PC/Mac/Linux
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System Requirements Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows 2000, or Windows XP, Linux 400 MHz recommended 64 MB of RAM Video card that supports High Color (16-bit color) and has 16MB video RAM Video card with OpenGL drivers DirectX 8.1 compatible sound card with drivers DivX 5 video codec for movie visualizations (www.divx.com)

What is it?

StepMania is a free Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) clone. You can get it at http://www.stepmania.com. Be sure to check back often, as they release newer versions frequently. The base install does not include songs, dancers, or announcers but you can add them in.

How can I add songs, dancers and announcers legally?

This part is tricky. If you own the PC version of DDR you can legally download the dancers, songs and announcers. There are many original artists who offer their songs or custom mixes free for download which gives you some dancing variety. I have added dance steps to a couple songs I made; you can get them at http://music.ccgr.org/ddr.html There are a few free announcer packs out there too.

How do I play?

When you start the game you get to choose the game mode and difficulty level you wish to play at. Once those are set you?re ready to dance! Different songs have different difficulty levels. Song difficulty is measured in feet. The more feet a song has, the harder it is! You can manually choose your song, have the game do a random one, or you can play roulette. Once you have a song selected, pay attention to the screen. There are 4-6 arrows on the top of your screen. When the song plays arrows will scroll up to the top. Once they align with the arrows on top, you have to push the appropriate direction with your arrow keys or dance pad. You will get various ratings depending on your timing. (Marvelous, Perfect, Great, Good, Boo, or Miss)

Game Play modes:

Single- One person using 4 arrows Solo- One person using 6 arrows Versus-2 People competing Couple-2 People dancing complimentary steps Double-One person dancing on 2 pads

Difficulty Levels

Beginner Light Standard Heavy

How do I win?

There are three stages and if you survive all three you get to enter your initials in a high score list. There are different lists for every difficulty level. If you fail a round the game will be over.

Graphics

The graphics in StepMania are great. This is an excellent clone and in some aspects they look better than the PC version of DDR. If you have the dancers added they require 3D acceleration. Some songs have movies in the background, while others have static images. This program has a nice look and feel to it.

Sound

This depends on your sound card and taste in music. If you add announcers it adds to the game play. I have a smarty-pants announcer that bashes me if I do badly, which I find amusing. The basic sound effects are good as well, but it?s up to you to make them better.

Controls

You can try DDR with your computer keyboard to give it a whirl. If you want to use a Dance Pad you can get any Playstation version and use a converter to make it compatible with your system. Here is a list of compatible adapters: http://www.stepmania.com/stepmania/adapter.php My only gripe on the controls is that I usually have to calibrate my Dance Pad every time I play. It doesn?t seem to remember my settings. It could be that my regular joystick is confusing it, but I?m not sure.

Appropriate?

This all depends on the end user. Some songs and announcers may not be suitable for younger children. Also be careful on how you get the add-ons, many are technically illegal. Otherwise this game can be fun for the whole family.

Final Ratings

Graphics B+ Sound B Game Play A Controls B Appropriate A Stability B

Overall 84%

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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