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PS-2 Moderngroove: Ministry Of Sound Edition
Steve Boxer 

Videogame publisher Ubi Soft and the Ministry Of Sound have teamed up to create moderngroove: Ministry Of Sound Edition, a piece of PlayStation 2 software that teams five hours of classic music with state-of-the-art visuals. It's all you need to turn your lounge into a proper club. Here's how it works.

What do 21st-century clubbers do when they've reached a chill-out sanctuary after a night pounding dancefloors? Invariably, the answer is switch on their PlayStation 2s, grab their controllers and settle down for some videogaming action. Typically, they'd mute the sound on their TVs and slip a compilation CD on. But Ubi Soft and the Ministry Of Sound have come up with a new concept which, although it runs on the PlayStation 2, is designed specifically to provide the ideal all-back-to-mine experience. Called moderngroove: Ministry Of Sound Edition, it combines over five hours of tunes - carefully selected by top-ranking DJs Ferry Corsten, Krafty Kuts, Paul Jackson, Tall Paul and Paul Dakeyne - with amazing visuals that feed off the music.

Moderngroove: Ministry Of Sound Edition is essentially split into two parts: a club visuals mixer and a music store. To set up the visuals, you can pick from a vast store of 3D objects, images and video clips, building a list which determines the order in which they appear. Likewise, you can build up your own music playlist by simply picking tracks from the different DJs' selections. The music included on moderngroove: Ministry Of Sound Edition spans trance, breakbeat, house, hard house and progressive house, and each DJ's selection is a blend of modern classics and new tunes fresh out of the studio.

Thus, you build up a selection of your favourite tracks, with visuals that respond to the music. And if you're so inclined, you can perform all manner of actions on the visuals in real-time, using the PlayStation 2 controller. Such as launching streams of particles which appear to fly out of the screen, rotating the visuals or triggering a strobe effect. It really is just like having a professional club visuals system in your front room - except it's as easy to use as any PlayStation 2 game.

Ever since Sony installed pre-launch PlayStations in clubs including the Ministry Of Sound itself, and backed games like WipEout with dance music compilation albums, the PlayStation has been inextricably linked with clubbing. The Ministry's head of licensing, Tony Moss, acknowledges this: "Our market is very youth-orientated and the increasing ways in which they listen to music and access the "dance music/club experience" is obviously of great interest to us. We see moderngroove as a great way of getting the music and a taste of the clubbing experience out to new areas, as well as something a bit different for PlayStation owners who are already out clubbing and know the music."

Tall Paul adds: "This is a great opportunity to play out to even more people through a totally new medium. As a DJ, it's great to be involved in a first."

Moss adds: "It's a taste of the club experience in your living room - it would be misleading to describe it as something to chill out to. I mean, you wouldn't describe Ferry Corsten's sound as chilled, would you?" Corsten himself says: "I realize that many people who would play this game are not your typical dance music fans, so in addition to dark, underground records, I also mixed in more accessible and uplifting tracks."

Other bells and whistles in moderngroove: Ministry Of Sound Edition include the ability to enter your own text and a "karaoke mode" which displays the lyrics of non-instrumental tracks on-screen (which could lead to either hilarity or annoyance in a post-club situation).

But two aspects of moderngroove: Ministry Of Sound Edition are particularly impressive. The music, including tracks from Plump DJs, Zombie Nation, System F, Lolleata Holloway, Freestylers, Fergie, Storm and DJ Zinc, is absolutely top-notch, and with five hours of it on a CD costing only £19.99, it would seem to be good value for that alone (particularly when you consider that the PlayStation 2 is the first console able to churn out hi-fi-quality audio). But then there are the visuals, the quality of which would be perceived as stunning in a club, let alone running on a PlayStation 2. And with 500 3D objects, 1,200 images and 200 video clips, you'll never find them repetitious.

Moderngroove: Ministry Of Sound Edition is the first piece of software to take advantage of the powerful new PlayStation 2's musical capabilities in a clubbing context. It exhibits all the hallmarks of quality which have turned the Ministry Of Sound into such an all-conquering brand and, more importantly, it's fun, good value and handy to have around. Surely it's destined to find a home in the front rooms of an awful lot of clubbers around the globe - just like the Ministry Of Sound's legendary compilation CDs.



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