Konami are hoping that you will dance to the beat of the music on your Xbox with the latest in Konami's series, Dancing Stage Unleashed.
If you are after a dancing game with tunes you'll recognise (even if only because you heard them in a mini-cab on holiday) you can't go wrong with this. Songs available in the original package include Blondie's Heart of Glass and Call Me, Size of a Cow by The Wonderstuff, Up the Bracket, and All My Best Friends are Metalheads by the Libertines and Less than Jake, as well as Saturn 5 by the Inspiral Carpets. There are more to download from the European section of Xbox live.
Extra features, in addition to the ability to download new music (thank god) and new dance steps (the wife will be pleased) include virtual competition- thanks to the magic of Xbox live, you can enjoy a dance off against other users online and then register your performance on the internet league table.
If the joy of music and dance isn't enough for you, you can follow the 'Challenges' while you dance and keep fit, watching the calorie counter measure your path to glory. No doubt this will be popular with the kids and we found that its ideal for parties, a bit of exercise or drunken sessions after the pub, although make sure you clear the living room of breakables first.
Response times from the Thrustmaster Dance Mat (sold separately) were great when used with DSU. Beware though, that without a mat, Dance Stage Unleashed is reduced to a dull button pressing routine. Where PaRappa the Rapper was such a hit on the Playstation, DSU does not follow in its footsteps. The screens on DSU lack the humour and originality of PaRappa. Playing along via joypad is tedious to say the least. What keeps this game afloat is the music- and the option to download more.
There are a few dancing games to choose from on the Xbox and this fares pretty well against the competition. You won't find anything on the other consoles that aren't included here however. The challenges help stem the longevity a little, but best advice is to pick the game with the tunes that take your fancy- this has something for all ages. All in all, it's not a genre for everyone, but Dancing Stage Unleashed is one of the stronger contenders in its class.
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