Game Over Online ~ Britney's Dance Beat

GameOver Game Reviews - Britney's Dance Beat (c) THQ, Reviewed by - Fwiffo

Game & Publisher Britney's Dance Beat (c) THQ
System Requirements Game Boy Advance
Overall Rating 68%
Date Published Thursday, April 25th, 2002 at 08:58 PM

Divider Left By: Fwiffo Divider Right

Britney Spears, as a franchise, is not unlike the senseless number of titles being released on every possible consumer media platform. The exception is, Britney has managed to hit the silver screen and her inaugural entrance into gaming carries the trademark tunes and lyrics that made her famous in the late 1990s. Whereas the songs were merely a crutch in her acting debut, the music actually forms the core of the Dance Beat game. Like most of her music though, Britney's Dance Beat does not venture into any avenues of substantial creativity and instead, the developers have chosen to emulate the popular rhythm and dance games of Dance Dance Revolution and Samba de Amigo.

The key difference is the inclusion of licensed Britney Spears tracks; something other rhythm and dance games surely cannot boast. I've listened to my share of Britney Spears music and yes, that means I did more than listen to the first five seconds of each track. Dance Beat starts off with some of her earlier tunes, including 'Baby one more time', and then progresses in a loose chronological fashion towards her follow-up hit 'Oops I did it again' and the recent 'I'm a slave 4 U'. From my experience, the gameplay is a mix between Dance Dance Revolution and Samba de Amigo. You have the radial dial of the latter. A sonar-like radar sweeps across the radar in real-time and you're tasked to hit a number of key combinations. A Britney persona on-screen is an indicator of your performance. As long as she dances fluidly, you're doing great.

In the beginning, Dance Beat is a very pedestrian affair. Perhaps it was aiming to appease the younger audience and to let them get through the first levels of the game. The patterns and combinations are extremely simple but ratchet up as you progress to Britney's more recent songs. By the last song though, the developers seem to have lost touch with the rhythm itself. The buttons and combinations you need to pull off become a series of artificially created dexterity challenges totally removed from the music altogether.

Much of the problem stems from the music itself. Popular music these days feature bass beats and rhythms that are fairly repetitive. Dance Beat is an exemplary representation of that. Because this GBA version is unable to store the actual digital samples of the songs, you basically have to listen to tunes composed on MIDI and you will quickly realize that a Britney song without lyrics is quite a monotonous exercise in itself. Sprinkles of Britney's trademark expressions are included to help alleviate this but I'm still unsure why the actual songs were not included considering at the end of the game, you are allowed to view a short full motion video clip of Britney Spears in concert.

The video sequence in and of itself is a sight to behold. Why no other GBA developers are taking advantage of this is something that I think needs to be answered. Dance Beat also features some extras that are not unlike DVD extras on a concert DVD. You get to see a few pieces of stylized artwork of Britney, work them around in a simple shuffle puzzle, and also play the game again with Britney dancing on the concert stage. The animation for Britney is fluid and for all intents and purposes, it should be, since she is the only thing animated during gameplay. However, she exhibits far less in range of emotion than the dancers of Dance Dance Revolution or the characters of Samba de Amigo, such that you cannot actually tell whether she's dancing at her optimal level or not, in comparison to the gameplay. Furthermore, the GBA rendering of Britney is rough. Details that may have existed on other platforms fail to translate to the handheld format. In fact, if you didn't know this was Britney, it'd be pretty hard to tell her from the millions of other girls that have her curves and hairstyle.

Many people will attempt to write off Dance Beat as a true game. That's not entirely fair to the game itself. It's short and definitely geared more as a memento to Britney fans than anyone else. I, on the other hand, wanted to like this game a lot. I think rhythm and dance titles on a handheld format are an excellent idea as it introduces something more than mindless arcade action. Unfortunately, there is a real art in crafting these types of games. In Dance Dance Revolution, even the toughest music titles appear to have some correlation to the music itself and that, I think, is the key to a successful rhythm and dance title. Since this ingredient is missing from Dance Beat, it's hard to recommend this to anyone other than Britney fans. Like her cinematic debut, Dance Beat relies too much on its namesake. Hopefully, more suitable material will come to fore, like (in my fantasies) perhaps a Kylie Minogue rhythm and dance.


See the Game Over Online Rating System






Screen Shots

Copyright (c) 1998-2009 ~ Game Over Online Incorporated ~ All Rights Reserved
Game Over Online Privacy Policy