B-Boy Hands-On

Freeze, power, and break your way to the top.

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If you're tired of pounding the same arrows over and over again in Dance Dance Revolution, developer FreeStyleGames offers something a little different in the game B-Boy. Chances are that if you were already a pro at spinning on your head, you'd be out showing off your moves rather than staying indoors to play a game that simulates break-dancing. However, since many of us can't pull off a power move to save our life, B-Boy gives us an opportunity to pretend we can, and to look good doing it. B-Boy doesn't require you to physically break-dance, but you do need some rhythm to get your character to come out on top when you battle against another B-Boy or B-Girl.

We started off with the Livin' Da Life mode, a single-player career mode where you choose your B-Boy or B-Girl and customize the character to your liking. You have the option to change your build, height, hairstyle, and eye color, and there are also different faces to choose from. When you're done, you're sent into your "lab," where you have access to a practice floor, your movebook, and your laptop, which is your main source of information. There is also a place to change your clothes if you're tired of wearing the same pants. You'll be receiving constant e-mails from Kool Rock, who will show you how to get started and provide helpful videos and tips that will ensure your success as the next top B-Boy.

This can't be comfortable.
This can't be comfortable.

To actually start break-dancing isn't as easy as just mashing buttons to the right beat. Your buttons are assigned to four moves: triangle for top rock, circle for windmill, X for six step, and square for baby freeze. Pressing the D pad before each of these buttons will execute a different move depending on what specific moves you have assigned in your movebook. Stringing these moves together quickly will earn you points toward a flow medal. There are five possible medals that each battle will take into account, but in the beginning we were focused on getting points for flow and rhythm. As you're breaking, you'll see a circle with rotating markers around your breaker that represent the beats to the music that is playing. Pressing R1 or L1 on the right beat will help your rhythm, and during a windmill it will keep your B-boy going longer if you can keep up with the beat. For balancing moves like baby freeze, a meter will pop up where you'll have to use the L1 and R1 buttons to keep the marker centered to hold the move.

The practice arena is particularly useful, because not only can you hone your own skills here, but you can also level up your character's moves so that when it's time to take your break-dancing to the streets, it will be easier to do your windmill or freeze. When you beat your opponents, you'll also learn their moves, which you can then add to your movebook. In battle you are first shown what medals you are going for. There are no points to see who wins; winning is based on a scale, whereby the first player tries to get the crowd going with his or her moves to tilt the scale and get the medal. The second player tries to get the scale to lean in his or her favor to take back the medal. There's a time limit, so there is some strategy involved, especially when the battles get harder and creativity comes into play; you can't just do the same moves over and over again. In the end, the goal is to outperform each other.

One of the many venues in B-Boy.
One of the many venues in B-Boy.

Players who don't want to go through the career mode can jump into arcade mode, which has several different battle setups where you can either go for the most medals, play with three or four lives, or battle within a fixed length of time. There are 40 opponents including real-life B-boys such as Kamel, Crazy Legs, Crumbs, and Mouse. You'll compete in 21 different venues, and there are more than 40 licensed contemporary hip-hop and classic funk tracks included and mixed by in-game DJs. Motion-captured moves add a smooth realism to the dancing and make this game a blast to watch.

B-Boy has been out in Europe and Australia for almost two years now but will finally be available stateside August 5 for the PlayStation 2.

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