Testing Namco's Digital Drums and Sony's EyeToy
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The quest for quality kinetic-gaming entertainment continues as the Duo take up drumsticks and try out a Namco game for the PS2 called Taiko Drum Master. (Taiko drums are the big Japanese drums used at ceremonies and sumo matches--and Namco includes the electronic version with the game.)
Angela waxes enthusiastic about the manual, let alone the play, but both Steve and Angela agree that the game--a sort of karaoke for percussion, with on-screen cues that players must replicate as closely as possible--is tremendously fun. (One quibble emerges about the drumsticks themselves, however; either wrist guards or better grips are sorely needed.) As for the kinetic aspect of the game, Steve demonstrates the hitting and tapping motions involved as Angela explains that enthusiastic play--either drumming along with one of the 30-odd tracks included or playing one of the minigames--made for a pleasant arm workout.
It was trivial, however, compared to the Sony EyeToy experience. The EyeToy's not new gear, but the tech's finally coming into its own with more titles, including, sighs Angela, the dreaded Dance Dance Revolution.
EyeToy uses a camera to detect full-body motion and put you literally on screen in the game. You stand about 6 feet from the camera, which is on top of the television, and let it figure out where your head and shoulders are. A few third-party titles use EyeToy technology, but even the games that come with the camera made an impression on the Duo, including a boxing segment that left Angela with serious lactic-acid buildup the next day.
Some of the built-in games, though not the pugilism, are reworked and included in the EyeToy version of Dance Dance Revolution. Steve (rather than the grumbling Angela) tested this title, which requires you to move both your upper body (with motion detected by the EyeToy) and your feet on a specially designed DDR pad. Steve had fun, but Angela carps that the plastic controller pad doesn't lay particularly flat and looks, to her mind, hazardous to sweaty feet.
More to her liking? Sony's EyeToy AntiGrav, which puts you on a hoverboard and into a futuristic racecourse. Steve notes that it's hard to believe it only uses EyeToy and no additional hardware because the game is just so comprehensive.
To control your hoverboard, you use body and hand motions to leap, duck, swat at targets, and maneuver around racecourses and through stunts. The Duo agree that the EyeToy utilizes a lot of data from reading your position and makes it feel quite seamless, though both Steve and Angela had some trouble hitting targets on the left. And they agree that the game provides a real workout; if more titles were as engaging and lively as this one, notes Steve, our nation's obesity epidemic might be much less severe.
Steve: SAVE all
Angela: SAVE everything except Dance Dance Revolution Extreme