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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Rhythm

 

Publisher

Mastiff

 

Developer

Mastiff

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q3 2005

 

 

- Nice selection of classic and original music

- Well-made, sticky-backed dance pad

- Fifth button adds a degree of difficulty

 

 

- Despite the fifth button and different placement of buttons, the game still feels a bit derivative

 

 

Review: Get On Da Mic (PS2)

Review: Technic Beat (PS2)

Review: Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (GC)

 

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Pump it Up: Exceed

Score: 7.5 / 10

 

It is easy to think of the Pump it Up series as a rip-off of Dance Dance Revolution.  After all, DDR did come first and is very popular.  Still, rhythm games have been around forever and rhythm games featuring a dance mat have been around at least since Nintendo's Dance Aerobics in 1988.  So, the question becomes “is Pump it Up: Exceed different enough from DDR and its clones to warrant purchase?”.  The answer to that question is “maybe."

 

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Pump it Up: Exceed comes complete with a custom dance pad, which is a good thing considering the game isn't compatible with the DDR pads on the market.  The reason that this is true is the same reason the game might be interesting to DDR fans: Pump it Up: Exceed adds a fifth button to the mix.  Instead of just Up, Down, Left, and Right, Pump it Up: Exceed adds a button directly in the center of the pad.  The Pump it Up pad also has the U,D,L and R buttons positioned diagonally instead of at the compass points, which really frustrated my niece, an experienced DDR gal.

 

Like DDR, Pump It Up has players choose a song from a huge list of songs (101), some famous songs from famous artists, some created just for the game.  The players also have a choice of a number of modes which range from the non-judgmental Home mode to the viscous Arcade mode.  Also as in DDR, players of Pump it Up simply watch as symbols scroll up the screen toward indicators at the top.  The idea is to step on the corresponding button on the pad at the exact time the arrow crosses the symbol.  Players are then rated on how good their timing is.  Really, it is quite similar to the DDR experience.  Mastiff's promotional material suggests that the extra button means that you have to dance , not just step, but I really don't think that is true.  One DDR expert at the college where I teach easily cleared the Arcade mode with huge combos of perfect scores and without once appearing to be anything other than a dorky video game aficionado stepping around on a mat skillfully. I'm sure no one would have mistaken him for a 70's era John Travolta at any point.

 

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Still, the extra button does add one more movement to the player's requirements, which means even more calories burned—and the game certainly is not for the aerobically challenged.  The song selection is large and appealing.  The included mat is sturdy and has a very sticky bottom which locked it in place everywhere we tried it other than my living room floor which features carpet that I can ice skate on in my socked feet, so I didn't really expect the mat to work there.

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Taken altogether, it isn't hard to recommend Pump it Up Exceed to a number of groups:  those that love DDR and have played through all of those games, those that are looking for a DDR-like game with a well-made dance pad, and those who are looking for a game to use as a weight-loss tool.

 

- Danny Webb

(January 13, 2006)

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