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eJay Clubworld - The Music Making Experience
Score: 88%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Crave
Developer: Empire Interactive
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Miscellaneous

Graphics & Sound:
First, I should point out that eJay Clubworld is technically not a game. The only rules that you are required to follow are the instructions for using the interface to the music creation tools. There is no scoring system or comparative evaluation of how well you did. eJay Clubworld doesn't decide if your creation is good or bad, but rather allows you to do what you want to and, if you like your results, save them and play them back later.

The graphics in eJay Clubworld are better than they need to be. There is a color organ/light organ mode (called 'Video Mode in' eJay Clubworld), that generates some nice visuals to go along with your music. This is a nice touch. Some of the visual effects in eJay Clubworld, however, such as the way that selected tracks 'spin' onto the sequencing area, are borderline obtrusive. I would rather an instant reaction than a pretty spinning effect that takes a little bit of time. The 'water-like' distortion effects in the background of the sequencing area is a nice touch and doesn't appear to hinder any of the other processes.

The sound in eJay Clubworld is what it's all about, and thankfully eJay Clubworld has got that covered. There are many, many different sounds samples to choose from (all of them royalty-free, by the way...) and many of them are variations on themes. This allows you to have subtle differences in different sections of your musical compositions, allowing your score to sound more 'human' and less cookie-cutter. This is especially good for the clubs that have vocal samples in them, such as the Brooklyn club with its rap parts and the ZOUK club with its robotic voices. In addition to the samples provided, it is also possible to use the editing tools to select smaller parts of the existing samples, essentially 'sampling' from these samples. Using this technique, you can create 'sample and scratch type effects (in any club, not just Brooklyn). I was a little upset that the samples provided didn't include complete break-outs of larger samples ('Feel the Energy' is a sample, 'Feel' and 'Energy' are samples - but 'the' is not provided), but using the above mentioned sampling technique, it is sometimes possible to create your own 'the' by cutting it out of the larger sample.

So, what of the quality of the final resultant songs? They're pretty good. In fact, I can imagine a DJ actually playing a club using eJay Clubworld in their setup. Take two PS2s with eJay Clubworld on them and a video wall or a couple of monitors around a club and throw in a video selector switch and you're ready to roll. A DJ could actually work on creations on one PS2 while playing off of his jukebox on the other PS2... then use the external video/audio selector to mix between the PS2s.

The interface takes a little getting used to, but allows a good variety of editing options, from sequencing to panning, and from gain to editing your existing sounds. The Brooklyn club in eJay Clubworld: The Music Making Experience even offers a pair of turntables to allow scratching. This feature is somewhat unwieldy, however, and the second (scratching) turntable only allows you to load single samples and scratch them.

There are many clubs to choose from, each having their own appearance and styles. You can choose from 'clubs' that have all the samples you need to create some pretty decent House, HipHop, Trance, Ambient, Drum and Bass, Acid and Electro, Reggae and Techno. There are over 10,000 royalty-free samples in all!

If you've used eJay products or other sound sequencers before, then eJay Clubworld: The Music Making Experience shouldn't be too hard to pick up and play. Some of the finer features, such as editing samples and adjusting sample placement (by sixteenths!), will actually take reading the manual a bit. I find that with just a little bit of work, however, I can make some very nice sounding tunes using eJay Clubworld.

For those new to music sequencing, there is a tutorial level that has DJ Carl Cox walking you through the process.

Game Mechanics:
The interface in eJay Clubworld: The Music Making Experience leaves something to be desired, especially when trying the scratching feature in the Brooklyn club. Specifically, this feature is in sore need of a specialized controller.

The music sequencing aspects and abilities of eJay Clubworld are quite nice, with the fine-tuning that's possible via the sample editing and placement adjusting features. Additionally, the sounds are all usable and many are actually quite good. I sound surprised only because it is typical for programs of this genre to ship with some really sub-par sound samples, especially in the vocals. Surprisingly, the vocals in eJay Clubworld can actually be used to make some pretty decent songs.

The one place this software really comes up short is its lack of a feature that allows you to input your own samples, either from CD or from microphone. You can sub-sample all you want, but the samples that come with eJay Clubworld are all you have to play with. For that matter, these sounds are further restricted by club. You can't take sounds from ZOUK for example and use them in 'The End'. Each club is limited to it's own sample sets.

All in all, eJay Clubworld is quite a bit of fun and allows for someone to really test their creativity. Those who aren't really into music creation should rent it before buying. Die-hard music creating PS2 owners shouldn't have to.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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