Monday, September 19, 2005

DDR Extreme (PS2)

Mission Mode is fun!

My current primary workout game is Dance Dance Revolution Extreme for the PS/2. After you've passed 45 songs in Game Mode it unlocks "Mission Mode", in which you are given numbered mission assignments to complete.

If, like me, you've been a hardcore DDR player for years and are able to pass 7-footers with ease, this new play mode is really interesting. Because once you get good enough to play the upper end of the difficulty level - songs rated 7 or more on the DDR 10-point scale qualify - your brain works differently from the casual DDR player. You stop having to think about which foot to use when or how to do a particular pattern in time with the music; it's instinctive. You just find your groove and get into it; the connection between arrows on the screen and movements of the feet is hard-coded. Effortless. Playing DDR becomes like walking, eating, or breathing - something you don't have to think about to do reasonably well. It becomes hard not to dance a song correctly.

At which point DDR can get a little boring. Like walking, eating, or breathing, there's not much mental challenge left in it. Sure, there's still the physical challenge at the higher ends of getting in good enough shape not to collapse of exhaustion doing "DDR Max 300" or whatever. And there's still some mental effort in memorizing sequences and working through the trickier parts in Training Mode. But there isn't as much mental challenge as when you were just starting out.

Mission Mode forces you to start thinking again. Because to complete these missions you need to break all those instincts. You might even be required to play badly. Get "N.G." on every Freeze arrow in a song. End a song with the meter below 10%. Score a "C" on a song. Score within a point range that essentially disallows "Perfect" jumps - you have to jump sloppily to pass with such a low score. Avoid the up arrow but hit everything else. Miss all the double jumps.

Here's one that gave me a lot of trouble:
Mission #19: "Step on 1/8 beat unit arrows with the following results: PERFECT, GREAT. Don't step on other arrows."
So, I have to watch arrows go by and ignore them unless they are on the off beat? Yikes!

The missions can be fiendishly difficult and frustrating, but it feels great when you finally pass that one you've been stuck on. Check it out!

IGN review (with pics!)
DDR Extreme Bundle at Amazon

Share this:


Post a Comment

<< Home