Reviewed: January 30, 2004
Type: Dance Mat
Reviewing the new Beat Pad Pro from Mad Catz couldnít have come at a better time. Konami had just released their DDR Ultramix and I didnít have a dance mat to review it with. When it comes to dancing I have two left feet and a whole lot of self-awareness issues. So the first thing I had to do when reviewing this product was prep the area for the review. This consisted of locking all doors, closing all blinds, and scanning the area for any hidden cameras.
Aesthetics - 9
While Mad Catz offers specific mats for each system the version of the Beat Pad Pro that arrived for this review is their universal model that works for both the PS2 and Xbox. The pads are virtually identical with slight variations in the color scheme and the dual symbols on the pad to cover both systems. Frankly, I found the multi-color design of this model much more festive than the green and blue themes of the specific system mats.
The pad is thick and comfortable with a non-slip bottom so you can use the mat on smooth surfaces. Actually, you get better response using the pad on a hard surface. You might have some accuracy issues if you try to play on a deep pile or shag carpet. The top surface is a nylon coating that is a bit slippery, not enough that you would fall down but just enough so you can slide your feet around to the various sections of the pad smoothly and quickly.
Durability - 9
Iíve only used the Beat Pad Pro for about 6-8 hours and have had no problems as of yet. I have read numerous reports that the pad tends to break down with vigorous use, especially playing some of these dancing games on the harder skill levels. I can neither confirm nor deny these rumors just like I canít tell you if these people with ďbroken padsĒ were wearing shoes (not recommended).
I made my way through all 40+ songs on DDR Ultramix on the Xbox and several songs onDDRMAX2 on the PS2 and the pad works just as good now as it did when I removed it from the package. And even if the pad does break down at some time Mad Catz backs their product with a 5-year warranty.
Performance - 10
Itís hard to comment on the padís performance since my personal dancing skills are more likely to blame for any poor dancing. I did put this mat through the paces on more than 50 songs on two difference games on two different systems and the pad never missed a beat, even the wrong ones thanks to my two left feet.
The Beat Pad Pro also comes with a handy extension cable for your Headset Communicator so it can reach from the expansion port on the handle up to your headset. This is great for those online dance offs on Xbox Live. To hook the mat up to your PS2 you only need to use the handy PS2 adapter plug that fits into the breakaway section of the main cable.
As with most of these mats these days you can hook up two mats and play in dual mode for some serious dance action. Professional dancers will be able to get their groove on but everyone else will probably find the experience a bit daunting.
Value - 9
Priced at $34.99 this pad is about $5 more than Konamiís dance mat but keep in mind that the Beat Pad Pro works on both Xbox and PS2 (and PS One for that matter), and it comes with a built-in expansion port and headset extension cable. If you own both systems then this universal mat is the ideal solution for your cross-platform dancing needs. The Beat Pad Pro even comes with a nice storage case with a handle that you can zip up and take your pad on the road.
Overall Ė 9.0
Iím quite certain that whatever I was doing during my few nights of testing resembled nothing like dancing, as I hunted and pecked at the various panels of the tic-tac-toe style dance mat. It was like an evil mini-version of Twister. Iím sure there is some 9yr old girl out there than can wipe the mat (pun intended) with me, but I still had a great time.
There is something that is quite energizing about playing this type of game with the Beat Pad Pro that you donít experience when pounding furiously on your controller. Even though you arenít really ďdancingĒ it still comes closer just for the fact that you are using your feet rather than your fingers.
This is strictly a niche controller for a niche market, but if you play any dancing games then you wonít find a better dance pad than this. Its universal compatibility is also a nice little bonus.