PS2 RedOctane Dance Mats
The Difference Between DDR Dance Pads
There are basically two different things to know before buying a dance pad for Dance Dance Revolution. First, if you plan to use the dancepads a lot, you will want to get a stronger dancepad. As cheap as the thin pads are, if you use them a lot you will wear right through them. Second, certian dance pads only work on certian game systems. Make sure you get the right pad for your system. Reccomended dande pads are listed below.
Choose Your Dance Pad
Below is a list of all of the main dance pads for use with Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) games. Be sure to check system compatability and the DDR Zone rating on the pads. The best available price for the day is listed in the right column.
Players select one of a variety of songs, which typically have a heavy beat. While the game is in play, there are four stationary arrows at the top of the screen. Other arrows scroll up from the bottom of the screen and pass over the stationary arrows. When scrolling arrows overlap the stationary ones, as the illustration shows the Up arrow is about to, the player must step on the corresponding arrow square(s) on the platform (it is permitted to remain on the square or "panel"). A "jump" step will involve pressing two arrows simultaneously. In this way, the game encourages the player to dance a pre-choreographed series of steps to the beat of the music. Each step is given a rating that indicates how close to the beat the step was. From best to worst, these ratings are PERFECT, GREAT, GOOD, BOO, and MISS. On many American home releases of the game, BOO and MISS are changed to ALMOST and BOO, respectively, and on DDR Extreme in Oni/Challenge mode (and in some simulators) there is MARVELOUS timing, which is even better than PERFECT. It sounds very mechanical, but once a player has learned to respond to the arrows, there is some freedom in style and balance which better players exploit, to the entertainment of other players and passersby. Some players prefer "doubles mode" (usually costing twice as much), where both platforms are used by one player; this is generally considered more challenging.
At the end of each song (assuming the player has
made it that far), players receive a final score and a letter grade
from "A" to "E" based
on how many correct steps they made and how well-timed those steps are.
Exceptional performances with almost all PERFECTs (over 90%) will receive "AA" ("S" on
older versions) or, should the player make the commendable achievement
of earning 100% PERFECTs, "AAA" ("SS" on older versions
and see links below for such feats). A game may consist of one or more
songs in a series, or multiple attempts at the same song. There are also
challenging "courses," or specific groups of songs, which can
DDR Songs and levels
Most songs are licensed from Toshiba EMI's Dancemania collections, imported from other Bemani titles or created for the game by Konami artists such as Naoki, the main music producer for the DDR series.
Music in DDR may be fast or slow, or may even change tempo. It is a common mistake to assume that slower songs must be easier; often, the exact opposite is true, as reading fast-scrolling and thus widely spaced arrows is often easier than reading lots of dense, slow-scrolling arrows. Each song has multiple step patterns associated with it, rated in difficulty from 1 to 10 "feet". The 1-3 foot step patterns are recommended for beginners, and 4-8 are of intermediate difficulty. Nine foot songs, commonly referred to as 'catas' (short for 'Catastrophic', the label given to these steps on 3rd Mix) generally require high levels of mastery of one of more specific DDR skills (such as stamina, rhythm recognition or special techniques such as 'spins', 'crossovers' or 'gallops'), and being able to pass these songs is widely regarded as the mark of a proficient player. Last are the songs with 10 foot step patterns. There are very few of these, and the steps for all but one proceed at an incredible speed; runs containing 10 arrows per second are not uncommon. Extreme demands are placed on a player's physical endurance, as well as arrow reading and balancing capability; only a handful of players can pass these songs with ease. Most regular players of DDR play on Heavy mode, although beginners are advised to start with "Light" mode, which contains mostly songs rated from 1 to 3 feet. Some versions additionally have a "Beginner" mode where almost every song is rated 1 foot and has a dancer in the background demonstrating the moves.
Increasing levels bring more and more arrows in more elaborate and difficult arrangements, "hold" or "freeze" arrows which require the foot to remain on the appropriate square, and syncopation. Sometimes the scrolling arrows "freeze" in time with a silent gap in the music. Players may also introduce variations, such as obscuring the arrows (forcing the player to dance by memory) or changing the scrolling speed.
Regular players of DDR drive the continuing markets for game upgrades. There are many DDR versions; each new "mix" includes both familiar music from past games and new songs (so-called "Konami originals"). There are also Disney-specific and "Euromix" versions. Reluctance by Konami to release some versions in the USA has led to widespread gray-market imports of mixes intended only for the domestic (Japanese) market, and even bootleg copies. A Korean company, Andamiro, produces a competing dance game series called Pump It Up which has 5 floor buttons instead of 4, in the four corners and center of the pad.
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