Dance Dance Revolution Disney Mix

   For North American music gamers, the wait was finally over: Konami had released Dance Dance Revolution upon the North American market, albeit very hesitantly. After seeing the initial press run be snatched up instantly (only to be sold on eBay for twice the retail cost), the company decided that DDR in North America might not be such a bad thing, and slowly filtered it into the mainstream market. Between the positive fan response and the simple fact that there was so much DDR material available in Japan, it was only a matter of time before Konami made available another DDR title for the U.S. and Canada. However, when the announcement of the new title came, many were shocked at the route Konami had taken: Dance Dance Revolution Disney Mix would be the next release in the series.

 Who is DJing?  OH MY GOD!  Duck is DJing!  How can that be!?

   Disney Mix should not be mistaken for the simplistic Nintendo 64 Disney DDR game, Dance Dance Revolution: Disney's Dancing World Museum. That title merely featured the original versions of various Disney songs. The PlayStation Disney Mix, however, features full dance remixes of said tunes, resulting in such tracks as "It's a Small World (Ducking HARDCORE Mix)" and "Mickey Mouse March (Eurobeat Version)." A number of non-Disney tracks are also featured; reportedly due to licensing issues, this selection has been somewhat altered for the North American version.

   The premise behind DDR Disney is simple: take the successful DDR formula and combine it with remixed Disney songs. Throw in a large helping of Disney characters, and fashion the entire disc after a rave, er, dance party. While this may sound like a recipe for success for Disney fans, practically everyone else will find that the result is less than desirable.

   Much of DDR Disney is familiar to those who have played any incarnation of the series. The gameplay remains unchanged, and practically all of the modes from prior releases, such as Free Play and Tutorial, appear once more. Konami has taken the liberty of combining the popular Diet mode with the main game; song result screens now not only show your Perfects and Misses, but also how many calories you burned if you played the song on the Dance Dance Revolution Controller.

   Though DDR Disney has hit the shelves only a few months after the original North American DDR, many improvements are apparent throughout the title. The most obvious is the realtime ranking on the main play screen; previously, dancers had to wait until the song was over to see what ranking their dancing has achieved. In DDR Disney, however, the ranking is shown in the bottom corner of the screen, and is updated throughout the song. On the down side, the addition of the realtime ranking means that the screen has been slightly re-arranged, and now the combo counter appears much higher, and off to the side. This gets in the way of the oncoming arrows, making the realtime ranking/combo meters more distracting than helpful.

Mickey vs. Donald
Dance Magic

   Another major addition to the game is the 2-player specific Dance Magic mode. Dancers choose one of six characters to play as, each with different Dance Magic effects. The game proceeds much as normal, but as combos are achieved, the newly added Dance Magic meter fills. At random times during the song, the game will activate the Dance Magic effects for any player that has filled up his or her meter. The effects can be anything from simply rotating your opponent's steps 90 degrees left to speeding them up twice as fast. As an added bonus, those without a dancing partner can choose to play the computer in Dance Magic mode, making sure that everyone can get a chance to enjoy it.

   The graphics in the game have gotten quite an overhaul as well. The polygonal dancers and flashing backgrounds used in the main DDR games have been replaced with backgrounds of Disney characters DJing the music. For the most part this works very nicely; the animations are well-done, if somewhat choppy, and the flashing lights and images that are contained in the stage help give the feeling that you're at a dance club. However, Konami only produced six backgrounds for the game's 20 songs, meaning that after a few times through the game you've seen every frame of animation that the game offers.

   Though these added features are nice, they cannot help what turns out to be the major downfall of the game: the music. While Disney-philes will love the remixed classic tunes, everyone else will tend to find them grating after the first few runthroughs. Although a few songs have successfully made the transition to dance tracks in their own right, such as Chim Chim Cher-ee and It's A Small World (Ducking HARDCORE Mix), the majority did not. The addition of non-Disney songs like B4U and Mr. Bassman helps, but those looking for more traditional-sounding DDR tracks will find only a handful.

   While the game is far from a failure, the song selection and Disney-saturated levels successfully alienate the title from all but true Disney fans and hardcore DDR players (the latter of which should turn to importing Japan's plethora of DDR games before picking up this one). If a few more of the main series games had been released in the US, the arrival of Dance Dance Revolution Disney Mix would have come as a nice niche title in a more rounded series. As the series stands to date, however, it ends up as more of a step in the wrong direction.

Review by J.T.Kauffman, GIA.
Dance Dance Revolution Disney Mix
Developer Konami TYO
Publisher Konami
Genre Rhythm
Medium CD-ROM (1)
Platform Sony PlayStation
Release Date  11.30.00
Konami announces Dance Dance Revolution's North American future
18 screenshots
U.S. song list
Director Misturu Kodama
Grand Producer Fumiaki Tanaka
International Manager & Translator Kaz Nirasawa
Full game credits