TV Dance Master 2000 (Daidaixing)
by brandon sheffield
Konami seems to have chucked their DDR franchise out the window. Too many releases too soon means too few players to support the series. So what are we, the rhythm gaming public to do? Let ourselves become flabby and indolent, playing dating sims until our muscles atrophy from disuse? I tell thee nay!
Let’s go for party!!
The fabulous people of China have come through with the next devolution of DDR; essentially an NES driven dance game. The pad is the game, and plugs directly into the TV via RGB cables. Get ready for derivative grey-market fun!!
This game plays surprisingly like DDR, for being a knock-off designed just to make a few bucks. You’ve got to hit the arrows right before they hit, which can take some getting used to - but I wouldn’t say the game was more difficult because of this. The patterns aren’t nearly as complex as those found in the Konami title, and are just not very inventive for the most part. But every once in a while the game will surprise you with some interesting directional combos…whoever coded it did play a fair bit of DDR, there’s no question about it. The main problem with the combos though, is that with the exception of a few real winners they just feel like easy mode, sped up. You’ve got three levels of difficulty for each song, but the difference is not as distinct as you find in DDR. Seasoned veterans will be able to beat most songs on any level the first time through.
There are two types of DDR in here. You can tell the difference between the two by the graphical interface, which varies from something that looks near to classic DDR arrows over a seizure-inducing mosaic of flashing patterns, to half-assed arrows that look like horizontal versions of the houses I used to draw in elementary school. They dare to steal my intellectual property??
In the house-arrow mode, the game plays like classic DDR, with the usual designations; miss, boo, good, great and prefect. Good old prefect:
1. A high administrative official or chief officer.
2. A student monitor or officer, especially in a private school.
The more you know...
Regardless! In this mode you can fail, but cannot get ratings. Though if you pass, the ending screen does show you a count of misses, greats et al. The other mode, the one with the DDR-looking arrows, is kind of a cop-out. You don’t die, you don’t get judged on your step accuracy, and the only way to determine whether or not you’ve hit an arrow is if it disappears. The patterns are rather lame in this mode. Very unfortunate.
But the songs are there, which was a shock to me. They’re mostly from DDR third and fourth mix, plus a whole mess of American pop songs and miscellany. Here’s the full list:
Kankouna’ Beat – The girl next door
You are my sunlight (aka sunshine)
Phil Goroon – summer love
The beautiful world
Love me tender (not the Elvis song)
My heart will go on (yes, it’s Celine Dion)
Sha la la
Dub I dub
Follow the sun
If you were here
Bad girls bad girls
Have you never been mellow (not a typo)
(begin ddr-style arrows mode)
boom boom dollar
(then comes 3-song continuous mode – three tracks are played in succession, either from the house or ddr-arrow styles of play, but never mixed. There are eight of these)
(lastly, two-song continuous mode, just like the above. Seven of these.)
Everything sounds pretty good, even when NES-ised, and the beats are consistent (which is a lot to ask from a pirate product). It’s quite fun to hear Dub I Dub through the NES soundchip. Really livens things up.
Perhaps the greatest thing about the TV Dance Master is the non-dance modes (ooh, low-grade wordplay). There are two extra games tucked away in here; whack-a-mole and pinball. Whack-a-mole is easily the most difficult thing in the pad, if not the entire damned world. This is a game based on reaction, not rhythm. Hit those little moles as soon as they come up, and you’ll get your cardiovascular system pumping in no time. The bastards are as tough to hit as they are plentiful!
The pinball is something of an oddity. For one thing, it says that there’s a two player mode. There’s...only one pad. Very strange. Or is it? Perhaps not, when you consider that the game was lifted straight from an NES rom, with the buttons remapped to match the pad. Check out the Pinball for NES faq over at gamefaqs. Same game.
It’s a good game on its own (Nintendo did make it after all), but it’s a bit tough to use with the pad. I recommend getting on all fours and using your hands for it. Hell of a lot easier, and far less frustrating. If you’re not familiar with the game, there’s a bonus mode in which you play as Mario, and must bounce the pinball arkanoid style, in order to make a square series of lights all turn the same color. There’s a princess above you, and with each set of similar colors you match, the platform on which she’s ‘trapped’ gets smaller. Eventually she falls, and you can ‘save her. Then she climbs back up! What the hell did I just save you for? Tease.
But yes. It’s quite odd that they didn’t remove the 2-player mode, given the fact that they did take the time to go into the code and remove the incriminating ‘nintendo’ logo.
The bottom line on this thing is this – if you’re hurting for some DDR, this will scratch your itch. If you just like goofy crap, your good there too. I bought the thing for $12 from the omiyage shop outside of Mitsuwa Marketplace in Torrance. Chances are if you can find this, you’ll get a similar deal. Let me tell you, if you’re any kind of a DDR fan it’s worth every penny for the kitsch alone. It’s wacky, it’s Chinese, and you cannot escape from its charms!
TV Dance Master recieves the brandon sheffield seal of approval