|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: A2M||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Disney Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 14, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
Disney never misses an opportunity to capitalize on an idea that might generate a buck. Of course this idea has to follow the Disney tradition of wholesome family entertainment -while at the same time showing potential for a huge payday. High School Musical: Makin' the Cut has Disney written all over it.
First and foremost, what we are concerned with is High School Musical: Makin' the Cut, the video game. Those of you that watch the Disney channel as opposed to CNN or Discovery will undoubtedly know this title as a popular after-school movie series. In fact, the original show is Disney's most popular after-school movie ever. It's on fire. Very quickly, it spawned a couple of sequels, an extremely popular and lucrative soundtrack, a series of books, and now a video game, all thanks to the Disney marketing machine. While the game includes all your favorite characters, songs, and locations from the movie, as a rhythm game it's just average. It doesn't have a lot of depth, but it's a great introduction into the genre. If you also happen to be a fan of the show, you will think you have died and gone to heaven. Say hello to Walt for me.
As in the movie, the premise of the game is to sing and dance your heart out. It becomes a full-blown competition among high schools across the county. Kids join their respective school's drama program where they train in the performing arts, but also train to kick the competitions' butts, as though it were a martial art. They choose their songs, learn to sing, and choreograph dance moves to present a solid entertainment package. The various teams compete locally, and if they're good enough, they will compete internationally.
With so many kids inspired by American Idol and other exploitative shows such as America's Got Talent, it's no wonder that High School Musical: Makin' the Cut is so popular. It smacks of reality. It gives the average kid a chance, one they may never get with those network shows. This is real. It's raw, and it's gritty, even if you're living vicariously through the characters. But the potential that it could make a star out of you or someone you know is not out of the realm of possibility. Schools throughout North America have already reported an increase in interest in such performance-orientated programs. Although kids might not become world famous, being admired by your peers is simply everyone's dream.
If you're into rhythm games, you might find High School Musical: Makin' the Cut, a little on the weak side. Underneath all the hype is a basic game. It's solid, but it's not very challenging. To enjoy the game you really have to be caught up in the hype. If you really love the movie and the songs, then this interactive video game is really all that you can ask for.
The main gameplay elements consist of controlling your character in time with the beat to sing and dance. You can play as one of your favorite characters. The six main characters include Troy, Gabriella, Sharpay, Ryan, Taylor or Chad. You can even create your own character if you feel like bringing more of your personality into the mix. All the characters are ultimately controlled by you, so there is no advantage to choosing any particular character.
There's plenty of different gameplay elements, and depending on how much singing and dancing you want to do, it could be a blessing or a curse. There are new songs to unlock. New venues to compete in. There is a multiplayer component, and even a video editor that lets you play producer, calling the shots and camera angles by shouting into the built-in microphone. You can save your video creations and even trade them with friends. It really adds to the replay value.