Game Over Online ~ fingerDANCE 2.0

GameOver Game Reviews - fingerDANCE 2.0 (c) Dian Suharto Iskandar, Reviewed by - Pseudo Nim

Game & Publisher fingerDANCE 2.0 (c) Dian Suharto Iskandar
System Requirements PalmOS 3.0, Palm III (colour optional), PocketC runtime
Overall Rating 66%
Date Published Saturday, June 30th, 2001 at 05:00 AM

Divider Left By: Pseudo Nim Divider Right

Dance Dance Revolution has taken the world by storm, or at least Asia and parts of North America (not sure about Europe). For those of you who don't know it and been living under a rock for the last four years or so (or else they live in a crappy city like mine, which doesn't consider a DDR machine a necessity in the arcades), it's a game where you have a big, loud machine with two huge speakers, and two pads with directional arrows on them; music plays, and arrows scroll on the screen, and as they reach a certain point on the screen, you have to step on the corresponding arrow. The arrows are virtually always synced with the beat, so it ends up being like a funky sort of dancing thing. Before you shrug it off, though, I strongly suggest you try it - I thought it was the lamest game on Earth until I tried it, and since then, I can't stop. But that is beside the point.

Dance Dance Revolution has been ported by Konami to several platforms (glaringly absent is the Dreamcast, where they stopped after making 2nd mix and Clubmix - since then, there's been about half a dozen more released for PSX, but none for Dreamcast), but they have never thought of (or considered it worthwhile) porting it to the Palm. So some guy sat down and wrote fingerDANCE, which is the rough equivalent (or so it's supposed to be) of DDR for PSX/Arcades. It doesn't quite live up to its name, though, for a couple of reasons.

First of all, and most importantly (I would be willing to omit the other reasons if this were done properly, for this could be at least a fun learning experience for the arcades), the steps are all wrong. None of the steps match the actual arcade steps which completely defeats the purpose of the game as far as I'm concerned. There is no actual music on the Palm (for obvious reasons), so if you turn on the sounds, you just hear occasional notes which generally attempt to reconstruct the song, and they do a fair job of it.

Second of all, the control is very imprecise: the arrows flow at a speed inconsistent with the beat of the song in the arcade (for example, Boys or Butterfly - the rhythm in fingerDANCE is completely off. It has a couple of other tracks, but none of them are right), and it's sometimes pretty hard to register a button push, because the game treats it as a "wrong". Though that's a limitation of the hardware, I suppose. I thought this was related to overclocking (i.e. turning off Afterburner would make it play at normal speed), but that did not seem to help, hence I mention it. Also, doing double steps is pretty much impossible, because logically, you want to play with the PageUp/PageDown keys being for up/down, instead of the optional Phone/ToDo, but that makes up/down combos impossible for the simple reason that you can't push both PgUp and PgDn at the same time, at least on PalmV models.

Third, and this is pretty minor compared to the two above, the scoring system is completely wrong - misses normally don't count as negative points in DDR, but they do in fingerDANCE. I suppose that's original to a certain extent, but I don't think it works out right.

Hence, the main issue with the game is this: it doesn't quite live up to be a DDR clone, and it's on the wrong platform to try to be original. If this were a PSX game which were "similar" but not close enough to DDR, I wouldn't complain. But on the Palm, there is no room to be original with DDR - the author should have aimed at making this be a step simulator, so that you can practice arcade steps, or something. There is a step editor, but come on, that's no fun, there should be some prebuilt ones - and the beat setting in it does not help things very much. However, with a bit more work, this game could be made fairly indispensable for any DDR aficionado.

[ 04/10 ] Addictiveness
[ 10/20 ] Gameplay
[ 10/15 ] Graphics
[ 05/10 ] Interface/controls
[ 07/10 ] Program size
[ 04/05 ] Sound
[ N/A ] Multiplayer
[ 05/05 ] Discreetness
[ 14/15 ] Learning Curve


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