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Dancing with the Stars - the game

Today I picked up Dancing with the Stars for the PS2.

I was getting a little tired of Dance Dance Revolution (DDR), as I've hit a plateau, which means that I can't seem to unlock new songs.

Dancing with the Stars is a bit like DDR. I'm using my DDR mat with it, although there are some minor problems with that setup (more later). I played for almost 2 hours, as the game kept me entertained while helping me work up a sweat. I just played on single-player mode, as this lets me unlock songs to play in the other modes. Also, because I like to feel that I'm making progress.

When the game starts, 2 couple are unlocked, and the rest are locked. Each couple has their own set of four songs and dances. When you play, it's as if you're part of Dancing with the Stars (at least to someone who only watches occasionally). The announcer introduces the couple, you do the dance, the judges make comments, the judges show their ratings, and then you see a breakdown of how you performed on different aspects. If you receive 20 points or more, you can continue. When you succeed on the fourth song/dance, you receive a trophy, and another couple is unlocked.

Dancing is somewhat similar to DDR. However, instead of having arrows coming down from the top, arrows come from the left and right. The intention is for you to use the indicated foot to tap on the appropriate arrow. Sometimes it's best to use the indicated foot (or the next arrow will be super-challenging), but sometimes it's easier to ignore the indicated feet (like when the same foot is indicated for three different arrows when the character is turning).

On amateur mode (how I've been playing, to start), the footwork is simpler than DDR, but most of the songs are high-energy. I can complete most of the dance routines, and only have problems with the slower dance routines.

Dancing with the Stars is intended to be used with it's own dance mat, but can be used with a DDR mat with one small issue. The problem is that Dancing with the Stars includes shapes in 4 corners, and uses the triangle to back out (not for canceling or quitting, but for backing out of the current mode or out of options). From what I've seen, you can play through a mode with no problems on the DDR mat, as you only need to step on Star, the arrows, or X. When you complete a dance routine, a dialog box has selections to continue (on success), retry, or quit, and the following screens give you yes or no choices. However, to get out of the current mode, you must tap the triangle. I'm not sure if having a controller plugged in to player 2 would help. When I got stuck in Options, I reset the box. Fortunately, you can save whenever you successfully complete a set of dance routines, so the lack of the triangle on the DDR pad seems like a minor annoyance.
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