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Author Topic: REVIEW: Dance Master 3/ Dance Party 3  (Read 8574 times)

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paigeoliver

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REVIEW: Dance Master 3/ Dance Party 3
« on: October 09, 2003, 04:39:53 am »
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3145724360&category=38287&rd=1

Ok, I ordered one of these of ebay because I wanted to see what is up with it, and I wanted to see how hackable it was.

The thing is basically a pirate Nes unit with a dance pad and 3 built in games (Dancing, Pinball, and Tengen Tetris).

Mine was defective right out of the box. The up arrow didn't register. So I cracked it open and saw that one of the plastic/metally trace things coming in from the pad was snapped, and another one was almost broken. It looked like it happened when they screwed it together.

I fixed both of those traces using a pair of staples and some scotch tape. Just staple nothing so you have a flattened staple and then tape the flattened staple across the broken trace (only way I know how to fix membrane style traces, although I am sure there is a better way).

Once repaired the unit functioned fine, and worked flawlessly for the dozen or so songs I played.

Software

Dancing.

The Dance game was really a bit subpar. I had three problems with it. First off it was just too easy. Even on the hardest difficulty level I did every song without any problems (besides the occaisional miss because it was a soft pad, and you can't tell where you are stepping). I am not even a DDR player, and I pretty much mastered this thing first time out (I am a Pump player however).

Secondly the songs were way too long (maybe 4 minutes each), and they would end suddenly, with arrows still on the screen, which would be counted as misses on the final score.

Finally, jump moves are not counted as one move, but as two separate ones. For example, if you have left and right arrows coming at you, then you can bounce on them at the same time and get a single "Perfect", or hit them like BAM, BAM, an 8th second apart and see great, then good both.

Pinball game.

This is basic Nes Pinball. Not the greatest dance pad game, but it works well, and is fun. No issues with this one, except that I couldn't figure out where to rest my feet.

Tetris.

Basic Tengen Tetris with only one player mode available. This is pretty challenging using a dance pad. I wish they would have ripped off Nintendo Tetris instead, as the Nes Tetris' one player mode was superior to the Tengen one.

Hackability

This unit is extremely hackable. Because the dance pad hooks up to a little board that then has wires that lead off to the main Nes PCB. So using the pad for another application (Stepmania), is simply a matter of snipping off the wires and hooking them up to your encoder or joystick hack. (I haven't tested the pinout yet, but I will update once I see if it is common ground or not).

It is also equally easy to hook up different controls to the unit. (For instance an actual joystick, or a better Dance Pad), although I have no idea why you would want to upgrade the pad on this when the software is the problem.

The software resides on a single BLOB style rom, and there would be no easy or simple way to add a standard NES edge connector (if there was then this thing would be AWESOME).

The unit is powered by 4 AA batteries. Inside those just go to the main PCB with two wires, so hacking in an external power supply should be more than doable.

Other notes

You have to reset the with the power button to change games.


Final verdict

Serious DDR and Pump players should probably look elsewhere. The game is amusing, but doesn't even begin to stand up to what it is ripping off.

This is really a better aerobic workout thing then it is a game. I worked up a nice sweat playing, but it simply doesn't get frantic enough to really challenge or hurt me like those hard DDR and Pump songs.

I will probably end up taking the pad off to use the membrane switches to build a Pump it Up pad, and then hooking a joystick up to the remains of the unit inside a wooden box with arcade buttons as a standalone unit that can hook up to the TV.
Acceptance of Zen philosophy is marred slightly by the nagging thought that if all things are interconnected, then all things must be in some way involved with Pauly Shore.

Lilwolf

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Re:REVIEW: Dance Master 3/ Dance Party 3
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2003, 12:44:45 pm »
btw, I'm assuming its a soft pad right?

paigeoliver

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Re:REVIEW: Dance Master 3/ Dance Party 3
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2003, 09:58:37 pm »
Yes, it is a VERY soft pad.
Acceptance of Zen philosophy is marred slightly by the nagging thought that if all things are interconnected, then all things must be in some way involved with Pauly Shore.