Saturday, October 20, 2007

Saturday's column.

‘Dance Revolution’ a hot party

This week we’ve been busting a move, working up a sweat and seeing blinking arrows when we close our eyes.

“Dance Dance Revloution: Hottest Party” for Nintendo’s Wii comes with a dance pad and a bumpin’ soundtrack. There are unlockable songs and great co-play mode. You can play as several different dancers, though my personal favorite is the guy with the rainbow-colored Afro.

Players move their feet to match flashing arrows. But the Wii adds its own unique spin, allowing players to add hand motions to their routines. My two fellow bloggers, John and Katrina, liked the game but did not like incorporating hand movements into the mix. Fortunately, Nintendo gives them an out.

Their take:

Katrina Junkin: “ ‘Hottest Party’ takes me back to 2000 when I owned my first ‘DDR’ game. I loved stomping around on that thing so much and it helped keep my weight stable for a while.

“Sadly, I sold it on a whim in 2002 because I was a poor college student who thought she needed $40 more than she needed her ‘DDR.’

“So when I discovered they were making a game for the Wii, I was really excited.

“My first thought was ‘YES! They will incorporate hand motions!’

“But once we got the game and started playing it, I totally ate those words. I love the traditional game play, but I cannot get down with the hand motions. Half the time I think the controls don’t register the motions because it will give me miss after miss when I know I’m spot on.

“Fortunately, you can turn the hand motions off, as well as having the option to turn off ‘gimmicks’ which makes the game more challenging. Yeah, thanks Konami, but my brain needs a little time to get back into the swing of putting my feet in the right place ... we’ll save the fancy-pants stuff for later."

John Dietrich: “The most important development to ‘Hottest Party’ is a simple option Nintendo gives you: to use the Wii-mote or not to use the Wii-mote.

“As a big fan of the Wii, I’ve seen firsthand that the hardware innovation has improved several genres of games: First-person shooters, action/adventure games and driving games come to mind.

“However, the Wii-mote innovation can only get so close to certain games.

“In a dungeon crawler, for example, simulating the casting of various spells would require roughly 20 or so unique movements, which would get complicated and just can’t be pulled off.

“Witness ‘Marvel: Ultimate Alliance.’ It’s a great game on any other platform, but the Wii can’t handle it.

“The option to keep the game from being ‘Wii-centric’ is a huge plus. It means there’s hope Nintendo will keep flexibility a high priority, especially for games that need it, because sometimes innovation doesn’t really help.

“As for the game ... if you like ‘DDR,’ it’s all the ‘DDR’ you could want at home."

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