Monday, September 04, 2006

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Dance Factory

I’ve always secretly been a huge fan of Konami’s Dance Dance Revolution (Dance Stage in the UK). Whenever I saw the game in an arcade I’d rush over just for a quick go or two much to the amusement of my friends. Not content with just playing the arcade machine I imported the Japanese games and a hard mat which played just like the arcade. But that wasn’t enough either! I wanted more challenges, and more songs and even started purchasing the Euro-pop filled Dance Stage in the UK just for another fix.

For those Dance Stage addicts like me Codemasters has come up with a simple solution. They’ve taken the existing formula from Konami, added some new features, and even added the ability to import your own songs! Yes now you can dance to anything from Metallica to Lily Allen. All you need is a CD and the game will do all the hard work adding steps to the music and matching them to the beat.

In case you’ve never played a dancing game before but have always been curious the basic premise is to step to the beat in an up, down, left or right direction. You follow small arrows on the screen and using the dance mat provided attempt to keep in time to the music. Dance Factory keeps things simple by only sticking with 4 directions but other games in the past have had 8 directions and even hand movements to do as well. Like Buzz, Singstar or EyeToy? Then this should be next on your list.

As you can see in the above screenshot there is one small change to the Dance Stage formula. The up and down arrows have been reversed. It’s not a huge problem and casual fans probably won’t even notice but if you’ve mastered Dance Stage this little issue could destroy your hard earned reputation the first time you try the game out around your mates. Be sure to practice first…

In terms of adding music all you’ll need to do is pop in a CD, pick the songs you want and then wait for the game to import them. It takes around a minute a song but there’s a little mini game to keep you distracted while you wait. Naturally if you’re planning a party be sure to import the songs first or be prepared to have some nibbles on standby as it’s not polite to keep dance fans waiting.

To encourage you to add more songs and learn them to death you’ll earn ‘cash’ depending on how well you do. This can then be spent on new backdrops to dance to and creatures that dance along to the music as you play. These creatures can be dressed up with guitars, sunglasses and hats and each take on a variety of different shapes and sizes. It’s a cute little feature and a great bonus for kids who are new to the dance genre.

Once you’re all set up and ready to go the game is great fun, It only comes with 5 songs to start you off so if all you own is Mr Blobby then you might want to give the game a miss. As for everyone else the only limit is the size of your CD collection and the soles of your feet.

For more on the game visit Codemasters Official Site here

To see prices for Dance Factory at Amazon click here

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