Review #2 - Dance Factory (Video Game - PlayStation 2 USA)

So I'm cruising the aisles at Meijer with Sam and Rachael a few weeks back, and come to the Games section. They have the main systems' games all in cases that an employee has to open, then they have this shelf for bargain basement games, and sitting on them is Dance Factory for the PlayStation 2 for $9.99. "Hey, I got 10 bucks, and I've been wanting to try this for a long time, so why not?" Well, I'll tell you why not, just listen to this...

Dance Factory - PlayStation 2 (NTSC)

So we get home and I pop this fucker in the PS2...and pretty much as soon as it loads, I realize that I just fucked up. If you're familiar with American DDR releases (MAX 1 +), you'll recall the little swirling loading sphere as the game first loads. This has something like it, except it's like... I don't know, a polygonal asterik of death or something. It's seriously PlayStation 1 quality, and this is just the loading graphic!

So anyway, the game loads up. How this works is, you go into Game Mode, and you can choose one of the songs on the disc (there aren't many and they're all shit - I would list them but I can't find a list on the internet because nobody gives enough of a damn to even list them - but the number totals 5) OR put in your own audio CD and have the game generate steps to that. Cool, right? Right? Yeah.


The steps it generates are ASS, even on the "Heavy" mode, playing the game is boring as fuck and no matter what song you use, you won't have fun dancing it. The beat detection is ASS, the stepcharts are ASS, the graphics are ASS, and when playing with the controller, the FUCKING D-PAD CAN'T BE USED TO HIT STEPS - which means under this theory that a DANCE PAD won't work either, unless you turn it at a 45 degree angle and pretend the buttons are the arrows (and to my knowledge not all dance pads have all four buttons, I mean all the Ignition models do, but if you have a metal pad without the rear buttons, you're fucked).

Also, in DDR, the arrows go LEFT, DOWN, UP, RIGHT. I've been playing this way for so long, that I don't really look at the arrows' direction so much as what position they show up in on the screen (middle left = up, that kind of thing). But Dance Factory, for being a DDR clone, decides "Hey, let's change this so we don't look like we're trying to make bank off of Konami's badass idea!" That's right, they fucked with one of the very basic principles of DDR. Just like Extreme 2 and SuperNova fucked with the "Hold the button to get to the mods" law of DDR, this boned the arrow order up the pooper! LEFT, UP, DOWN, RIGHT. WHAT THE FUCK!? You know how awkward it is to see an arrow in UP's position (DDR) and hit UP and realize that it's actually down! IT'S FUCKING BULLSHIT!

Also, there are no timing options. For most people with an SDTV this isn't an issue, but I've got an HDTV and there is definitely A/V lag generated on a 60" DLP screen. Most PS2 DDRs I have to set to around +10 or so for their timing setting so that the arrows appear on beat, but this doesn't have that option, so you just have to mash buttons and hope for the best, kind of like my old buddy Matt when he types.

Back to the step generation. It takes roughly around 60-ish seconds for the game to generate the steps, depending on the length of the song. There's an option to play a shitty minigame while this works, but it's not even halfway fun. There are three difficulty levels, none of which present even a remote challenge. I tried Sandstorm by Darude (which is in DDR MAX 1) and the steps it generated were just boring. It barely qualified as Standard difficulty on DF's "hard" mode and a lot of it was the same steps over and over. There is a "put your own steps in" mode, but using that is like dumping your ass in a bottle of Sierra Mist and then drinking it with a broken straw.

The in-game graphics, as I said, are ASS. The arrows are spread apart like a hooker's legs on a Friday night in single-player - Yes, on a 60" widescreen, they are spread out across the ENTIRE FUCKING SCREEN. WHY?! DDR doesn't do that in single-player, what made Codemasters think that was a good idea? So I have to move my head from side to side like I'm having a seizure to see what the next arrows are while trying to even SEE the arrows. There are a few different backgrounds you can select, most of which look like old-style Media Player visualizations (and I'm talking early-ass versions of Media Player that only had a few options) and the arrows are these ecstasy-induced rainbow colors - they don't blend well together. Wait, let me rephrase that, they blend really well together, so much so that you can't fucking see half of them (this is an overstatement, but the clarity of the arrows IS an issue with the game). It's like that one fucking step in Spin The Disc if you have SOLO enabled that is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to spot because the background matches the arrow color and the exact time it appears, except it's like this with all the arrows.

Also, there's no mods. So gay. I know they couldn't include too much with the game disc not being inserted in the PS2 most of the time so it can't load anything, but seriously, no mods?

Oh, there's this creature mode but.. I don't fucking get it. It's retarded as hell, don't even bother with it.

Anyway, I'm tired of talking about this pile of shit. I can't even bring myself to play it for more than 2 songs at a time and this review is based on a total of three played songs. The bottom line is, if someone is paying you to take this game off their hands, don't. Or better yet, take it and take their money, then stab them in the fucking face with the fucking disc for trying to pawn this pile of shit off on you. Then go wash your hands to get the filth of the game disc off of them. Fuck this piece of shit game, I'm going to play DDR Universe...

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