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DJ Star offers the chance for those less rhythmically able amoungst us to have a go at mixing music. Players show their worth in front of the stylus controlled decks to progress through the ranks of DJ stardom.
I remember playing a game in late 2000 on the Playstation called Music. I was terrible at it. I've always been clueless with music games. Music was what is usually referred to as a sampler. There were all sorts of musical samples to put into a proper track - the best stuff I could create sounded like a gorilla had grabbed hold of my dead grandma's urn and guzzled down her ashes.
My cousin, though, was more musically inclined. I borrowed his memory card one day and was astounded at what he had managed to create. Proper tracks out of these midi samples that wouldn't have sounded out of place in a nightclub, Matt had mastered Music on a level I couldn't ever hope to reach. That's one of my gripes about music games. You need to have rhythm and musical nous to be able to play them. So inserting DJ Star into my DS was a daunting task.
The first level felt like a fat, purple train filled with love pumping in and out of my ears as I played my first set.
But I was pleasantly surprised. The story is your average Cowell waffle injected with a bit of 'street'. You control some young punk who wants to be recognised as a proper DJ and works his way through the scene. Breaking open your piggy bank, you buy your first ever set of decks from a charity shop, which fill up the bottom screen.
The first level felt like a fat, purple train filled with love pumping in and out of my ears as I played my first set. Having to control the beats per minute, I had to mix tracks from the set list to get people up onto the dance floor. What's this? Calvin Harris and Acceptable in the 80s? Guru Josh Project with Infinity? Blow me, I've just unlocked Jamiroquai's Canned Heat and now I've got to mix them all together! And I'm quite good at it!
There's a brilliant range of music here in DJ Star. However, as I played along I realised that I was probably being favourable because of a nostalgic quality. These are all songs that I ignored on the radio, then leapt up to the dance floor in a club when they came on as I was steaming drunk and didn't care how fat I felt anymore.
There's utterly nothing in the way of cutting-edge music here in DJ Star. People who practise decks in real life will condemn DJ Star like Kurt Cobain's band mates are condemning the Nirvana game due out soon. The problem was that after I got past the nostalgia factor with the tracks - like the girly little pop-boy that I am - I noticed that there was little in the way of 'game' here. It's more like a simulation on your driving test.
Here's my future dilemma. I could play DJ Star again, or I could just download the songs from iTunes and listen to them on the bus.
I was happy enough to sit back and just listen to the music, I may as well have sat there with an iPod brimming with music that is so last year. Calvin Harris has reached another plain musically and, c'mon, who's heard from Kelis in the last five years? The chances of winning a real-life rap battle with this selection are about as slim as winning a poker game with tarot cards.
The gamey elements are barely worth a mention. There's an 'atmosphere' trigger mid-set where you need to liven up the floor through mini-games; they're a laughable tacked-on afterthought that represent, to me, a sad indication of where games are headed these days. And this is where I come back to Music on the Playstation.
There's an option to create your own music with broad samples such as hip-hop and house, I'm sure if I gave it to my cousin he would astound me again with something incredible and ridiculously off-the-wall. My efforts sounded like a gorilla throwing up my dead grandma's ashes into some kind of urn...
Here's my future dilemma. I could play DJ Star again, or I could just download the songs from iTunes and listen to them on the bus. Or I could just give it to my cousin, maybe he would give it the home it deserves.
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