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Overall Score

3.5 stars - Click for rating criteria
Pros:
Use your own songs; Record mode allows you to make up your own dances; Tries to cram a lot of content onto disc
Cons:
Direction columns too far apart; Made up steps don't always synch with music; Creature avatars are poorly designed and animated
  • Graphics 3 stars - Click for rating criteria
  • Sound 4 stars - Click for rating criteria
  • Gameplay 3.5 stars - Click for rating criteria
  • Story 0 stars - Click for rating criteria
  • Interface 3 stars - Click for rating criteria
  • Multiplayer 4 stars - Click for rating criteria

Drop a beat and break a hip -- at the same time -- thanks to Codemasters' innovative new dance game.

yahoo

By: Justin LeeperPosted: 1 Sep 2006

Kevin Federline -- better known as Britney Spears' baby-daddy -- can both dance and DJ, so why can't you? Dance Factory from Codemasters finally gives you the chance. Gone are the days when you were at the mercy of game-makers to pick songs for you. Now, you can use your own tunes and even customize your own steps.

But we're trying to break dance before we can square dance here; let's start from the top. Dance Factory is a lot like the DDR series in most respects. Using a pad (or the controller if you're lazy), you hit directions as arrows travel up the screen. Sometimes you'll need to hit two steps simultaneously, while other instances require you to hold one step down for a prolonged period of time. Unfortunately, the directions are far too spread out on Dance Factory, making it often difficult to see upcoming steps. It's hard on your peripheral vision.

The game has some licensed tracks, of course -- Pussycat Dolls, Tim McGraw, and Kool and the Gang among them -- but the list is extremely short. Why? Dance Factory wants you to tell it what jams to fire up. After it's booted, you're encouraged to remove the disc and pop in your own CDs. Dance Factory will then make dances out of any or all of the songs, which you can then play -- all while the disc is sitting on your table. Getting it to create a song usually takes less than 30 seconds, during which you can play a 3D puzzle game called Cubric. We recommend just reading a book or something instead, though, as it's a poor puzzler.

How well does this system work? We did a little science experiment, grabbing various CDs from different genres and checking it out. Appropriately, the first song was the Beastie Boys' "Ch-Check It Out." The resulting song was decent; sometimes it was on rhythm and sometimes it wasn't. We followed up with a more abstract pick: Devo's "Praying Hands." This was worse, as step placement seemed totally random. Not a very good start. We got back on track with Outkast's "Bombs Over Baghdad," which did a lot better and was pretty close to the steps we'd expect in something like DDR.

Feeling cocky, we plugged in some hard rock: Rollins Band's "Starve." It was surprisingly on point. Sublime's "Doin' Time" didn't fare as well, and steps didn't come close to matching the slow tempo. Deee-Lite's hit dance track, "Groove Is In The Heart" was another so-so number -- despite being a song we thought would excel. Finally, Kanye West's "Gold Digger" and Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" rocked the party that rocked the body, as the best two yet.

CRITICS' SCORES from Gamerankings.com

Date Source Score
22 Aug 2006 IGN 8.5/10
1 Sep 2006 Electronic Gaming Monthly 4.0/10
1 Sep 2006 Yahoo! Games 3.5/5
5 Sep 2006 1UP 2.0/10
5 Sep 2006 Jolt Online Gaming UK 7.0/10
8 Sep 2006 Games Radar 3.0/10

Critics' Average: 3 stars

Dance Factory

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