize the unwary gamer into actually liking the Spice Girls). I particularly enjoyed the absurdly large afro on the dance coach, who comes off more than a little reminiscent, in appearance and demeanor, of the "Disco King" from SCE's Legend of Legaia (or Dwayne Wayne from What's Happening, take your pick).

After you've mastered Dance Practice (yeah, like the Spice Girls ever did), you can then proceed to "Dance Record". This is where you get to choose "dance moves" for each Spice Girl to the accompaniment of the "song" that you put together back in the Mixing Room (see, it all comes together eventually!). My favorite is the "hip wiggle" (X, Circle, X, Square), where the Spice Girl in question proceeds to first slap her ass, and then grab her crotch Michael Jackson style (Sporty is particularly foul during this maneuver). Speaking of high-class entertainment, if you leave the Spice Girl of your choice on the globe for a few seconds without choosing any of the options, you get to see her exhibit some very ladylike behavior. My personal favorite is Ginger, who takes a moment to reflect on the meaning of life by rather coarsely adjusting her breasts (which she does when left to her own devices for any length of time). Getting back to the dance moves, it should be noted that the entire process needs to be repeated for each of the 5 Spice Girls, regardless of which one you chose at the beginning of the game; the only difference being that she will take center stage from here on out. The good news is, you do have a choice here: as you finish choosing the dance moves for one girl, you can either copy them to the next (and have everyone dance in sync) or mix it up so that in the end product, each one will appear to be dancing to a completely different song (just like the real Spice Girls).

Finally, you get to visit the Television Studio to shoot the "video", which is, perhaps unsurprisingly, a rather boring and static shoot of Britain's biggest bimbos on stage, with no plot, additional animation, or cutaways. You do, however, get to choose from some particularly horrible camera angles, which essentially consist of the ever popular high overhead, far left, far right, distant center, and some extremely sharp, individually focused zooms in and out on the Spice Girl/s of your choice. Flipping between such wildly divergent camera angles, without the benefit of any sort of smooth transitions and with any semblance of competency is nigh impossible, and by the time you've been through this much of the game, the "song" you slapped together earlier on a whim may very well begin to crawl inside your brain for the evening and drive you starkers, as the British would say.

Once you have "recorded" this final step, this is, believe it or not, the end of the game. As an added bonus, there are some particularly grating and pointless interview questions, enticingly hidden beneath the mysterious heading of the final option, "spice network". The operative word here (unless you're very brave or very, very drunk) is to resist the temptation.

In the grand scheme of things, toy tie-ins and celebrity vehicles of various sorts inevitably amount to little, and find themselves quickly relegated to the dustbin of history, alongside the most eagerly forgotten of pop-culture detritus; and this game is no exception. Looked at in the proper light, it can provide a half-hour or so of camp chic and the perverted sense of amusement one feels when dealing with something so blatantly poor in design, haphazardly slapped together and rushed to the market of its day in a belated attempt to cash in the ephemeral celebrity of its subject; inextricably linked to a short lived, and now long faded cultural "phenomenon". And taken in that light, with tongue planted firmly in cheek, it can even be seen as, in a sense, "fun". But if you're looking for an evening of cheesy entertainment, you'd be better served by renting their underrated, similarly monikered cult classic of a film (which actually was enjoyable, in its own bizarre right), rather than wasting your time on such an absurd, pointless, and in all honesty, poorly done game.


It's the Spice Girls. Better, it's the "real" Spice Girls, because Ginger (formerly known as "Sexy") Spice is still (very) present. Addictive fun when taken in the proper light, more than you'd be willing to admit in public (but then, nobody actually admits to having LIKED the Spice Girls in the first place, now, do they?). Some really absurd incidental characters (the DJ, the dance instructor) make the game even goofier than it would have been on its own merits. It may not be Bust a Groove or Space Channel 5, but it's definitely a colorful conversation piece. After all, what party guest can resist the sight of a Spice Girls game laying tantalizingly near your Playstation?


It's the Spice Girls. To be generous, there's only so much of them you can take at one sitting. Since you're only given brief samples from the songs in the Mixing Room, no semblance of a complete song can be made. The cameras in the Television Studio take a bit of getting used to, to say the least. And far more than in real life, some of those animated Spice Girls look like they gotten beaten, badly, with the ugly stick (check out Sporty, for proof).


Spice World is a very silly game, but that is in fact part of its charm, and one of its best assets. The game effectively captures the look and feel of the Spice Girls (what that means to you, is your business). While by no means a masterpiece, within the already limited confines of the dance game, it holds a certain perverted appeal. But let's face it, this is 100% a star vehicle, and unless you are a fan of the Spice Girls, or (as is more likely) just find this sort of castaway crap amusing, there really isn't any point. If the same game came out with bland, generic "original" characters in the starring role, its inherent inefficacy would come to the fore, and we wouldn't even be discussing it here, or anywhere else. It would have come and gone without notice, garnering a lot of returns from its few disappointed purchasers and possible bankruptcy for any company foolish enough to have put to market a game so lacking in any intrinsic value.

Overall Score: 2.0 
(Camp Value: 9.5)
Cheat Codes
Nintendo Gamers First
PC Gamers First
Xbox Gamers First


1999-2005 All Rights Reserved. All content contained herein is property of VGF, Inc. VGF is not affiliated with any video game companies. Logos, trademarks, names, images, etc. are property of their respective companies. More legal info. Privacy Statement

Cooler than IGN.