After a brief revisit to Dance Dance Revolution Konamix, my first Dance Dance Revolution game, I continued my journey through the series with the next game, Dance Dance Revolution Extreme. The series continues to slowly evolve (if it ain't broke...), although this game does add two main new modes which are a mission mode and a "party" mode that features mini-games. Otherwise the game's core modes are pretty much the same as its predecessor, DDRMAX2 Dance Dance Revolution.
The mission mode has over a hundred short challenges, such as "don't make more than four mistakes" and "don't press any of the left/right arrows". The challenges have a good amount of variety and feature twists such as the arrow indicators moving from top to bottom instead of bottom to top, but they quickly become extremely difficult. Some of the challenges seem particularly pointless, such as the ones that require you to practically memorize a section of a song, or ones that require you earn a specific rating (e.g. "get a C rating", not "get a C rating or better"). Still, it provides more of a change than the DDR series has seen in a while.
The mini-games are even more pointless, although this mode does introduce some EyeToy-specific games. I was curious, so I got an EyeToy specifically to try out this mode. Setting up the EyeToy is as simple as plugging it into the console's USB port, and although it didn't work well at first, after adjusting the lighting in my room it seemed to work fine. The resolution is still pretty poor, and the mini-games are all fairly stupid and annoying, with the only one worth mentioning being the mode where you dance to a song and use left and right hand movements as extra inputs. The songs' arrangements are much simpler in this mode than the core game and you can't choose the difficulty level, but having to wrap my head around using those two extra inputs was enough to keep me occupied. Having to use your hands isn't as immediately enjoyable as the regular feet-only mode since it takes much more concentration on the timing to get the hand gestures exactly right, but I enjoyed it overall and it's nice to see another addition, albeit fairly minor, to the franchise.
This edition also changes things up by making the dance characters unlockable, which is kind of a drag. Also, they tried to go for a more "hip" interface with fonts that are intended to look more "street", but I wasn't feeling it. One downside to the game is that it recycles so many songs from previous games, but with so many entries under its belt this isn't really surprising. Overall this was a slightly more interesting entry in the series than usual, although the additional modes are hardly essential. Which isn't to say it's a bad game, as the core DDR experience still provides plenty of entertainment. Anyway, next up for me is this game's direct sequel, uncreatively titled Dance Dance Revolution Extreme 2. We'll have to see if it provides any surprises, but based on DDRMAX2 I'm guessing it will be pretty much the same as this game but just with different music.