Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: B-Boy

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Electronic Theatre ImageParappa the Rapper is the gaming equivalent of marmite. However, whether you love it or hate it, its release way back in 1996 popularised a genre that, despite never truly becoming widespread, has inspired many imitations and spawned one of the most popular attractions of many arcades; the Rhythm game. The genre has evolved from its humble beginnings on the PlayStation Controller to the Dance Mat-based craze that swept through Arcades in recent years. Although jumping up-and-down has fitness and comedy benefits, it is still the domain of hyperactive teenage girls and drunk people. Unfortunately the former do not spend any real amount on videogames and the latter, well they probably can’t remember why they did it anyway. Naturally, when a genre shows promise like this, somebody will want to capitalise on the popularity and make a version for the videogame buying public and we all know what that means; bring out the gangstaz, the bling and the Hip-Hop and urbanize it. Enter SONY Computer Entertainment Incorporated, renowned masters of taking a genre and making it “hip”. The game? B-Boy.

For those not in the know, a B-Boy, or B-Girl, is a person devoted to Hip-Hop andElectronic Theatre Image frequently the gymnastic style of dancing known as Break-Dancing. Sounds like a great basis for a more mature Rhythm game does it not? The premise of B-Boy is hardly Oscar winning, you play as an up-and-coming B-Boy learning the ropes from a seasoned professional. After you have created your character in a similar manner to THQ’s WWE SmackDown! Vs. Raw 2007, you start the game with only four basic moves from which all other moves are defined. After mastering the basics in a brief Tutorial, it’s up to the player to carve-out a name for themselves in the local dance scene by winning dance-off battles. In order to do this, players are graded primarily on timing. The players avatar is surrounded by a ring that shows the rhythm of the song, with small rotating notches illustrating the start of each bar and the drumbeats, with a yellow gauge showing the breaks. The four Face Buttons initiate each of the basic Stances, with a Electronic Theatre Imagecombination of the D-Pad and Face Buttons used to pull-off more complex moves. In order to sustain these moves, the player must tap the R1 Button in time with the drums. Bonus Points are earned by initiating new moves at the start of a bar, keeping time and “freezing” during breaks. However, as expected, advanced techniques are not available to the player at the start and must by learned from opponents during battles. These moves can then be attempted in the game’s HUB, with each move given several Levels that can attained through practice, with higher Levels allow players to pull-off moves for longer and with greater style.

Each battle has a series of rounds in which the player and opponent are judged on a range of aspects including mastery of basic Stances and rhythm. As the competitors show-off their skills they earn Medals based on their performance, it is then up to their opponent to take the Medals by outperforming their opponents in the judged categories. The player with the most Medals at the end of the rounds is considered the winner.

Although the actual rhythm-based gameplay is fairly amusing, it doesn’t really keep the attention of anyone but fans of Break-Dancing due to its fairly repetitive nature and limited variety of music. The player’s moves are also not directly linked to the player’s input, making the player slightly uninvolved in proceedings, although this slightly-delayed system allows the game to show-off some impressive Motion-Captured animation which is almost flawless throughout. The Career Mode is also quite bland, with challenges lacking any variety other than the judged topics and increased difficulty.

Although the Character Models are exceptionally well animated and nicely detailed, the backgrounds are all uninspired ghetto-themed locales with small, average looking crowds. There are also occasional Camera issues, some of which can be more than slightly detrimental to a players performance, as from time-to-time the critical Electronic Theatre ImageRhythm Bar can become obscured, making changes far more difficult. Although the music is of a good standard, it will likely only appeal to a niche due to its lack of diversity. The sound effects and Voice-Acting is also decent, but since their instances are few-and-far-between, they are hardly a selling point.

B-Boy is a novel twist on the genre, but is unlikely to become as big a seller as perhaps SONY Computer Entertainment Incorporated would have hoped, due to it’s limited appeal to the vast majority of Rhythm game fans. However, despite this, it is the only Break-Dancing game available and is of a good enough standard to find sales to fans of the art. There are better Rhythm games available, but B-Boy is about the best of the Hip-Hop bunch.







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