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CONSOLE: Nintendo 64 DEVELOPER: Konami PUBLISHER: Konami
RELEASE DATE (JP): November 30, 2000 GENRE: Rhythm/Dancing
// review by Matt

Kingdom Hearts meets Saturday Night Fever.

Dance Dance Revolution was mixed with the coronach that is Disney's musical output, and yet, Konami managed the impossible by making it fun. It works so damn well I find myself scratching my head in disbelief because this combination shouldn't have worked. That appears to have been Konami's secret skill because I've said that a few times this month. Konami's Dance Dance Revolution Disney Rave turned out to be so good that they even ported it to the Nintendo 64 under the name "Disney Dancing Museum". They changed a few things, too, but we'll go into that in a little bit.

As with all Dance Dance Revolution games, you have to smash dance panels with your feet in time with music until the song finishes, and if you didn't break your legs or die from running out of breath, then you'll probably have to do it two more times on the same credit. Disney Dancing Museum is no different, which is by no means a bad thing. The songs appear to all be remixed or re-recorded versions of classic old-school Disney songs (by old-school, I'm talking 1930s), Disney theme park related (Electrical Parade, for example) tunes, or new songs written/recorded for the game — even "It's A Small World" sung completely in Japanese. Nothing from the then recent Dive Into Disney CD, unfortunately.

Each song is accompanied by a lazy animated gif of a Disney character dancing, plopped in the middle of a fairly decent-looking 3D scene. The arrows aren't the DDR arrows I'm used to; instead they are the ones used at the time — the fairly solid flashing arrows that don't cycle based on what beat they are timed to. It took me just one song to familiarize myself with these arrows; it wasn't too hard to get back into the swing of things.

There isn't any kind of significant content outside of the arcade mode, though you can use practice mode to retry challenging song sections. You wouldn't need it, though, I wouldn't think, because the songs are dead easy to achieve a perfect score on. On the dance mat or with a Nintendo 64 controller, these songs are way too easy. I assume then that this is the "for kids" version of Disney DDR, while PlayStation and Arcades got the more challenging Disney Rave. On difficulty alone I certainly cannot recommend this game, but it might be a good place for non-DDR players to start or for ex-players to come back in at.


At least it's old enough to miss out on the Cheetah Girls...

The game appears to be limited to Mickey Mouse and the extended family of characters. Mickey and Minnie make an appearance in a few songs, Goofy and Donald have two songs each, and then various other characters have a song of their own. All our favourites are here (respect to the Chip n' Dale massive) and a few characters I sure as bacon bits don't recognize. A couple of, well, I think they're mooses. Oh, is the plural of moose simply just moose? That's dumb. The character is often loosely related to the song, and their incredibly basic dancing animations also fit into the song's theme.

I'm seriously underwhelmed by the dancing, if you can call it that. Characters shamble back and forth like a wizard cast a spell on some lifeless corpses. The animation feels slow, and I'm convinced these weren't drawn or animated by anybody directly connected to Disney. If I'm wrong, then that means Disney sure dropped their standard for this game. Characters have no more than four animations — one that they do at the start of the song, two that they alternate between during the song, and one at the end. Most stages don't even have an ending specific animation.

You're not going to be looking at your character while you're dancing because you're focused on the arrows, but the game has to at least be fun for non-participants to watch. The joy of DDR in a party setting is that there is always an onlooker or two around, solely there to poke fun at your performance or heckle you with rude words to put you off. They don't have anything fun to look at on the game screen, so that's half the fun taken away for those watching you play.

A good bunch of the game's songs are locked behind passwords, but thankfully an unlock everything code exists. Google it up and punch it in before playing because it doesn't unlock just hard songs, it also unlocks easy songs too — DDR is a game that needs a nice large pool of songs to pick from to make the experience more enjoyable and to give everyone something that suits them. With twenty one tracks in the game, they nail it, but they don't excel this time around.

They're not bad songs though. Not a single one of them is awful, though some are so slow and so uninspired I end up thinking to myself, "Who thought this would be good to dance to?". The game could have contained more interesting or livelier versions of these Disney songs rather than going with slower renditions — and these covers were made by Bemani musicians, who usually do fast-paced music for difficult games like Beatmania or Pop 'n Music. Given the age of the game, I can forgive that, because DDR and the Bemani craze were both still in their infancy.

What I have basically said in a roundabout way is that Disney Dancing Museum is way too easy, has slow songs, and sort of just exists. That said, on a console with only one DDR game, it's the best DDR game on that console.


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