Dancing Stage Megamix - PS2 review

4 out of 5
£35

For

Aerobic, healthy

Against

Superseded; Best enjoyed at drunken parties

There has been increasing talk about how sedentary lifestyles are leading to obesity and so-and-so and, well ultimately, death. It seems that in the view of the social commentator, computer games are slowly killing our children and polluting their minds, when they should be in the street playing with a wooden hoop and an old stick ready for the same complaining adults to mow them down in their cars.

In the ultimate twist of irony, Dancing Stage Megamix gives us a chance to work up a sweat in beautiful synchronization with the 'source of all evil' console. It isn't the first of its kind, and the genre of dancing computer games has been a great hit in the arcades across the world.

Basically, you have to watch the screen and move in time with the direction arrows as they appear - they scroll up from the bottom so you can see what is coming. At the right time you do what it says - left arrow, you step left, right arrow, you step right. The centre of the mat is basically a neutral area, where you start, then you can move freely as needed.

The directions, or dance steps, usually fit in time with the music - so if you are dancing to one of the known tracks (Kylie or SClub8 for example) it's slightly easier than one of the electric Europop tracks, which seem totally random. There are a number of different levels, for really easy, to totally impossible. The ultimate aim is to get as many points as you can by pulling off all the moves with prefect timing.

The levels mean that you can really get a sweat on. On the lowest level, you are ok, probably won't break a sweat, but as you speed up, it turns from game to endurance workout. This was also in the developers mind as the game comes with a workout mode alongside the game - you can set in your age and weight, and it will tell you the number of calories you have burnt off - ideal for a winter workout at home.

Like many games, the more you play, the more happens, so as you play the game, more options and songs become available. If you don't have the dancemat, then don't despair - playing on a controller is equally fun. You can play with yourself in solo mode, against a friend in versus mode, or together as a team. Versus mode is the best as ultimately someone wins, and someone loses!

Verdict

Modern pop tracks make it ideal for children, although the 6 popular songs will probably age quite quickly. But there is still plenty of potential for many different age groups, from the young, to the young at heart to enjoy this in a party environment. I can easily imagine that, such as classic games like Twister, adults will take to it after a few drinks.

In terms of offering more than previous versions or competitors, I can't really say that it does. The inclusion of the Top 10 hits mean that this game may well age, and soon (knowing the pop world) the songs will no longer be cool. Strange then that they include 'Lovecats' by The Cure...