DDR Max Dance Dance Revolution 6th Mix — 2Q2015 issue

A new era of DDR

Let’s have a quick his­to­ry review, shall we? Kon­a­mi cre­at­ed the Dance Dance Rev­o­lu­tion series in 1998 and by 2002, there were at least six entries in the main series. I’d gath­er that this meant DDR was pret­ty pop­u­lar, but you would nev­er hear Kon­a­mi say that too loud. At some point, how­ev­er, some­one real­ized the mag­ic that was DDR need­ed to come into the mod­ern era. So, every­thing that was relat­ed to the first five entries in the series — with the excep­tion of the song wheel and dif­fi­cul­ty cat­e­gories — was thrown out in favor of a com­plete over­haul. DDR Max was the result and with it comes a mixed bag of mod­ern and old DDR.

Graph­i­cal­ly, Max rep­re­sents the begin­ning of a new era. Sure, it resem­bles cur­rent DDR games because they use the song wheel, but the col­ors became a lit­tle brighter and the lit­tle touch­es used to illus­trate the dif­fer­ent dif­fi­cul­ties and cat­e­gories are empha­sized more. The inter­face is much eas­i­er to read, though the addi­tion of the Groove Radar still has some ways to go here. It’s not exact­ly help­ful in pro­vid­ing digestible infor­ma­tion that helps make quick informed deci­sions. That’s a com­plaint that still stands today, so much so that I tend to ignore the meter alto­geth­er. Also, the foot rat­ing is miss­ing and song dif­fi­cul­ty rat­ing num­bers have yet to come (that’s not until Max 2). But the song wheel has been fresh­ened up so it looks a lot bet­ter and is a lit­tle more palatable.

Musi­cal­ly, the selec­tion is among the best in the series. The one thing about Max that’s notable about the music is the lack of a Para­noia mix. For a series trade­mark song, its absence is imme­di­ate­ly notice­able, and quite frankly, drags the mix down a few notch­es. There’s a few throw away songs like Share My Love and Dive, but over­all it’s quite a few excel­lent choic­es thrown togeth­er to make a good song list. The vari­ety is nice and it feels like a good fresh start for a series that had a lot of repeats in the first five games.

I don’t go back and play 6th Mix often, most­ly because I can’t deal with a lack of Para­noia in my life at this point. As a DDR old head and one who owns the Amer­i­can ver­sion as well as the Japan­ese ver­sion, I applaud the change up that Kon­a­mi pur­sued. It was a bold move that paid off in the long run: DDR still looks like a lot like this form, even with at least eight more games under its belt as a series. Some­times, a change in pace is need­ed to keep the dance groove going.

DanceDance Rev­o­lu­tion trivia

* DDR Max is the first game to fea­ture a 10-foot dif­fi­cul­ty song. Max 300 was offi­cial­ly the first 10-foot­er in the his­to­ry of the series, though it would­n’t receive its offi­cial rat­ing until Max 2 was released.

* Max 300, the boss song of the mix, fea­tures 573 steps in its Heavy dif­fi­cul­ty chart. 573 is known as the Kon­a­mi num­ber, a num­ber that relates to the roman­ized pro­nun­ci­a­tion of the com­pa­ny’s name.

* Max is the first DDR game to fea­ture the Light/Standard/Heavy dif­fi­cul­ty scheme, dance point sys­tem, speed mods, Extra Stage/One More Extra Stage and freeze arrows. The dif­fi­cul­ty scheme would stay in place until the release of DDR Super­NO­VA in 2006.

* Two songs intro­duced in the mix, Flash in the Night and Fol­low Me, are the only two songs in the series that do not have an offi­cial foot rat­ing. These two songs were intro­duced in 6th Mix, which is the only mix that does not use the foot rat­ing sys­tem. They have nev­er appeared in lat­er mix­es, which gave offi­cial Kon­a­mi num­bered rat­ings to all songs.