Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix Preview

It's really overwhelming how popular Dance Dance Revolution has become worldwide. The craze has been going for quite some time in Japan, and ever since its introduction in the US years ago, gamers have been high-stepping in our country as well. Be it with one of the custom arcade cabinets or at home with their roll-out dance pad, people have been playing the DDR games like mad, and with two new DDR games coming for the PS2 and Xbox, it looks like the craze shows no signs of slowing.

But what of the GameCube? For years, it's been lacking a DDR title, although one would think it would be ideal for such a game with its appeal. Well, apparently Nintendo thought the same thing, and they've been working with Konami to rectify that. Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix is the result, and we'll be seeing how the plumber gets his groove on as soon as this October.

Mario grooves while Toad looks on, unimpressed.Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix features everything Mario, wrapped around the DDR formula. Its design, songs, and even some of its dance icons are ripped straight from the Mario universe, which may be considered overload for some, but for others will make the experience that much more personable. As each song plays out, you'll see something playing out on-screen, like Mario dancing alongside his brother Luigi or perhaps even getting down with some Fryguys next to a pipe! The graphics we checked out in the test we had with the game look colorful and luscious, although may be a bit of a distraction from the arrows and icons that flow up the screen.

Gameplay feels about the same. You've got your four foreshadowed arrows at the top of the screen, and as the arrows scroll upwards, you have to time your hitting them in order to complete the dance. Impact can be anywhere from "Bad" (missing it entirely) to "Perfect" (nailing it), and your succession of Perfect hits will make your score better by the end of the song. Nintendo has added some icons to help boost up your star score at the top of the screen, and it adds some personality to the game, which is a nice touch. The dance pad feels pretty good, although you can play the game with a controller...but why in the heck would you want to?

As far as music, Nintendo and Konami have produced 25 original tracks for the game, ripped from games of Mario's past. There are a few new tunes in there as well, although they all seem to stem from Mario's world. That's not to say they're not danceable, however. The tunes carry with them a great vibe that's easy to get into and will have you stepping in no time.

Line dancing, Koopa style.The real item that fills out Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix would be the mode offerings, always a good thing to have in a dancing game. You've got the typical Free Mode, where you can practice your steps; Arcade Mode, where you're judged with scores and given tunes to pick from; Workout Mode, which allows you to work on weight loss; and Mini_Game Mode, which features a variety of mini games in which you can complete either alone or with a friend. Such mini-games include Wheel, Coin Collection, Hidden Treasure, and more. We didn't have a chance to check out these mini-games as of yet, but they should be loaded with variety. If that's not enough, you've always got Versus Mode, where you can dance against a friend and see who's the hot stepper.

Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix looks to be an acquired taste. If you can't stand anything the plumber stars in, this isn't going to be the game that motivates you to give him another chance. However, fans of DDR and Mario alike will want to pick this up immediately during its October launch, if only to get their groove on and become dancing, champs. Did I say fools? My bad. I was referring to my own experiences.

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