TOKYO - Another day, another rhythm-based game. Sometimes it seems as though every other game on the market is some sort of music-related affair. Sony's only unreleased PlayStation2 game on the show floor, TVDJ, technically, isn't a music game. But the simplistic, rhythm-based gameplay isn't much different from the rest of the pack.
Rather than being a puzzle that, when executed well, delivers a well-played song, TVDJ puts you in the role of a video editor of sorts. The gameplay is very easy to learn. There is a small strip of film that scrolls along the bottom of the screen. Occasionally, the filmstrip has blank sections. Your button presses must fill in these sections. Different buttons lay down different lengths of replacement film, letting you drop one to four blocks at a time. Each different length of strip has a specific color. If you can visualize this, occasionally, you'll need to fill eight individual spaces with filmstrip, but, for instance, three of them are colored the same color making three blocks or sections of strip. So you need to fill in all eight spaces, all the while ensuring that the colored section is completely filled by the proper colored block. Overfilling a space, underfilling a space, or poorly timing your button presses when trying to fill the sections results in you having to redo that section.
When you play the video you selected to edit well, (the one we played was a short spy movie, complete with a damsel in distress and a car chase) the video keeps rolling. Make a mistake on any one section, as mentioned, and you'll have to repeat and master that particular section to proceed. The entire level runs on a deceivingly short five-minute clock.
The graphics have a Parappa-esque tilt to them, though the game also has a hand-drawn style to it that is somewhat similar to Sega's Jet Set Radio. But at this stage, TVDJ lacks the individuality of Parappa and the raw style of Jet Set Radio. The whole concept of video editing may be a new twist to the rhythm-game concept, but its execution is less than stellar.