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B-Boy - hands-on

For years now,  the "dancing" genre has been dominated by Dance Dance Revolution and its many knockoffs, all of which require players to hop around, rhythmically stomping along to music while a dull cascade of arrows floats by. But it wasn't always that way, and B-Boy - a breakdance sim released nearly two years ago in Europe and only now headed for a US release - is a throwback to a time when dance games were more about rhythm than legwork. It aims to do for breakdancing what Tony Hawk's Pro Skater did for skateboarding: make it accessible to people with zero fitness or leg coordination.

We dove into B-Boy’s campaign mode as we took our tiny dancer through a brief symposium on the topic of Breakin’. We learned all the basic moves from Six Step to the Whirlwind (mapped to the face buttons) and the importance of rhythmically tapping the shoulder buttons as little white markers spin around your breaker as you do these basic steps. Lastly, we were shown the importance of flowing those moves all together.

Once that requisite knowledge had been dropped, we got in our first B-Boy battle to see who had the best dance moves or “flava.” Your opponent goes first, dances about and then sets the score you need to top. As they dance you can do taunts to the side, thus clownin’ them. Then it was our turn to step up and show if we had juice. After failing twice (in close battles) we seem to need a little more juice; getting the rhythm right takes some time.

Once you do successfully serve your competitor, more will come, as you take to the streets and step up to the opposition. With each battle won you get more equipment, new moves that can be assigned to one of many possible button combinations, and other neat stuff.

B-Boy also has a good deal of licensed music and appearances from real B-Boys and Girls, perhaps too numerous to mention, so we won’t just to be safe. It’s coming this summer in the US to both PSP and PS2 (Electric Boogaloo). And if we have done our jobs right, then you won’t notice that all our slang has been lifted from easy pop culture references.

May 22, 2008

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