July 3, 2002
Britney's Dance Beat - Review
When THQ announced plans to develop a Britney Spears based game at E3 2001 many people rolled their eyes and groaned. Sure she's good looking, but it isn't cool to like her music, and playing a game with her in it was going to be torture. In January 2002 THQ had a press day in America and many journalists walked away more then impressed with the early builds of the game. Fast-forward to June 2002 and THQ have now released the game and the end result is pretty impressive. As you would expect the game is a dancing simulation similar to Bust-A-Groove and PaRappa the Rappa. The developers, Metro Graphics, have even seen fit to include a bit of a storyline, and plenty of bonuses.
|The bottom meter show the leader.|
Britney's about to launch her next concert tour and she needs backup dancers. You will have to audition to Britney's most popular songs to see if you can keep up with the other dancers. If you're really good, you'll get access to exclusive backstage video and concert footage. Only the best dancers will get to join Britney on stage. Each of the six selectable dancers who are either male or female, but ultimately differ very little in gameplay terms and sadly, don't include Britney, have to complete 10 audition dances which get harder as you progress.
Actually playing Britney's Dance Beat seems quite simple at first in that you only have to press the buttons at the exact moment when they appear on the circular dial, which acts similar to a radar. As the light band passes over a symbol you have to press the corresponding button. Boring you say? Well, it takes plenty of concentration and as you move up the levels and you become better the game becomes more and more frantic. The first level only makes you use a single button, but by the time you get past about the 5th level you will have to combine directional controls with the action buttons. As you complete more button presses in a row you create combos. Every time you string a combo of 10 presses together you mess up the opponents radar by either making their expected presses move out of time with the music, or adding in extra button presses.
|Check out the background video.|
One of the best things about this game is the extras that can be unlocked by earning points as you complete each audition. The more points you earn the more you unlock. These extras are split up into two sections. The first contains video clips of Britney preparing backstage with other people from her entourage. The second section contains five video clips of Britney Spears performing her songs on a stage, but the camera is rotatable through 360° during the performance. It's a stunning use of a new-ish technology and a great bonus in the game. These extras alone will ensure that you complete the game.
|The dancers are animated well.|
Graphically, Britney's Dance Beat is certainly impressive. The dancers are all well animated and the backgrounds varied and detailed. The frame rate is rock steady while the levels are littered with special effects and guest appearances by Britney herself. My biggest issue however arises with the large screen showing the video clips for the songs in the backgrounds. For some strange reason they aren't synched to the song at all. So while Britney is singing in the music her lips are not moving in the video clip and vice versa. It's a simple thing that really should have been fixed prior to release.
Sound is one are where you would expect this game to excel, but it doesn't and is in fact one of the weakest aspects of the game. The game includes only 5 songs, "I'm A Slave 4 U", "Overprotected", "Oops, I Did It Again", "Baby One More Time", and "Stronger". While the tracks are all good quality, there is nothing else to dance to in the game. It would have been nice to see some different riffs, music only tracks or original music to dance to. In a game like this you would expect around 10 or more music tracks to break the variety. Throughout the levels Britney will say a couple of words about your performance. I was also hoping for some surround sound in the game to give it a little more atmosphere, alas it's only in stereo.
|The stages do look great.|
Overall this is a very impressive, but ultimately slightly disappointing title. While the gameplay is superb, and the extras impressive, the game is let down by a lack of music tracks. There really should have been double the music available to dance to, rather then just the five songs. Still if you're a Britney fan then this game will keep you entertained for some time. It's no pushover and the desire to unlock all the extras will have you coming back time and time again. In 2-player mode the excitement and competition is multiplied greatly and Britney's Dance Beat will keep you going for hours.
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|GRAPHICS||Music not synched to video clip, good animations on the dancers.||74%|
|SOUND||I hope you like Britney's music and speech. Only 5 songs available.||78%|
|GAMEPLAY||Highly addictive gameplay against CPU players, better as 2 human.||81%|
|VALUE||Only 5 songs, you'll be wanting more. The unlockable extras are cool.||63%|
|OVERALL||The graphics are nice, the songs include her major hits, but there just isn't enough variety to keep you engrossed in single player mode, but 2-player is a blast. Excellent bonuses to be unlocked. If Britney's Dance Beat had included more songs then this could have been a brilliant title. Worth considering, especially for Britney fans.||78%|