CGRundertow BOOM BOOM ROCKET for Xbox 360 Video Game Review


I see what they did there. I see what these
jokers did. Sure, you can mention Fantavision all you want, what with the fireworks display
during a flyby of a city scene at night. That’s all well and good. But every other aspect
of this game – EVERY other aspect of this game – is dripping with sweet, syrupy, Dance
Dance Revolution nostalgia. I’ve needed this kind of nostalgia for a while now. But
the problem with nostalgia is that you can never go back… I’m gettin’ all teary.
Blow some things up while a techno remix of classical music plays in the background, I
need to compose myself. There we go. Boom Boom Dollar… erm, Rocket…
broke into the music-gaming scene long after said music-gaming scene shriveled and was
put on life support. This wasn’t going to go toe-to-toe with Guitar Hero or Rock Band.
It was positioned in an entirely different direction – toward the then-dormant DDR end
of the spectrum. Heck, the name itself evokes DDR, and specifically a song from 1st Mix
that I’ve already cited by accident. They even used the same font as the original DDR
logo! It’s quite obvious that this thing wanted to be a refreshing return to the arrow-based
dance gaming of yore. As such, it supports your DDR pad, in addition to the standard
XBox controller or even your favorite guitar. But while its range of support is admirable,
I have to say, this particular setup for actual gameplay is confusing as all hell. Music is
a linear progression, bar after bar, note after note. That’s how you can tell what
order to play them in. What BBR tries to do is mix it up a bit, and spread the fireworks
out across the screen, meaning you sometimes have to read backward and forward and sideways
and… frankly, it’s enough to make an experienced DDR player’s eyes bleed. You thought Boost
and Reverse were bad; try having two notes on extreme opposite sides of the screen, as
you try to judge whether they’re to be hit simultaneously or a half-beat apart from each
other. As much as I dig this brave new aesthetic, from a practicality standpoint it doesn’t
really work that well. If you’re not working toward a uniform point, timing is very difficult
to judge, especially when sightreading. It’s the same problem I had with Samba de Amigo. But the music almost makes up for it. Included
are 10 tracks which bring classical music into the new millennium, with titles like
“1812 Overdrive,” “Game Over Beethoven,” and a downloadable 5-song expansion featuring
“Sting of the Bumblebee” and “Explode to Joy.” It’s not quite BanYa-tier, but
don’t hold that against them. I’d still pick up this soundtrack as an album if it
were made available as such. And then it’d make me want to go play Canon-D and Beethoven
Virus. But that’s just how I roll. You can’t go back to the days when DDR was
relevant. It just ain’t happening. Konami managed to show up late to the genre they
themselves created, whether it’s their misexecution of DDR here in the states, or their misexecution
of Beatmania (which I’ve already covered,) or that train wreck they called Rock Revolution.
Boom Boom Rocket evokes the ghost of the prime of the dance game era, but then calls into
conversation its very existence as a ghost. And then shoots a firework through it, just
to prove that it’s no longer substantial.

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