|Playstation > Whats New > PlayStation Reviews > Staff Review|
|A.P.I Review:||SPICE WORLD|
No.1 No.2 No.3
|Game Type:||Party||Memory Card|
|Review Date:||June 1998||Standard Joypad|
Setting the Scene
Sonys bosses have stated that they aim to eventually get a PlayStation into every home around the world. In order to help achieve this dream they have begun to diversify in the types of game that they are releasing, hoping to attract the people who currently have no interest in the console. Parrappa the Rapper was a great example of their strategy in action and the forthcoming Kula World is another. There is no denying that the largest problem for Sony to overcome is that the majority of Females would still rather do something else other than play videogames. Spice World is a major attempt to start to rectify this situation by producing something specifically designed for the "Girl-Gamer".
It would be fair to day that Spice girls is not a video-game, but more of a video-experience. The game design is unlike anything else we have seen on the console in that there is nothing to define if you have done well or badly, no scoring system and nothing to tell you that you have completed the game. The aim is to create your very own remix of any of the five tracks on offer, choreograph a new dance routine for this track and then direct and record a new video that can be saved onto your memory card and played back at will. Every time you play this game it will be different in some way as the mixing, dancing and editing are all very flexible.
Each of the girls in the group are represented by a very realistic cartoon character (even the recently departed "Ginger" spice). Each character has twenty or so dance moves are that are all nicely animated. By contrast the background graphics are all very plain and bland in comparison with the standards we know can be achieved on the PlayStation.
Sounds and Effects
Each of the five Spice Girls tracks on offer have been taken from the actual official recordings as opposed to being re-recorded by a session group. Each of the songs are split into blocks and played back as samples (rather than just playing them as C.D song tracks), so you have to be impressed with the quality of the sounds when considering the tiny amount of memory that the programmers can use within the PlayStation for this task. Spot effects are used sparsely in the game and although adequate, are nothing special.
To term this product a "game" would be missing the point. The idea behind the game, although almost unique in gaming history, is very simple and as such will possibly only appeal to fans of the group. You start by choosing your favourite spice girl: Sporty, Scary, Posh, Baby or Ginger. Next you take her to the mixing room and after picking one of the five hit songs on offer, you make a personal re-mix of the song. The mixing is a simple affair. Each of the songs are split into nine musical blocks. Each block contains a sample of a few seconds of the actual track. By selecting the blocks in different orders you can re-arrange the song to form something completely new. The actual samples have been cleverly edited so that they will sound alright when mixed up into just about any order, making this process something that can be done by fans as young as five or six years old. With your new mix saved, you can now head off to the Dance studio, where you will firstly be taught how to dance (using a "Parrapa the Rapper" style - press various symbol buttons on your joypad in time to the beat - interface) and then it will be up to you to use some of the moves you have learned to choreograph a new dance routine for the whole band. Its worth mentioning that while you are in the teaching stage, you should write down a few of the button combinations that make up each dance step. Failure to do this will make the choreography stage seem a little dull and pointless as random button pressing will rarely make your Spice Girl do anything more than sway from side to side. Once you have created the steps to go with your song you can then get all of the Girls to dance to it simultaneously, or better still give them all completely individual routines to dance to. Younger fans may need a little help from their older sisters or parents to get through this stage of the game, but anyone over the age or ten should still find it pretty simple to get through. With your dance routine saved you can then put everything together in the television studio and record your very own video. Your task in this final stage of the game is to become the director of the video-shoot, moving the camera position from girl to girl, zooming in and out while they perform their dance routine to your re-mixed track. You can re-record the video until you are happy with the final result whereupon you can save the whole thing (song, dance and video) onto one block of your memory card. I must say that within a couple of hours of picking up this game, you can have a few very impressive tracks saved on your card. I guess the next step would be to connect your PlayStation to a video recorder and put them on tape for everyone to see - this would also prevent you from continually filling up your memory card!
Value for Money
The mere fact that Sony are selling this game at half the price of many new releases is acknowledgement of the lack of long-term playability in this product. Once you have re-mixed all five tracks a few times I feel sure that the interest level in this game will slowly disappear. Even the fifteen minutes of interview video footage with the Spice Girls on offer is hardly enough to keep gamers coming back for months.
enlisted in the help of a couple of female fans of the group to help me
playtest this game one of whom was five and the other almost ten. Both
really enjoyed constructing the re-mixes of the songs, but the younger
of the girls found the co-ordination needed to do the dancing section of
the game far to complicated and quickly lost interest in the game at
this point. The nine year old found this easy and once we had memorised
a few of the button combinations needed to perform the dance moves,
quickly got through this section of the game.
Both of the girls thought that the video editing was great fun and spent ages trying to record a bit where Gerry showed her butt (which they thought was hilarious!). The younger of the girls was captivated by the Spice Girls interview footage and watched it over and over again.
The game encourages you to be creative, which can only be a good thing, but its been aimed at a young female audience - so if you have just completed Final Fantasy 7 and are looking for a new challenge, then you had best give this game a miss!
The scores for this game are those obtained from the female fans rather than myself. I would have given this game a mid 70s mark.