Dance Dance Revolution: Ultramix (Xbox)Gaming Software
Year Released: 2003
Categories: Interactive/Gaming System Workouts
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Released in 2003, Ultramix was the first DDR game for the Xbox. Ultramix 2, which came a year later, has a number of improvements which probably originated from customer feedback. I'd recommend Ultramix 2 as your first Xbox DDR, but UM is an okay sequel once you've gotten the hang of the game and want some new tunes. A bonus is that it's now a "Platinum Hits" title with a list price of $20.
Ultramix's interface, like that of the two DDRMax games, is patterned after the DDR arcade game. If you're used to the arcade, you might like Ultramix better than Ultramix 2. However, unless you're a numbers junkie, the workout interface is rather clunky and cluttered compared to UM2.
Like UM2, you first enter your weight in the workout screen, and it stores your weight between workouts. But then you have to select a "goal" (either workout time or calories burned) and enter your desired time or calories (I just select the time default, 15 minutes - that's 15 minutes of song-playing time, not real time). Then you select a difficulty; "normal" uses the same difficulties (Light, Standard, Heavy) as the actual game, while "beginner" and "workout" delete some steps to make it easier. After all this setting up, you then go to the song screen and pick your first song.
While the song plays, a calorie gauge (for that song) and a time clock (for the workout session) display at the bottom of the screen.
There's no scoring, grading or failing, but there is a life bar, and if you do poorly, the life bar turns red and a big red "DANGER" flashes on the screen - I find this distracting, and irrelevant. At song's end, a status screen appears listing time/calories remaining toward your goal, today's number of calories burned, overall calories burned, average calories burned per session, and the equivalent of miles jogged, jump rope times and kilometers swimmed. Bottom of screen displays the calories burned for the last song. Thirsty for even more numbers? Then hit A again and get the graph of calories burned each day and your weight change over time, like on UM2. Hit A again to return to the song screen and pick your next song. Once your goal is reached, a rocket-like noise is made and the first stat screen indicates that your goal was achieved. You can keep on going, if you like - I usually do! Up to 4 people can work out simultaneously.
Selecting "Records" from the main menu allows you to view your graph of workouts over time; up to 4 people can be recorded, provided you remember which player number you are. "Options" allows you to select pounds or kilos for weight, and either "free" (every step is counted by the calorie counter - my preference) or "regulation" (only steps in the game are counted).
I like how UM lets you select individual songs as well as change difficulties during the workout, unlike UM2 which selects songs randomly and allows only one difficulty level per session. UM2, however, has a much more streamlined interface, less cumbersome setup and not as much numbers clutter. Honestly, I don't care how much jogging or jump roping I've "done", and those numbers are so arbitrary anyway.
UM's song list isn't as large as UM2's, and there isn't really anything you'd call a monster hit; it's mainly dance and R&B numbers. Still, some songs are very enjoyable, like Healing Vision, Keep On Movin', and Overblast!! If you want "death by jumping", try Candy Heart or Sweet Sweet Magic. One song, Do That Thang, has a real "male eye candy" music video featuring a troupe of Chippendales-like dancers. Distracting, but in a good way :)
I give Ultramix an A minus, mainly for its bargain price.