Gamer Chicks-Episode Six: Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party 2

DanceDanceRevolution_Hottest_Party_2_BoxshotHottest Party 2. What is that? It sounds like something that could be written on a birthday party invitation for a 2-year-old.

But it’s not.

Dance Dance Revolution: Hottest Party 2 was released by Konami on September 16, 2008. The original DDR came out in 1998 as an arcade game in Japan and since then has risen in popularity.

The object of the game is to keep your dance gauge high enough and get a high score while getting some exercise in. This is done by stepping on a mat that has four arrows similar to that of a keyboard. The arrows scroll up from the bottom of the screen to match up with the ones at the top and you have to step on them as they align. Ratings (perfect, great, good and boo) appear on the screen based on how accurately you aligned the arrows. The idea is that you are dancing to the beat of a song using them. Supposedly, the arrows show up on certain notes. When the song ends (or when your song gauge reaches zero and you lose), you get a rating based on how many arrows you hit and when you hit them. The scores go from AAA-E. You rarely get an E if you actually complete the song and on the opposite extreme, AAA, which is a perfect score.

The arcade games had metal dance pads, while the house version has foam “non-slip” dance pads. At least that’s what you’re meant to believe. When you play on the mats without socks on, the mat always ends up at a different place than where you originally put it at the beginning of the game.

When you play this game, wear socks; especially if you’ve never played before. If you don’t, the mat will eventually stick to the bottom of your feet, but you’ll continue playing.

Bad move.

As the game progresses and the levels get harder, your feet will somehow get caught on the mat. Your next move will have you toppling over it.

Needless to say, you won’t get much playing done. You’d lose more weight reading this review.

This game is a sequel to the original DDR: Hottest Party. Most of the DDRs are the same, with one of the only differences being in the songs. The Wii version of this game allows you to use the Wiimote and nunchuck as an additional feature, which they call “hand markers.” Instead of using your feet, you can now use your hands as well. The only problem is, instead of having you do something useful with your hands, the game only asks you to shake the Wiimote and nunchuck when prompted. So, you’re playing a hard song, off balance, flailing your arms in the air, while occasionally shaking the controllers.

Instead of being a smooth dancer, you look like you’re having a seizure.

Another annoying thing about the DDR games in general is the announcer, whose voice is incredibly annoying, but what he actually says may be even more so. It’s so random. He yells lines such as “nobody moves like you,” “dance all night” and “you’re falling behind,” but they’re said at random times. He’d say something positive when you’re losing or winning and vice versa. It’s obvious that he is spewing random sayings when he says “nice choice” when you pick a song that’s the only one available.

He’s about as strategic as a magic 8-ball, which is hardly known for its reliability.

The only time he seems to not randomize his quotes is when you leave the game for longer than a minute and he comes back with such classics as “boring,” “what are you waiting for” and “don’t stop now.”

Aside, from all the negatives of this game, it does have a lot of up sides.

One thing that makes this game great is the wide variety of options available. You can customize nearly everything. There are various options available: such as changing the speed of the songs, turning the gimmicks on/off, ending the song when you hit zero on the dance gauge or waiting the song out and many more. There is even an option to turn off the annoying 8-ball guy.

Phew.

Anything to make him go away — at least you don’t have to mute the game now.

Back to the good stuff: the gimmicks, game modes and arenas. There are five game modes. Groove Arena Mode, Free Play Mode, Workout Mode, Training Mode and Dance’N Defend.

The Groove Arena Mode is the main mode of the game. This is where you have missions that allow you to unlock arenas, characters, songs and attire. Each arena that you unlock has three missions. The third mission in each arena is to go against the boss of the level, or put it simply, to play against the computer and beat its score. These missions include beating songs on 90 per cent or higher on the dance gauge, getting over 60 combos, getting a grade of B or higher, getting less than 15 “boos” in one song, getting over 50 “perfects” in one song and so on.

Free play mode is self explanatory.

The Workout Mode allows you to record how many calories you’re burning and lets you password protect your progress so nobody sees your weight. It would be a shame to forget your password and lose it all.

The Training Mode is interesting. There are two options in this mode. You get to choose between training and dance view. Dance view is just a view of some character dancing around. There are no arrows; just music. You get to change the camera angle, too. Something doesn’t feel right about that one, though.  It might have something to do with the “rhythmic action.”

Dance’N Defend is a new mode that only came out in this version of DDR. This part of the game is difficult. You get to compete against a friend or the computer. When you do well enough, you can attack your opponent, thus blocking them from hitting any arrows or making it harder.

Overall, this game is great and has made some nice advancements when compared to the older ones in the series. It also gives gamers an excuse to get off their lazy butts and get some exercise in without leaving their precious video game consoles.

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