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Dancing with the Stars

Score: 52%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Activision
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Rhythm

Graphics & Sound:

Dancing With the Stars is a new type of dance game to hit the market. It has a very different look and feel from the current dance games. Graphically, it's very pretty. You can choose to dance with various celebs from the Dancing With the Stars TV show. They wear costumes to match the style dance they're doing. If you watch the background with the dancers performing for you, they are actually doing the tango or foxtrot or whatever style they're supposed to be doing. It is nice to watch, if you like watching dancing. The celebrity likenesses are very well done, and the characters are amazing. The hair flows and bounces as if it were real, and the costumes look like they are made from real fabrics.

The song choice felt l was a little limited. There's only 36 songs total, with only 8 unlocked at the beginning, I believe. The majority of them are just plain boring to me. I mean I know they had to fit the style of dancing that they're doing, but on the So You Think You Can Dance TV show, they manage to choreograph the same style dances to more popular music. I can't say I have watched the Dancing With the Stars TV show to know if is the same music or not. Also, you can only play the songs as the couple that is supposed to dance them, meaning you can't dance to Cha Cha No. 1 as Emmitt Smith, only as Joey Lawrence.


Dancing With the Stars gives you a few different options to play. Single Player is where you start to unlock more things. When you start Single Player, you're given the choice of several different couples from the show including Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke, Mario Lopez & Karina Smirnof, Joey McIntyre & Ashly DelGrosso, and several more. You then choose which partner of the couple you want to play as and whether or not you're Amateur or Professional. Each couple has four specific songs/dance styles to do. The different styles include the Jive, Tango, Paso Double, and Foxtrot. There are 10 styles total. Each couple has a set order that you play the songs in. After the end of each song, you're given a score of 1 to 10 from three judges: Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, and Bruno Tonioli. If you get 23 total points, you are clear to go on to the next song. A new high score on that song will get your initials entered in the hall of fame. If you complete all 4 songs, you'll unlock another couple to play as, but only on the level you just beat. Completing all 4 as an amateur will only unlock the next couple on amateur level.

Quickplay allows you to just choose any of the songs that you have unlocked and play. If you get a new high score inside Quickplay, it will also add your initials to the high scores list. The game keeps the top 3 scores on each song. Multiplayer allows you to play either with or against a friend. If you choose to play Versus, you can either alternate turns dancing or you can dance at the same time. In Cooperative, you play four songs as if you were in Single Player mode, only now you'll dance together - one of you leads with the other following. The player who is winning a Multiplayer game glows green.

Practice allows you to choose any song that is unlocked and play any segment of it, or even the full song, until you get the hang of it. That way if you're having problems with a certain part of a song, you can play it over and over until you can beat it in Single Player mode.


You know that "game" you used to play when you were a little kid where you put your two index fingers together and told your friend to watch your fingers. You'd move them around for a little bit, and then suddenly split them apart to try and make your friend's eye cross. That's kinda what I felt like playing Dancing with the Stars, only in reverse. Since the arrows come from each side of the screen, you have to essentially watch both sides of the TV at once. Maybe that's not too hard on a small screen, but one the 51" TV I have, it's just plain painful shifting back and forth.

Honestly, just getting used to dancing by moving your hands instead of your feet is hard. Moving the Nunchuk in one direction, the Wii-mote in a different direction and hitting the buttons simultaneously is complicated and not easy to get accustomed to. Since the arrows don't scroll together, it's also very hard to tell when it's a double and you're supposed to be hitting both sides at the same time. The dance steps do seem to match the dance style though, so if you listen to the song, you'll have an advantage. For example, waltz steps have a lot of hold arrows, which does give it a more flowing waltz feel. The Special Moves like the Mashed Potato and the Locomotion were easy to get used to, though, since they feel very natural. They were my favorite part of the game.

Game Mechanics:

Dancing With the Stars is played using the Wii-mote and the Nunchuk. You'll see two icons in the middle of the bottom of the screen with paths leading to them from either side. Those icons are your targets. The arrows will travel down the paths from the outside towards the center. Each arrow is a different color, orange is left, blue is up, purple is right, and green is down, to make it easier to recognize. But don't count on that to help you too much because they all change to gold when they are "Flair Step" arrows. Flair Steps are worth more points. There are also hold arrows. You can tell them by the faint bars connecting one arrow to the next. Unfortunately, it's a little too faint, so quite often it's very difficult to tell you're supposed to be holding. Also, you only have to hold it exactly to the second arrow. You don't actually hit the second arrow, you release the button there, even though it looks like you should hit it.

This is going to sound confusing to play, and it is, so bear with me here. The arrows coming down the left path are to be hit using the Nunchuk. You swing it in the direction the arrow is pointing and press the (Z) button exactly as the arrow hits the Nunchuk icon in the center. The arrows coming down the right path, you do the exact same thing with the Wii-mote to hit. You swing it in the direction the arrow points, and press the (B) button exactly as the arrow hits the Wii-mote icon. There are also several dance moves thrown in. You'll see a bubble coming down the path with a picture of a person. When it hits the center, it'll tell you what it wants you to do. For example, when you see "Maracas," you're going to put your hands together and shake the controllers back and forth pretending that they are maracas.

Overall, Dancing With the Stars is a pretty game to watch, ok to listen to, but just plain painful to play. It is neat being able to do the hand jive or twist, but actually hitting the "steps", I felt like I was trying to dance on my hands instead of my feet. Any "dance" game where you can't use a dance pad at all is just a bad idea, especially when playing it with the controllers doesn't feel natural for the majority of the moves. I would recommend this only if you really love the show and just want to be able to watch the celebs and hear the songs they play.

-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl

Sony PlayStation 3 Cars: Mater-National Microsoft Xbox 360 Switchball

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