Aim of the game: a 4-arrow mat (up, down, left, right), then arrows that appear in front of the screen, going upwards to a flashing marker. You must validate these arrows by stepping on the corresponding panel of the mat, once those on the screen are exactly reaching the marker.
For starters, easiest levels have sequences of 1 or 2 arrows per bar. Progressing throughout difficulty will have you make validate half-beats or quarter-beats (8ths or 16ths of bar), even "Freeze Arrows", long arrows that have to be kept on hold until the end part instead of just being tapped. Trickiest tunes even comprise changes of rhythm or scrolling stops or at most, rather physically-demanding step sequences...
A life gauge determines success or failure of the song. It fills up with correct arrows tapped, and depletes when arrows are missed. If the gauge isn't completely depleted when the song ends, it's a success. Otherwise, Game Over.
Unlike other rhythm games from the BEMANI family, DDR is made so that beginners get accustomed very quickly, thanks to its "Beginner" level. Thus, if you ever have the opportunity... step!
Not the hardest song, but this shows it well ^_^
How about In The Groove, then?
In The Groove, made by the ROXOR Games team, has been created as a response to the lack of new DDR games during the relatively long period between the respective release dates of arcade versions of DDR Extreme and DDR SuperNOVA. Built upon StepMania's game engine (see the article) and the same principles as DDR, ITG shows some noticeable upgrades:
- percentage score
- Mines (to avoid) and Hands (striking 3 or 4 arrows at the same time, requiring the player to use his/her hands)
- more scroll-modding options
- and "Expert" difficulty levels, even more complex than what's to be found on DDR's Heavy or Challenge patterns.
Unfortunately, Konami did not appreciate the existence of this game, and acquired its property rights by legal means... Since I chose not to take part in the constant bickerings between DDRists and ITGists, I will not formulate any opinion nor any speculation. I will only show you one and only...
And there's an even worse step chart for this song!