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The Top 7… Epic dance battles

In videogames (as in real life), dance isn’t typically perceived as a means of conflict resolution so much as it is something that sells motion controls and body-sensing cameras. And that’s kind of a shame, because the handful of dance-offs that games have treated us to over the years – expected and otherwise – have provided moments that were a hell of a lot more memorable than those 427,836 times we shot a guy. Done right, a dance battle – and by that we mean an in-game dance battle, not the kind that requires stomping on a pad or actually dancing in front of a camera – can be exciting, visually fascinating and potentially hilarious, even if most of them boil down to mashing buttons on cue. What follows are a few of our favorites.


7. Game Over

The dancers: The Simpsons and God

Ordinarily, the very idea of a dance battle with God – which is, incidentally, how The Simpsons Game ends – would skyrocket an entry like this to the top of the list. In practice, though, it’s not quite as impressive as we’d hoped. At the end of The Simpsons Game, the titular First Family of Springfield, fed up with being trapped in a videogame and invaded by aliens, take their case directly to God and ask him to sort things out.

Unfortunately, it turns out God’s a gamer – and an insecure gamer at that. All it takes is a few uneasy looks from the Simpsons to make him turn defensive, and demonstrate his superiority the only way an omnipotent creator of the universe can – with dance.


In a three-stage battle, the Simpsons have to compete in a bizarre version of Dance Dance Revolution, first on God’s Praystation, then on his Xodusbox, and finally his Hii. And while that all sounds like a fantastic idea for an endgame battle, it’s a little disappointing to see that the Simpsons themselves don’t actually dance. Instead, they hop on directional buttons while JHVH and his followers bust a move to The Scorpions’ “Rock You Like A Hurricane.” Still, the concept behind this one is just awesome enough that we’re completely sold on the idea.


6. A Deadly Dance

The dancers: Sly Cooper, a bunch of chickens and Mz. Ruby

None of the boss fights in Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus (Sly Raccoon in the UK) are exactly straightforward, but when Sly travels to Haiti to confront alligator voodoo priestess Mz. Ruby, things get even more bizarre than usual.

As Sly drifts slowly toward Mz. Ruby on the back of her tortoise Chumley, she dances a few evil spells his way (that just happen to look exactly like PlayStation buttons), which he’s then obliged to dodge. And because this is a videogame, making it through Ruby’s barrage of dance moves makes her disappear, forcing Sly into two more dance-offs, each deadlier than the last.


Sly’s reactions can only be called “dancing” in the most liberal sense, since they’re really more like split-second contortions. Even so, there’s an undeniably catchy rhythm to them, and if nothing else Mz. Ruby’s backup dancers do more than enough to compensate for Sly’s infuriating emphasis on survival over style.

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49 comments

  • DHokat - July 26, 2011 1:38 a.m.

    All I can say is that I have never played any of these games. Missing out it seems, mostly on stubbz
  • ranzatsu - July 26, 2011 1:38 a.m.

    What about the final stage in Elite Beat Agents? It kinda went the same way that Ulala did, dying then getting clapped to life, but the final stage was a pisser. Jumpin' Jack Flash was a bitch.
  • MouseKlok - July 26, 2011 1:39 a.m.

    Space Michael!!!
  • MonocledYaoGuai - July 26, 2011 1:54 a.m.

    HELL YEAH Bust-a-Groove! But no Elite Beat Agents? I am disappoint Mikel.
  • MrSuitMan - July 26, 2011 1:57 a.m.

    The Nightmare Before Christmas game for PS2(a decent Devil May Cry clone) had cool boss battles where you would collect notes as you attack to fill up a bar, which would then initiate a cool ryhthm sequence that were redone versions of the songs in the movie. Those were cool dance battles.
  • NightCrawler_358 - July 26, 2011 2:01 a.m.

    Nice list. If you guys are looking for more Elite Beat Agents, check out this Mega64 video haha. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXZGzhsS-5I
  • 435 - July 26, 2011 2:03 a.m.

    Flyin', Flyin' to your so-u-oul. Flyin', Flyin' to your so-u-oul. Flyin', Flyin' to your so-u-OOOOOOOOUL!
  • GamesRadarMikelReparaz - July 26, 2011 2:04 a.m.

    EBA is cool, but not quite what I was going for here. Unless the bad guys are also dancing, it just isn't the same.
  • zonic505 - July 26, 2011 2:16 a.m.

    Ouendan/Elite Beat Agents should've been at least a honorable mention. I mean, you're dancing (& teaming up w/ the villains in the Ouendan games) to save the earth from a meteor, alien invasion, & another ice age.
  • kicking222 - July 26, 2011 2:32 a.m.

    "Stubbs" wins in my book. "Space Channel 5" is an awesome game, but getting modern indie rock bands to cover '50s classics was a brilliant move. It's a shame the songs aren't otherwise used in the game, but the soundtrack is great, and the dance battle using it is almost as good. I love the moves, I love how Stubbs enters and leaves the dance floor, and I love what a random occurrence the sequence is within the game.
  • BoxingMarco - July 26, 2011 2:36 a.m.

    HELL YEAH STUBBS!!!!
  • Corsair89 - July 26, 2011 2:44 a.m.

    I was just playing the Sly Cooper HD collection and the deadly dance with Mz. Ruby is a fucking frustrating bitch. Fuck that boos.
  • thewulfen - July 26, 2011 2:50 a.m.

    The GTA BoGT dancing is pretty awesome just because it is just a random thing to add to the over-the-topness of the DLC.
  • EwoksTasteLikeChicken - July 26, 2011 2:58 a.m.

    I love Stubbs! If you haven't played it, download it from Games on Demand on XBL. Sure it's not the greatest game, but it just has so much charm. And the dance battle is probaly one of the best parts.
  • 510BrotherPanda - July 26, 2011 3:07 a.m.

    Great Top 7, Mikel. Really had fun reading this one! @zonic505 Technically, the blue team in Ouendan 2 aren't villains, they're a rival cheer squad from the next door city district/prefecture. And the disaster was worse than just an Ice Age; the sun had burned out, and needed to be "re-warmed with the power of love"...
  • CaptCOMMANDO - July 26, 2011 3:08 a.m.

    I read this because Mikel wrote it.
  • CraigSpanner - July 26, 2011 3:43 a.m.

    Stubbs the Zombie is one of my all-time favourite games. Plus, it had co-op campaign.
  • Yaro - July 26, 2011 3:48 a.m.

    I also read it because Mikel wrote it. =)
  • Lurkero - July 26, 2011 4:08 a.m.

    Space Channel 5 should at least be 1-5 of this list.

Showing 1-20 of 49 comments

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