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  • Results from Game Design Challenge: Reboot!

    - Danny Cowan

  • Chris Mendle, Independent Game Developer, Dance Dance Battalion

    A reboot of the original Xbox Steel Battalion games and their recent Kinect incarnation.

    Giant robot/mech games are great. Rhythm games are great. Giant robots and dancing, why not? Like in so many 80's movies, fights are settled with a dance-off. But with explosions.

    The original Steel Battalion was known for its steep learning curve. The Kinect sequel was known for being difficult to control. With a revamped Kinect control scheme and its rhythm/action focus, Dance Dance Battalion takes care of both issues. While a definite departure from the series, DDB will appeal to a new audience. In addition, DDB's gameplay modes and difficulty settings will appeal to, variously, hardcore rhythm game players, mecha aficionados, or both. And the original's famous crazy huge controller has not been forgotten.

    In the basic version of the game both dancing and weapons are controlled via Kinect and Xbox controller. Instead of the original's control scheme where Kinect would have you working the cockpit controls with your hands, DDB (played in 3rd person view) maps your body movements to those of your Vertical Tank, as seen in 3rd person view. VT's have also been given greater agility to make the dancing more engaging. Weapons are fired with the Xbox controller. Hardcore users will want the Fullmetal Control Suit (affectionately called the "dorksuit" by fans) - bits of Gundam-looking armor - breastplate, gauntlets, greaves, etc with buttons for firing weapons.

    Missions and settings vary, but basically all the factions from previous games are coming together to beat each other with heavy ordnance and dance moves. Online multiplayer modes allow players to challenge each other as well as to form dance teams ("Dance Battalions") who take on each other.

    Gameplay is like a combination of Just Dance and Space Channel 5 with dance sequences similar to the up/down/left/right/shoot sequences of the latter. Up/down/left/right dance moves are controlled via Kinect, shooting by the Xbox controller. Certain movement/button combinations and sequences will trigger combos and special weapons.

    An extra mode recreates all missions from the original and online modes of Line of Contact in glorious HD, using the original controller.

    Graphics are lighter and brighter and more cartoony, in keeping with the tone of DDB. Music consists of dance, metal and hip-hop tracks as well as remixed Capcom themes from the ages including the Megaman series. And Guile's theme, of course.


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