Let’s Talk About Bust A Groove

You see that little logo in the corner of the game box? Yep. That says Enix. That is indeed the Enix of Square Enix because they used to not be a thing but then they sorta did that company merger thing and got married in business for various reasons (probably because one or both of them was haemorrhaging money or something, I dunno, I did a journalism and a teaching degree and you can’t tell me that equates to good business because that’s two degrees and a shit load of debt. OH MY. Anyway. Bust A Groove. It’s called this in the UK and US because there was already a game called Bust A Move over here. This is what Bust A Move is:

Yeah, those crazy dancing beasties with their rhythmical balls and all that. How can you not dance along with them – oh wait. Wrong game. Seriously. How is it possible to get confused with them? Call them by the same name but PEOPLE CANNOT GET CONFUSED UNLESS THEY THINK DANCING DINOSAURS AND BOULDERS ARE THE SAME AS DANCING PEOPLE IN 3D GOOD GRIEF, LEARN TO ACTUALLY LOOK WITH YOUR EYES AND SHIT, PEOPLE.

Back to the nitty gritty and Bust A Groove is a rhythm action game in the same vain as any game where you press buttons in time to the music of which there aren’t very many because there are not such games like it at all. Someone told me about some games called Dancing Stage or Dance Dance Revolution but who’d call their games something so ridiculous? There’s no such games as that. They obviously dreamt it. And dance mats? HOW PECULIAR.

So the story?

What the fuck do you need a story for? It’s a sodding dancing game. If people fancy dancing against each other let them fucking dance against each other. Honestly, if you want a rhythm action game to feature a story, you’re better off with Parappa the Rapper battling against noodles in a game that REALLY exists and I am not kidding even though you think I am. Look, 10 dancers want to win dances and one of them is a giant robot, one of them is vaguely stripper-like, one of them loves hamburgers WAY too much and one of them is THIS:


Seriously. This is the best, probably most accurate explanation for the inclusion of this character. She is a catgirl. SHE IS CALLED KITTY-N. THIS IS JAPANESE CHARACTER DESIGN AT ITS USUAL DEGREE OF CATIFYING and that is now a word and I hate myself for that. Look, Kitty-N is, however, the character with the best song in the entire game so you can forgive her for that, even though her whole demeanour is unwaveringly disturbing from inception to execution. She has NOTHING on this character though:

This is Kelly. She’s ridiculous. According to her bio, she’s a high-class businesswoman. Who dresses in babygrows. Yup.


I’m not entirely sure what to make of that other than the fact she’s ridiculous and slightly fetishy. But again, her song is amazing and you can forgive her that. Just.

Mechanically, the game pulls no punches. If you’re the slightest bit off in timing, you will be shot in the face with FAILURE. In order to show who is winning, the game’s camera swings towards or away from you based on your ability with pressing the correct buttons in time with the flashing boxes. It’s pretty unforgiving all in all. If you mess up, you’re pulled into a tug of war with the camera and it’s either a good way of saying “YOU FUCKED UP” or a bad way of saying “YOU FUCKED UP, HA” – either way, the entire game yells condescension of the highest order. Sort of. I suppose it’s like the camera equivalent of a health meter or something. At the end of the track, if you haven’t fucked it up too much, you get FEVER TIME which is just a fancy way of saying “WELL DONE FOR NOT BEING SHIT.”

The game itself harboured two sequels, neither of which made its way to the UK so we don’t get continuation on that epic storyline that I mentioned. However, it all ends up being for the best because the soundtracks to the second game and the third game are pretty shit in comparison. Nothing will outdo the amazingness of this BANGER:

Yes, Kitty-N, I will never EVER run away.

For a game based on music and rhythm, the fact that this game has a decent soundtrack is pretty important and every track is different in many ways. There’s some silly pop, poppy pop, dance pop, J-Pop pop, other pop and other other pop. And then there’s Capoeira. I like to call it bouncepop but I trademarked that term YEARS AGO. NO STEALING.

Seriously, listen to this beast of a track and try not to bop along:


Not that this type of game sells very much these days without having to have some ridiculous hook/twist/edge to it, but this was a pretty nice little game to have. I remember seeing it enter the game charts in the UK at a pretty woeful 40 but who knows, maybe the other person who bought it besides me enjoyed it too. In the grand scheme of things, Enix won’t be renewing this franchise anytime soon unless someone at Square Enix decides to go: “you know what no one wants to have a sequel to that no one will even care about?” and someone will reply with “no” and then we’ll never get the sequel anyway. That’s how these work I’m told. But then again, I only have two degrees and neither of them are in gossip.



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