DDRMAX Dance Dance Revolution
By: Matt C. on November 10, 2002
With three Dance Dance Revolution games available for the PS One in the U.S., Konami has finally released a DDR game that is specifically designed for the PlayStation 2. The result is nothing short of stunning. DDRMAX Dance Dance Revolution is easily the largest and best DDR game to be released on this side of the Pacific Ocean.
One of the reasons I find DDRMAX to be so impressive is the massive song list. Right from the get go, players will have access to 37 tracks. However, if you practice and manage to get good at the game, you can gain access to over 70 songs -- which is equivalent to over 100 minutes of music. Granted, some songs are forgettable, but many of them are quite good. Some tracks are even exclusive to the North American version!
To be honest, DDRMAX isn't all that much different from the previous PS One Dance Dance Revolution games, but Konami has still managed to add some new gameplay features. One new addition to DDRMAX is the Freeze Arrow, which freezes on-screen arrows so that you have to hold your foot down for multiple beats. In addition to the Freeze Arrow, DDRMAX offers a new nonstop challenge for true DDR veterans, called the Oni mode. In this mode, the game dishes out a nonstop collection of songs in a row without any breaks. The goal is to see how long you can last by hitting steps as accurately as possible. Not only is the Oni mode challenging, but it enables players to unlock hidden songs.
DDRMAX also has an Edit Mode, which allows users to create a custom designed dance routine for every song in the game. Once a custom made dance routine has been completed, you can save it to a memory card and share it with your friends. Editing your own dance steps is a bit intimidating at first, but with some patience, it becomes quite easy and fun.
The Workout Mode is also back in DDRMAX and it does a great job of keeping track of your progress. The game will tell you the total number of calories you have burned and it will even convert your progress into the equivalent of jogging, swimming, or jump roping. Of course, to truly take advantage of the Workout Mode, you'll need a dance pad, but its still great to know its there for people who are looking to get into shape and have fun at the same time. Afterall, doesn't playing DDR sound a whole lot more interesting than jogging on a treadmill everyday?
Lastly, for those of you totally new to the Dance Dance Revolution series, DDRMAX has a Lesson Mode that does a nice job of holding your hand while you learn the game. The Lesson Mode also helps intermediate players learn the good techniques needed to conquer the game's more difficult tracks.
None of the Dance Dance Revolution games have ever been about great visuals, but DDRMAX looks flashier than the PS One versions. Each song has its own unique full-motion music video that plays in the background, the resolution is noticeably sharper, and the game moves at 60 fps. The music videos look nice but they can be distracting at times. Luckily, you can turn them off in the options menu. In the end, the overall appearance of DDRMAX looks basically the same as the previous games.
DDRMAX Dance Dance Revolution isn't a huge improvement in the series, but there's enough new stuff to keep loyal fans very happy. As any DDR fan will tell you, the game is best played with a dance pad, but just using a Dual Shock 2 is still fun. For a suggested retail price of only $39.99 (as of this review), I highly recommend that you purchase DDRMAX if you think you'll enjoy this type of game. And if you have any money left over, be sure to get at least one dance pad.