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Sevastyan Simonov
Sevastyan Simonov

Dancing Stage Mario Mix


Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix runs on a modified version of the Mario Party 6 engine, and follows the gameplay formula established in all prior Dance Dance Revolution games. The game features several gameplay modes: Story Mode takes the player through a linear progression of tracks, framed as a story of Mario and Luigi traveling the Mushroom Kingdom to retrieve the missing Music Keys. Once a track has been cleared in Story Mode, it becomes available for play in Free Mode, which allows up to two players to dance simultaneously. The player can purchase items at Lakitu's shop during Story Mode that can be used to assist them if they are struggling. Some stages feature "Mush Mode" rules, which replace the traditional arrows with Mario enemies that feature unique mechanics. Special minigames will also appear during Story Mode, providing alternate gameplay styles such as jumping up on a flagpole or hitting Goombas that emerge from pipes with a hammer. Like the tracks, these mini-games will be unlocked for free play in Mini-Game Mode once they have been cleared in Story Mode. Once the player completes Story Mode for the first time, they will unlock Story Mode EX, which features a slightly altered selection of songs. Additional difficulty levels can also be unlocked.




Dancing Stage Mario Mix



Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix is the second dancing game to be released on the Nintendo GameCube. Mario Mix is not as intense as standard versions of Dance Dance Revolution; Super Hard difficulty is equivalent to "standard" difficulty in other Dance Dance Revolution games (though some later songs are considered "heavy" in the standard games, especially "Bowser's Castle").


Toad warns Mario (or Luigi) that someone has stolen the Music Keys and explains the trouble that this causes. Mario decides to stop Waluigi, and Toad decides to come with him to Truffle Towers. On a boat, the two cross a river, and after climbing a vine, they reach Truffle Towers. However, once there, the two find the doors to Truffle Towers locked. Waluigi then laughs and tosses a Bob-omb at them, knocking Mario down a nearby Warp Pipe into a cavern filled with Goombas, though Mario is able to get out by dancing, causing the mushroom he is standing on to grow. After Mario escapes the cavern, he and Toad enter a shop run by a Lakitu, who has the key to Truffle Towers. He agrees to give it to them only if Mario is able to get rid of the Koopa Troopas playing in his farm. After Mario does so, Lakitu gives him and Toad the key, and the latter two enter Truffle Towers. Inside is Waluigi with one of the Music Keys; he refuses to return it unless he is beaten in a dance-off. After Mario and Toad beat him, Waluigi is gone and the Music Key is recovered. Mario and Toad set off on the SS Brass to recover the other keys.


Getting "Perfect!"s and "Great!"s not only increases the player's dance meter but also adds a combo onscreen. When the player gets a combo of 100, the announcer comments and arrows flash differently when players step on them. A combo stops if the player does a misstep (Early, Late, or Miss). As with all Dance Dance Revolution games, the announcer comments on the player's dancing skill and grade along the way. This can be turned off in the Options menu. If the player's dance meter empties, an option can allow the player to finish the song right away, but the player still gets an F grade.


Items can be bought from a store in each world from Lakitu after the player completes Stage 1-3. The classic 1-Up Mushroom can also be won in certain minigames. Sometimes bonus songs are available. All items except the 1-Up Mushroom have to be triggered before a stage for the player to feel its effects. The player can carry only three of these items at a time. The player can access the store if they visit it during their progress or before any stage after 1-3, by pressing the button.


This time around there's even a proper story mode to play through n'all, and plenty of silly mini-games interspersed throughout to break up the non-stop, foot-stomping, sweat-inducing action that inevitably ensues. Unsurprisingly, someone (can you guess who) has stolen the Music Keys that were locked up in Truffle Towers - thus breaking the seal and unleashing their chaotic power onto the Mushroom Kingdom. Call the cops! Actually, as per bloomin' usual, it's Mario (or Luigi) that's forced to do the dirty work: "legend has it" that dancing can make magic happen. Didn't work for Michael Flatley, did it?


While all this arrow-stomping nonsense is going on, all sorts of craziness occurs on the screen in the form of bizarre dance routines from Mario and the cast of adversaries that he meets on his journeys. Along the way you get to endure 'dance-offs' with his traditional enemies, such as Waluigi, Wario and of course Bowser. Over the course of the five 'worlds' in the story mode, you'll also face all manner of bizarre tasks, such as dancing your way out of an avalanche or boogieing along a rollercoaster track. You couldn't make it up: all in a day's work, presumably.


In between the stages you also get to try your hand (or should be say feet?) at 13 or so mini-games which help break it all up. Some are just simple coin-collecting exercises, with up to jump and down to duck, while others have you dodging giant snowballs rolling down the mountain, or trying to collect as many bananas as possible as monkeys lob them out of trees. No-one said it had to make any sense...


Two-player split-screen antics are possible, but using a joypad against the 'Action Mat' (as they call it) seems a little silly. For the full dance-a-thon experience you'll require a separate mat - and unless you've got a pal who's got a copy of the game, you're going to be forced to buy the full kit all over again. For those that do have access, though, a versus mode lets you show off who's got the best dancing feet to whatever songs you've unlocked. It's no more simple or complicated than that.


Mario is back, and this time he has brought his dancing-shoes with him. There are a few game modes to play around with, such as a single-player adventure mode where Mario has to find the missing Music Keys to save the kingdom. There is also a head-to-head mode where you can take on your friends. There are 25 songs to dance with and most of them from other Nintendo-games such as Super Mario Brothers and so forth.


Toad warns Mario (or Luigi) that someone has stolen the Music Keys and explains the trouble that this causes. Mario decides to go stop Waluigi and Toad decides to come with him to Truffle Towers. On a boat, the two cross a river, and after climbing a vine, reach Truffle Towers. However, once there, the two find the doors to Truffle Tower locked. Waluigi then laughs and tosses a Bob-omb at them, knocking Mario down a nearby Warp Pipe and into a cavern filled with Goombas, though Mario is able to get out by dancing, causing the mushroom he is standing on to grow. After escaping the cavern Mario and Toad enter a shop run by a Lakitu, who has the key to Truffle Towers. He agrees to give it to them only if Mario is able to get rid of the Koopa Troopas playing in his farm. After getting rid of the Koopas, Lakitu gives them the key and they enter Truffle Tower. Inside the tower is Waluigi with one of the Music Keys; he refuses to return it unless he is beaten in a dance off. After beating him Waluigi is gone and the Music Key is recovered. Mario and Toad set off to recover the other keys on a ship, the SS Brass.


In terms of GameCube visual prowess, Mario Mix might not be classed as much of a looker when compared to the likes of Zelda, Resident Evil 4 or Metroid Prime: Echoes. However, a lot of work appears to have gone into this outing compared to past Dancing Stage games. In fact, the character models used here are so impressive at times that you could be looking at the likes of Super Mario Sunshine from Nintendo itself. Sure everything might be overly twee and bright, but it is definitely in keeping with the family-oriented theme that runs throughout. The only problems that occur at times are when you have to do manoeuvres not just for arrows when dancing, but for other icons of varying shape and colour (namely Coins, Goombas, Koopa Troopas and Bullet Bills). Increases the difficulty a bit, though, I suppose...


Being a Nintendo game, though, it is not all about pure dancing, which certainly adds a nice new aspect to the series. Mini games litter the story mode, as well as Boss battles. The former can actually be quite a nice distraction from the main mode, with Mario being required to carry out all sorts of tasks. Examples include rapidly having to step left and right to escape from an on-coming Chain Chomp, again slamming left and right, before hitting up when Mario reaches a white line in order to jump as high up a flagpole as possible (akin to the Super Mario Bros flagpole at the end of main levels) and even playing a dance version of Whack-A-Mole, stomping on the relevant direction to squash Goombas popping their heads up. And the pleasing thing is that, as goes with the songs as well, once played during the Story Mode, they are all opened up for you to play again and again until your little legs drop off!


If you buy this and expect the story mode alone to last you long enough to warrant the cost of the package, then you will be sorely disappointed. You could easily breeze through the main story in probably no more than three hours, no matter how rhythmically inept you actually are! And in terms of replayability, the only real incentive is that of the new difficulty modes that open up when the story's five chapters are completed successfully. Thankfully, there are mini-games that take the edge off, acting as nice little ways to pass some time and hone your dancing skills whilst you are at it. The Free Mode and multiplayer antics are the main draw, however, dancing around constantly or attempting to make your friends look humiliated. *Mwah-ha-ha* 041b061a72


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