[Review of Konami's Goo! Goo! Soundy PlayStation game, published in Total Control magazine, 1999. Repeated here because everyone loves a really scathing review.]
Name: Goo! Goo! Soundy
Memory card: 1 slot
Get into your dancing shoes, and go out to a nightclub. It’s got to be better than this.
At this year’s ECTS computer games show in London, Japanese games giants Konami was showing off its latest toy, a new controller to plug into your PlayStation. It was a bit unusual, consisting of a large plastic floor mat with pressure sensors built into it. On top it had markings corresponding to the various buttons on the PlayStation controller, the idea being that you move your feet to press the buttons. To demonstrate it they were using what I guess was an early version of Goo! Goo! Soundy, and a long queue of Armani-suited Japanese businessmen visiting the Konami stand took it in turns to make complete prats of themselves trying to dance the right steps in time with the music. My how we laughed.
Well, now we have a finished version of the remarkable Goo! Goo! Soundy, so we can all join in. Assuming that like me and 99.99% of other PlayStation owners you don’t have access to one of those floor mat controllers, you’ll just have to let your fingers do the dancing on a normal controller. The idea is pretty simple, although I have yet to hear a convincing explanation of that ridiculous name.
Bust a hip
When you start the game, you are given an initial choice of six characters, based on six vaguely spiritual realms, including heaven, hell, and snow(?). They all come in child-friendly shapes such as a snowman, an amorphous jelly-creature, a rather sorry-looking skeleton, and a character who looks like some androgynous hybrid of a baby angel and a Rug Rat in legwarmers. Whichever you choose, greet him/her/it warmly, because this is your ‘Soundy’. You can even give it a name. Your Soundy is depicted in soft-focus 3D in a gentle pastel palette guaranteed to match with your mum’s bathroom curtains. Nice.
Once you manage to figure out the rather unwieldy interface, you should be able to get through to the bit which says ‘Play the beats’. Try to remember how you did this because this part is the actual game. Since I was reviewing the Japanese import version, this was obviously made more complicated by their annoying habit of having most of the menu text in some foreign language.
Suddenly, nothing much happens, apart from a loading screen which resembles a chorus line of Star Wars pit droids having some sort of mechanical seizure to a minimalist drum ‘n bass soundtrack. After this has gone on for just long enough to be annoying, the music starts, and a line of direction button symbols scrolls up the left side of the screen. If you hit the right button at the right time, your Soundy dances. If you get it wrong, it sort of stumbles. You see, I said it was simple. You control the Soundy’s movements by pressing controller buttons as shown on the screen in time with the music, and wahey! You’re dancing.
Or rather you are watching this bizarre figure twitch about on the screen performing a series of moves that would get you at least thrown out or possibly brutally murdered if you were ever to try them in a real nightclub.
Any similarities between Goo! Goo! Soundy and the popular dance game Bust-a-groove or the infinitely irritating PaRappa the Rapper are, of course, purely coincidental. It definitely isn’t exactly the same game in a different wrapper. No sir, Konami have obviously put a lot of research into this and have come up with a completely distinct product, and will you excuse me please as my nose has just grown by a foot and a half.
Once you have mastered a dance routine, you can record it, and even change the camera angles and special effects, to watch later or to astound your friends, assuming you still have any. If you do really really well, you are rewarded with a new, different looking Soundy, who does exactly the same thing as the first one, but in slightly different colours. There are eighteen Soundies in all, and you will soon learn a studied indifference towards all of them.
Top of the flops
Of course being a dancing game, the main reason for buying this has to be the soundtrack, right? You’d probably expect that a game like this would feature a dozen or so of the latest dance hits specially mixed by top DJs, wouldn’t you? Ha. What you get is just six, count them, six choice samples of trite, banal Japanese electro-pop which is frankly more than enough. Since playing a dancing game with the sound turned off kind of defeats the object, I was forced, on your behalf, to sit through every track as I played this…this…thing. I hope you’re satisfied, because I’m not doing it again. I know this game is aimed at children, but I know six-year-olds with more discriminating musical taste than this.
Quite apart from the dire music, having the stupidest name for anything in the whole history of the world, and having the most irritating loading screen ever committed to software, what we have here is the PlayStation equivalent of an exercise video, but without the bonus of some fit chick in a lycra bodysuit. If you want to get some exercise, you really shouldn’t be sat in front of the TV with a DualShock in your hands, or even sliding about in your socks on some piece of coloured plastic. Get outside and run about for a bit, climb a tree, play football, go for a swim, anything but this. And don’t think it will teach you how to dance either. If you try and copy this game’s moves on a dancefloor somewhere, the resulting cruel laughter will ensure that you never go out again. The only hope for this game is if Konami do a coin-op arcade version. Then at least we can all have a laugh at people trying to play it in public.
Dreadful unimaginative puerile derivative boring nonsense with a really stupid name and crap music. Don’t waste your time or your money on it.
Score out of 100:
About 0.004 seconds
PaRappa the Rapper
A gastric ulcer