Price: $2.99 used at Gamestop
Memory for Game Saves: 227 KB
Peripherals required: N/A
Warning: people who get epileptic seizures from flashing lights should NOT play this game!!!
Let the record stand that I was addicted to DDR back in 2002, when one of my friends imported a copy of DDR 3rd mix Korean v1. I still have my launch copy of DDR Konamix, DDRMAX2, and ITG. And I love 'em all. Music games usually stick very well with me. I've been looking at this game for some time, long before I started Treasure Bin. Treasure Bin just gave me an excuse to finally buy it. for a $3.00 game, this one is rather interesting.
A little bit of online research revealed that the game was originally released in Japan early in the PS2's lifetime, back when the Music Game craze was in full swing there. It didn't come stateside until 2002, when Mastiff Games picked it up. Mastiff had a cult hit track record with their work in bringing the Street Fighter EX series stateside. (Thanks to Gamespot for the info)
Sitting down with the game for the first time, I went straight to the tutorial. Believe me, it went through the basics to a D. The D-pad, of course. (okay, so it was a bad joke. get over it.) It shows you how to control the character, to the basics of scoring points in this game. No matter what happens, PLAY EVERY TUTORIAL!!! It helps so much in the long run.
The Arcade mode offers 1- and 2-player modes, with co-operative and competitive modes available for 2 players. The entire premise of the gameplay is simple: as your little character moves around the rectangular playing area, circles will appear onscreen with another circle moving towards the edge of the outer circle. When the two touch, press the square button to activate the note. It's simple at first, yet scales into insanely difficult combinations as you progress. I reached three stars out of 6 (level of difficulty) within a week. I managed to wrangle a friend into trying the game co-operative with me, and both of us agreed that the game is good fun.
For a music game, the songs can make or break a game. "Spider Control 16th" was one such song that I fell in love with right away, despite it being relatively low level. There's a lot of original works in this game, all of it filling in various subgenres of electronic. They tell you the style of song when you start the level, and let me tell you. I may listen to a fair amount of electronic music, and even I've never heard of some of these genres. All of the Namco songs are trance, house, and drum-'n-bass remixes of their 8-bit originals. Much of the music is electronic, yet the songs feel right at home with the Special Effects displayed on screen. It feels kinda like a miniature rave.
The Verdict: I think it's fair to say that this game is definitely not for everyone. Very few of the songs are going to be recognizable by most people. Only the most hardcore nerd would have any chance at recognizing every song in this game. If you're looking for mainstream pop/rock, this game is definitely not it. On the flipside, If you enjoy branching out into music you've never heard before, you just might like this game. The beats are catchy, the tunes will permeate your brain, and the $2.99 price point would make this a good game to try out and experiment with. It's also a pretty good party game, too.
Parent's notes: This game is rated E, so there's little to complain about in this game. There's a lot of flashing colorful lights that beg for a seizure attack if the child is susceptible to them. The lyrics are few and far between, if at all. I've found no objectionable language in my testing. I wouldn't recommend this to really young children, as there's a bit of reading in the tutorial section and setup, but children age 7-8 and up should be able to pick this game up really quickly. This game gets a thumbs-up from me.