The Top 7… Epic dance battles


The dancers: Musashi and Topo

In his tireless defense of the food-pun-filled Allucaneet Kingdom, the star of Brave Fencer Musashi was unafraid to murder countless adorable enemies in duel after bloodless duel. However, when confronted with Topo – the mouse-eared member of Leader Force, a commando unit in which each member was convinced he or she was the leader – he found himself unable to hit a girl. Instead, he grudgingly accepted her strange dueling terms: dance, little swordsman, or die.

While it would be easy to dismiss the fight against Topo as just another bout of button-mashy Simon Says with minimal actual dancing, this was one of the first times – if not the first time – that a dance battle intruded into an otherwise “normal” action game. In fact, it’s not a stretch to say that Topo’s ultracute “boss fight” is the most memorable part of this largely forgotten action-RPG, due in no small part to the catchiness of her simplistic little ditty.

Interestingly, the weirdest part of Topo’s dance battle isn’t that it happened – it’s that the “dance or die” bit is meant to be taken literally. Winning the dance-off actually paralyzes Topo’s legs, dashing her secret dreams of pop stardom, and she dies soon afterward. It’s kind of sad, but don’t worry – as cute as she was, Topo was a horrible person. So it’s probably OK that she died, cold and alone, from doing what she loved.


4. Throwdown at Hercules

The dancers: Luis Lopez and some random dude

Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony isn’t all about jacking expensive cars and blowing up yachts with attack choppers. It’s also about managing nightclubs, and part of that management apparently includes stepping onto the dance floor and grinding against chicks in hotpants.

That kind of behavior might go unnoticed at mostly straight nightclub Maisonette 9, but try it at Hercules, the gay club just a few blocks away, and there’s a good chance someone will take issue with it. One of the regulars, possibly incensed at seeing a hetero interloper on the dance floor (or maybe just irked that someone’s stepping to his mad dance skills) might decide to cut in and put Luis’s footwork to the test.

To his credit, the unnamed challenger has some pretty slick moves to show off, even if none of them are quite as aggressive as the wolfman-arms thing Luis busts out to counter him. Also, it’s interesting to note that, while BoGT’s dance battle is just another Simon Says quick time event, it’s one of the few videogame dance-offs that show the protagonist bringing his own moves to the floor, instead of just copying what he’s shown. And it’s a little striking that the GTA dance battle is the only one in which nobody’s risking their lives – just their dignity in the eyes of the crowd.

Above: Just like in real life!

3. Cop Rock

The dancers: Stubbs the Zombie and Chief Masters

The Chief of Police is Stubbs the Zombie’s first real boss, and by the time most players reach him, they’re ready for just about anything. They have, after all, literally chewed their way through a sizable chunk of the population of the retro-futuristic city of Punchbowl by this point. In fact, they’ve just spent the previous level eating the brains of Punchbowl’s heavily armed police force.

So it’s surprising – no, scratch that, jaw-dropping – that when Stubbs finally meets Chief Masters (who up to this point has just been an angry, threatening voice), the cannibal zombie and sawed-off enforcer of justice spontaneously decide to settle their differences on the dance floor.

Above: Or on a giant Simon game, whichever

The dance battle that ensues is actually kind of fantastic, and it’s made even more so by the fact that it just comes out of goddamn nowhere. There wasn’t anything like it before, it doesn’t happen again, and it seems completely out of character for a zombie to use dance as a method of conflict resolution. If there was any lingering doubt that Stubbs was anything more or less than a lighthearted (if gruesome) comedy, it was obliterated by watching Masters and Stubbs expertly bust out moves to rock covers of sappy old ‘50s songs.


Top 7


  • TyeTheCzar - August 4, 2011 3:26 a.m.

    Mass Effect 3 deserves an intricate Dance Battle minigame across the galaxy from the Citadel to Tuchanka to Omega.
  • Plan10FromOuterSpace - July 28, 2011 6:09 p.m.

    Just before the final boss fight in the third act of vanquish the robots appear to be getting jiggy next to their massive sound system, sadly the only way to end this is to shoot them all and I felt genuinely bad for spoiling their fun, its a shame a more peaceful response couldn't of been adopted with Russia and America settling their differences in a dance off...the suits AR response would of been a kick ass secret weapon too
  • Bianchi - July 27, 2011 10:37 p.m.

    OMG.......FLYING FLYING TO YOUR SOUUUUUULLL *sings*!!!! I think it has a very nice place, only surpassed by Ulala xD EPIC ROBO-Z IS EPIC. Yes, I love bust a groove, problem? xD
  • ThatFanInThePeacoat - July 27, 2011 2:22 p.m.

    Space Channel 5 has a special place in my heart
  • The_Tingler - July 27, 2011 12:14 p.m.

    God I loved Stubbs the Zombie. From a few of the guys who made the original Halo, don't you know - and is the only non-Halo game to use that game's engine. Also, is that Dr Zoidberg dancing in the Simpsons game?
  • Spazerman - July 27, 2011 3:58 a.m.

    only complaint i had with the Ruby dance in Sly 1 for the ps3 is that it's not in synch with the music like it was with the ps2. other than that it's still an awesome game@
  • Thequestion 121 - July 26, 2011 11:55 p.m.

    That was fantastic.
  • ericthesmith - July 26, 2011 11:14 p.m.

    Michael Jackson's Moonwalker has some wicked-sweet dance battles.
  • Yeager1122 - July 26, 2011 10:46 p.m.

    Yeah Bogt and sly awsome loved both of those.
  • TempariusMaximus - July 26, 2011 6:44 p.m.

    omfg that dance battle with Mz. Ruby is so fucking har, she's caused me to rage quit and farm lives many times
  • Syncmaster - July 26, 2011 6:08 p.m.

    Dont you dare say Brave Fencer Musashiden is forgetable!!! its one of my favorite psone games ever! damn funny, gameplay is awesome and the music and voice acting are really memorable. dont worry, I wont be offended by your sacrilege. btw, bust a move and space channel 5 were dance games for all I know.
  • Darkhawk - July 26, 2011 6:02 p.m.

    Hooray! Got to watch commercial before finding out "video currently unavailable". Great player, GR
  • SunnyvaleTrash - July 26, 2011 4:24 p.m.

    God I hated the battle in Sly Cooper. Restarting from the beginning of the battle every time i died pushed the limits of my patience.
  • therawski - July 26, 2011 3:51 p.m.

    Sly Cooper is awesome, I recently beat A Deadly Dance, it was tougher than it looks.
  • glane88 - July 26, 2011 3:43 p.m.

    I am saddened by the fact the the epic dance battle in Sly 2 isn't included. You know, the one where you have to ballroom dance with Carmelita (she's kinda a bad guy, eh?) under extreme pressure? Well Sly is calm, but maybe you knew if you screwed up you were done for. Epic ballroom dance is epic.
  • Crypto140 - July 26, 2011 1:29 p.m.

    Could you imagin if there were more dance battles in games. Bioshock, Gears of War, Halo even, those would be epic(I smell Kinect spin off titles)
  • DecoyOctorok - July 26, 2011 1:17 p.m.

    Where's the Kinect Space Channel 5? Come on, Sega!
  • EnragedTortoise1 - July 26, 2011 1:11 p.m.

    GR needs a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment indicator.
  • philipshaw - July 26, 2011 1:10 p.m.

    Space Channel 5 had to be number 1 because that whole game is about dance battles, good to see Sly on here because I love that bit in Sly Copper
  • luckyseven - July 26, 2011 11:33 a.m.

    I remember the dance off in the Simpsons game...great stuff Mikel

Showing 1-20 of 49 comments

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