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In an ambitious attempt to get more people into the wonderful world of the console, game developers are designing and creating new methods of interactivity. This one sees us move away from fishing rods and guns to amore gentle pastime, that of music.
Beatmania, following in the footsteps of others before it, like Parappa the Rapper and Bust-a-Groove is released later this month by Konami, and is one of the latest games to come from Japan.
Based around a keyboard and turntable controller, the game consists of playing and scratching tunes to the instructions set out before you within the game, in a sort of "Simon Says" style.
The aim of the game is to follow a series of notes dropping from the top of the screen. Hit the note at the right time and the crowd you are playing to is happy which earns you points. Fluff up and cause an abysmal racket, and you'll be booed off stage and won't complete that level.
The game, which allows you to experience a number of different music styles ranging from a couple of mellow reggae tracks to some hardcore techno, increases the difficulty level as it goes on, so at the end you have to be very nimble handed to get the crowd's approval.
Once you've completed these tunes and fought a couple of record-scratching battles with the game's in-house DJs, which are admittedly very hard, all that is left is to play and sing along to modern tracks like Moloko, that are included in the game.
Beatmania, although it is great fun to play, is more expensive than a usual PlayStation game because it comes with a dedicated controller.
This is one game that should keep the little ones busy for hours, and at the same time perhaps give them some valuable play with music. And it's good to see an alternative to the usual guns and violence entertainment that is associated with the humble console.--Stuart Miles