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Dancing Stage: Hottest Party Review

Well, hottest since that time we burnt the sausage rolls

If you've ever set foot in an arcade at any point in the last five or six years, you won't have been able to miss the dominating presence of the countless dancing games that have taken over. The most popular of these, Dancing Stage (also known as Dance Dance Revolution in America and Japan) has spawned well over 60 different versions and console releases, leading to dodgier dancing than a Friday night in Hull.

Hottest Party is the first Wii game of the series and offers 50 exclusive songs, ranging from original dance tracks to remixes of Dancing Stage classics. Of these 50 songs, 26 of them are dance covers of popular songs spanning a number of decades: from older classics like Hot Stuff by Donna Summer, Karma Chameleon by Culture Club and You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) by Dead Or Alive to dance mixes of more recent offerings by the likes of Nickelback, Coldplay and Scissor Sisters, there should be something here that will appeal to gamers of any generation.

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In case you haven't played a dancing game before, let us quickly fill you in. Dancing Stage Hottest Party comes with a dance mat with four directional arrows on it, like a big D-Pad. On the screen, arrows travel upwards toward markers at the top. You have to time your steps on the mat so you step on the right arrow as it crosses the marker. Hey presto, you're dancing.

It's not as simple as that, though: as well as normal steps, there are special arrows that each have different effects when you trigger them (see the "Four Step Programme" box). Not only that, but this Wii version adds hand movements to the series for the first time, with the Remote and Nunchuk coming into play.

Basically, as well as the arrows, there are also orange diamonds with controller symbols on them. These only appear on the left and right markers and have to be triggered by shaking either the Nunchuk (for the left ones) or Wii Remote (for the right ones).

While we could take or leave the different arrows, which feel a bit gimmicky (after all, the game even refers to them as "gimmicks"), the hand movements do really add something to the game since you feel more like you're actually properly dancing with your whole body rather than just stepping on arrows. Hardcore Dancing Stage experts needn't worry though: the hand movements and "gimmicks" can be turned off if you want, leaving you with just the basic arrows.

Conveniently, the dance mat plugs into the Wii's GameCube controller ports and any old GameCube mats you may have lying around (such as the one that came with Dancing Stage Mario Mix) are compatible too, which is handy for multiplayer action. Should you not have enough mats though (or are just very, very lazy), the game can also be controlled using a Classic controller or standard GameCube controller. Obviously though, playing it like that is the equivalent of buying a bike and just walking alongside it everywhere instead of riding it: the end result is the same but you're not getting the full benefit of the experience.

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Hottest Party is extremely enjoyable and will satisfy both beginners and die-hard Dancing Stage experts. If you want to get your groove on, this is the best way to satisfy your dancing desires.


11 comments so far...
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  1. Oni-91 Wednesday 2nd Apr 2008 at 16:36

    There are three things about this game that annoy me:

    1) every licence is a cover. And they're not good covers (like Two Months Off from DDR SuperNOVA 2) either...
    2) there are no extra mods. No speed changes, arrow-flipping frippery, not even Hidden. Even the very first DDR had Hidden!
    3) the fact that it's only got 50 songs. Later mixes have had at least 70, and were available for a lot cheaper.

    Still, I'll be buying, because it's a DDR for a Nintendo console that doesn't have Mario or Disney plastered on it! (yes, there was one for the Game Boy Color. Yes, it was terrible.)

  2. Gordon Ramsey Wednesday 2nd Apr 2008 at 17:11

    Ł49.99 in high street retailers, off it's Ł34.99. I may get it seeing as I already have the Dancing Stage Mario Mix dance mat and I'm a fan of DDR games.

  3. Luneth-Arceus Wednesday 2nd Apr 2008 at 18:37

    When I first saw this game on the incoming page of the mag I didn't think it would work, but because I only ever play DDR when my friends drags me down to the arcade, this might be well worth it:)

  4. Colonel-Austin Wednesday 2nd Apr 2008 at 19:03

    i only read the top paragraph. seriously, you're gonna have the Hull mafia on you soon. feel free to insult somewhere else, though.

  5. uster dog Wednesday 2nd Apr 2008 at 19:32


  6. BenSpeirs Wednesday 2nd Apr 2008 at 22:24

    Nice review, almost spot on!

    And yeah, I have never seen it for Ł49.99, the most I've seen it at is Ł39.99.

  7. Bookworm92 Thursday 3rd Apr 2008 at 12:01

    Great review... I should be getting mine tomorrow. Yay.

    I've seen it for Ł49.99 - in HMV. So I avoided buying it there. :P

  8. Oni-91 Thursday 3rd Apr 2008 at 21:09

    Nice review, almost spot on!

    And yeah, I have never seen it for Ł49.99, the most I've seen it at is Ł39.99.

    BEN!!!! Didn't know you were on!

  9. misspinkie Sunday 13th Apr 2008 at 02:26

    :( I have actually bought this game and soon traded it in for summit better! Found it hard to control - at one point the options were spinning around on their own and kept putting me on the expert mode when I was only wanting the easy option! Cover songs were horrible and naff, no substitute for the real thing! Interesting use of the wiimote and nunchuck tho, liked that but the overall game really naff!!!! Can't wait for wii fit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not recommended, lets hope they bring out other dance mat games with original songs! A poor 3 out of 10!!! :cry:

  10. Muir Sunday 11th May 2008 at 16:27

    Having bought this a week ago on the same day as Dwaggie, (yes we planned it that way) I must say I love it! I havent played the gamecube version as I couldnt afford it back then. But this game is great! Even on beginners level, after 3 songs, you start breaking a sweat if you do it right. (And yes, Im in good shape - 5 feet tall, 110 lbs)

  11. Sharee1 Saturday 13th Jul 2013 at 00:45

    hi all!! is there anyone that could help me plz in setting up the dance mat for this game. I have a wii that i brought last yr which doesnt have the game box connection on the side or back like the one that i had about 5 yrs ago,do i need one like that so the mat connects or is there a connection piece that i can get to add to go with the wii that i have now, cheers and thank you in advance for any feed back

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