ダンシングアイ ● Genre: Puzzle ● Release Date: 1996 ● Developer: NAMCO ● Publisher: NAMCO ● Media: Arcade System Board ● System Specific: SYSTEM 11
IT'S AN ENTIRELY NEW PUZZLE ACTION GAME ! (JUST A BIT SUSPICIOUS)
Undress all the 32-bit 3D polygon bishoujos you could ever want (as well as other not-so-lovely stuff) in this fantastic puzzle action game based on the classic TAITO arcade game「QIX」.
■A SENSUAL INTRODUCTION
DANCING EYES is as just mentioned a 3D polygon action puzzle game based on the classic arcade game QIX. I remember back at the time of its release the game got labeled around as a 3D polygon version of「GALS PANIC」, which for those who don't know, is a prolific series of「undressing」puzzle action games also based on QIX gameplay.
But while the gameplay in DANCING EYES might not have been entirely new, as NAMCO themselves humorously acknowledged it in the game's catchphrase. They (NAMCO) still received a lot of praise at the time for successfully bringing up to date a classic gameplay concept that still had not made the jump into the world of 3D polygons.
DANCING EYES also became somewhat of a cult game due to how it was never ported to the SONY PlayStation system (the hardware that the NAMCO SYSTEM 11 was based upon).
Apparently the prospect of undressing virtual bishoujos to their underwear (there's no nudity at all in the game by the way) and walking on their sexy 3D polygon bodies was just too much of a thing for the SONY censor board to handle (the CERO rating system didn't exist at the time). And so they pretty much forbade DANCING EYES from ever appearing on their 32-bit system.
Because the game had gained a decent following at the game centers, this decision obviously came as a huge disappointment to all the fans that were anticipating the home conversion. But on the other hand, as just pointed out, it also ended up contributing greatly towards the game's cult status.
On an interesting note, the game board has a「KIDS」mode option which effectively removes all of the undressing stages from the game.
I seriously doubt any establishment ever used this mode, though. I mean, in comparison to some actual adult arcade games, DANCING EYES is already on KIDS mode to begin with.
I also doubt NAMCO ever considered releasing their renown undressing arcade hit game on the PlayStation without the undressing element. That would have looked way too lame.
■HEY HEY WE'RE THE BOOTY MONKEYS !
DANCING EYES puts players in control of a lovable bunch of「booty monkeys」.
These diminutive creatures of legend enjoy inhabiting the bodies of beautiful young girls all across Japan. And of course nothing makes a booty monkey happier than helping these young beauties dispose of any「unnecessary clothing」. (^^;
But our monkey friends here are not in just for the booty - no, no, no. These most noble of creatures are also willing to help any poor soul in need - be it a macho man trapped by a giant anaconda, a space gal being molested by tentacle aliens, or a cow stuck inside a bigger-than-life milk bottle - you can count on the booty monkeys to save the day.
So for those of you who don't find undressing 32-bit polygon beauties an appealing enough incentive (shame on you). There's also plenty of other weird, crazy, and just plain bizarre stuff in the game to uncover.
DANCING EYES follows the rules already established in various older games like QIX, VOLFIED, GALS PANIC, and CACOMA KNIGHT (Super Famicom). So if you've played any of those games then you already should be familiar with the trademark gameplay concept of QIX.
For those who might have never played or even heard of those games though, I'll explain the gameplay briefly :
The clothes of all the beauties as well as any other surface you'll be walking on will be divided in multiple panels of various sizes. Your goal in the game is to destroy all of these panels by covering their borders with this special line of yours. And of course it goes without saying that you'll have to do it while enduring the constant harassment of enemies and before the time limit runs out.
By holding down the [ A ] button you will lay down a marker from which you will draw the line. Once one or multiple panels have been completely covered by your line they will start flashing. At this point you can let go of your line to make the panels explode, which will also take down any enemies that were walking on top.
Power ups can be obtained from flashing panels or by defeating enemies, and they're pretty much invaluable to your survival.
Overall, the gameplay in DANCING EYES is in one word :「FANTASSTIC」! The core gameplay concept behind it is indeed extremely simple, but NAMCO tweaked it almost masterfully so and came up with a game that's fast-paced, challenging, and more importantly : just incredibly fun to look at and play.
The only complaint I had with the game back then is that its scoring system is like completely backwards of how a competitive scoring system should be.
For starters, the game lacks any sort of score multiplier when it comes to destroying panels. So as far as scoring is concerned, it's all the same if you destroy them one by one or all at once.
Pretty much your most important score multiplier is the time one which will give you a whopping 1000pts for every remaining second. The problem with this however, is that since the time limit resets whenever you lose a life, it is technically possible (although lame) to lose on purpose and get a much higher score than say, an expert player aiming for a no-miss clear.
Furthermore, your score will remain intact even if you continue fom a game over. So all in all, I just don't see how this type of scoring system could be taken seriously.
S (SPEED UP) : Increases your movement speed. E (TIME EXTEND) : Extends the time limit. T (TIME STOP) : Enemy movement stops for 6 seconds. A (ATTACK) : Monkey Time! Get bigger, faster, and capable of stomping enemies. P (PARALYZE) : Your line can now paralyze enemies upon contact. X (X-ATTACK) : Panel destruction range expands horizontally. Y (Y-ATTACK) : Panel destruction range expands vertically. W (WIDE ATTACK) : Panel destruction range expands on all sides. D (DESTROY) : Random panel destruction. Also clears the screen of enemies. R (REVERSE) : Reverses the current full/clear status of all panels in the round. MONKEY : Get an extra monkey (player life).
In spite of its hilarious looks and premise DANCING EYES can be a very challenging game even on its default medium difficulty setting.
The game may appear very easy in the first couple of stages but before you know it the difficulty will spike up considerably. The stages will start having more and longer panels, and the mostly cute (well, snakes and spiders are never cute) little animals chasing you will become real creatures of nightmares.
Speaking of enemies -- There are 10 different types in the game and they all have their own unique behavior. The clams for example can eat neaby power ups, while squirrels can hook onto your line and increase their movement speed until you're forced to let go of it.
You will also encounter other booty monkeys whom have strayed from the path of righteous booty shaking and have turned to the dark side. These「fallen」cousins can remove your marker from its place forcing you to start over.
Enemy harassment is by much the biggest challenge you will face in the game. And seriously, sometimes it can get so annoyingly overwhelming to a point where trying to clear even one small panel could become a hellish ordeal if you're caught unprepared.
For this reason you should always try to be under the effects of an item or two (the more the better, obviously) at all times.
As soon as you gain control of your monkey, go straight away after all of the available item panels in the round to check what they have to offer. Some power ups can be real game changers, and the sooner you get them and put them to good use the better.
Going on a panel clearing spree without the aid of a power up is just a huge waste of time. Plus you absolutely don't want to be halfway through a round only to find out an item panel had something like a reverse power up under it.
■IS THERE EVEN SUCH A THING AS TOO MUCH BOOTY ?
For an arcade puzzle action game DANCING EYES definitely feels on the long side. In order to clear the game you will have to go through 15 stages (13 normal and 2 special) and that probably will be keeping you warming your seat for a while unless you're extremely skilled (or lucky) at it.
Of course I think most players would agree that the more stages the better, but back then the game still felt unusually long (again for arcade standards, mind you) as it just wasn't the type of arcade game you would've been able to clear comfortably between classes or during a lunch break.
An element that certainly kept a lot of players coming back for more booty-shaking action back in the day is the remarkable high amount of content the game offers.
At each step of your bootylicious journey you will be able to pick own play route from out of 3 completely different stages. And since you're required to clear 13 normal stages and are given 3 choices each time. That's like... 13 x 3 = 39 + 2 = 41 different stages in total!
So basically in order to see everything that the game has to offer you would need to clear it (or at least reach the final stages) at least 3 times WHILE playing through completely different stages each time. Just how awesome is that?
DANCING EYES is really one of those type of games that are just hard to dislike regardless of what your game preferences may be. And even if you aren't too crazy about its undressing or humoristic premise, the game still has a lot going on for it. After all it plays great, looks great, and is loaded with content. What's not to like about that?
It was a real crime that the SONY policies of the time deprived us of getting this awsome puzzle action game on the PlayStation. I think even the media naysayers of the time - whom of course were always complaining about direct arcade to console conversions - would've been hard pressed to find any relevant flaws about the game.
Finally, it should be noted that all of the screen captures showcased here were taken using the MAME emulator.
Unfortunately DANCING EYES doesn't look very good on MAME as there's lots of polygon clipping issues as well as missing/disappearing graphical glitches. So bear in mind that in reality the game looks a lot better.