Dancing Stage Megamix
Have you ever sat at your PS2 and thought that you should be doing some exercise? Ever had your parents shouting at you to get your arse off the sofa and do something energetic? Well Konami have solved all your problems! With their third outing in the now infamous Dancing Stage series, Dancing Stage Megamix, you can play on your PS2 and get some exercise, you lazy bums.
The game is surprisingly simple, you have a selection of songs with a set of difficulties ranging from basic to expert and you must watch a whole bunch of arrows move up the screen in time with the music, and press the corresponding arrow on your dance mat at the correct time. This has been exactly the same format since the first outing. The second game introduced us to the workout mode in which you enter your weight and height and it works out how many calories you have burnt off as you dance, and in Megamix this has remained pretty much the same as before. There is also a lesson mode which teaches you in 8 incredibly easy lessons the basics of playing the game. This too has been integral to the game since its conception. What does this game offer in the originality stakes?
The first major difference comes in the choice of songs. There are a whole load of new songs, the majority of which are Konami original tracks, which you will have never heard of and will be ridiculously fast. The other songs it possesses are by famous artists such as Kylie, Elvis, S Club Juniors or S Club 8 or S Club Completely Manufactured in every way, and The Cure.
The rest of the changes are only incredibly slight, such as some karaoke style words popping up along the bottom of the screen in the commercial songs and the new dance move - the freeze step - where you must hold your foot on the pad for a prolonged period of time.
It is good to see that Konami have finally released this series purely on the PS2 as the graphics are now vastly improved. The arrows are now clearly visible, the menu interface is much more colourful and the backgrounds to the songs are much more impressive to watch.
In terms of sound it is as good as the game demands and it is only a shame that they couldn't put in more commercial songs to increase the shelf life of the game.
The game's real forte is in its multiplayer mode however. You can play with two players (unless you have a spare PS2, a spare telly, a spare version of the game, a link cable, and two spare dance mats) head-to-head. This is what this game was designed for; I have not yet met a person who after having one go on it didn't want another go and then another go. It is the most sociable game I know and now whilst two people are dancing away the rest of the group can be trying to sing along (or taking the piss).
This genre is one of my personal favourites but I do have a few qualms about this particular outing. There is relatively little change from the other two games, there are only a few new, interesting tunes to dance to, and at the rate these games are coming out you are going to need to find another £40 every six months to keep up with the number Konami are releasing. This aside it is still a wonderfully original game/genre and it is a real surprise that more companies haven't cottoned on as a bit of real competition is just what Konami needs to pull a corker out of the bag.