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The Top 7… Epic dance battles

5. DANCE OR DIE!!

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.

Probably.


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.

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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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