|Review by||:||Ken Gagne|
The gaming world is one of great variety, a universe that allows people to become dragonslayers, Nascar racers, soccer players, or even gods. Yet now and then a game arrives that makes one question the value of it all. In 1998, this service is provided by Psygnosis, who has given us Spice World for the PlayStation.
Players select one of five songs, each of which is split into nine bars. They can splice and combine these bars to form a mix, to which the girls will then dance. Once their routine is set, various camera angles can be fixed in the recording studio.
If that sounds like too much work, then take a break with the Spice Network. Watch some interviews with the singers as they answer the sort of deep and probing questions only the Spice Girls can answer, like: "How do you dance in those shoes?"
What may be the Spice Girls' biggest selling point — their looks — are distorted by the graphics. The singers are represented by animated figures horribly deformed and ugly: big heads, big hair, and big shoes (though that last one is to be expected). There are no other points of action, just the dancing girls. The backgrounds are always nothing more than swirly psychedelic circles.
The music is, naturally, courtesy of the Spice Girls. You've all heard it before: "Wannabe,", "Who Do You Think You Are", "Move Over", "Spice Up Your Life," and "Say You'll Be There". The girls offer a few comments as they tour the game's stages, and a D.J. and dance instructor also speak in stereotypical fashions.
Control is simplistic. Only the dance moves require any coordination; everything else is basic menu selection. There are eleven dance moves, each one a different combination of four buttons, two of which are always the 'X' button. Sequences appear with regular rhythm, and tapping them out becomes a dull chore with little return on the investment.
The most maddening aspect of this game is not the music, but the total lack of goals and challenge. The mixing, dance routines, and T.V. recording is completely arbitrary: whatever the players want to do, they can do, with no objection from the game. The Spice Girls dance anything to any number without requiring any minimum performance or quality.
Young Spice Girl fans may have fun with all the different combinations of mixes and productions, but other players will find this title to have no replay value.
Whether or not you are a fan of the Fab Five, as a gamer, you'll find plenty of reasons to avoid this non-game. The best warning I can give is that this title is the perfect follow-up to their movie.
This article is copyright (c) 1998, 2007 by Ken Gagne. All rights reserved. Not to be distributed without permission.
Original publication: Sentinel & Enterprise, 24-Aug-98