Video Game / Bust a Groove

Yo Ho! Bust a stone cold groove!
DJ Mix Deadly
My, what big feet they have.
Bust a Groove (known as Bust a Move in Japan) is a series of rhythm games released by Enix (now Square Enix). The first two games were released for the PlayStation and the third on the PlayStation 2. The games feature character designs by Hideyuki Tanaka, director and character designer for the anime Super Milk Chan.

The first game focuses on ten dancers and the mysterious "dance energy" known as Groovetron. The goal of the game is to dance battle your way to the final boss and become no. 1 dancer. The characters in this game are Frida, Heat, Gas-O, Hamm, Hiro, Kelly, Kitty-N, Pinky Diamond, Shorty, and Strike. Included also are four hidden characters: Burger Dog, Capoeira, two aliens that created the energy Groovetron, Columbo (No, not that one.), and the final boss, Robo-Z.

The second game pretty much removes what little story the previous game had and focuses more on the character's lives in a series of This is Your Life-esque endings. Sadly, they were cut out of the North American release. In this game, Frida, Gas-O, Hamm, and Pinky are gone and replaced with Comet, Bi-O, and Tsutomu. There are also new playable characters: ChiChi and Sally, Hustle Kong, McLoad, Michael Doi, Sushi Boy, and Pander. Columbo also makes a return with Burger Dog as a cameo.

The third game in the series is Dance Summit 2001. This time, none of the dancers from the previous two installments make an appearance (save for Strike and Burger Dog, who make cameo appearances on Jumbo Max's stage). It features a whole new cast and focuses more on team dancing. Also unlike the first two, it has no endings. And it was only released in Japan, meaning it's the more obscure of the three. In this game, there are a total of eight teams of four: The School Mates, The Data Bebops, CusuCusu, The Flower Dancing Team, Galaxy 4, Discos Estrus, Jumbo Max, and The Far East Commanders.

All three games also feature DJs that serve as announcers. DJ Kickn' in the first. DJ Dangerous and DJ Mix Deadly in the second. And in the third, DJ Donna Burke. Yes, that Donna Burke.

The first two games were a moderate success, with the third being something of a Scrappy to the series, due to the new characters, gameplay, and recycled dance moves. Though it has it's own cult following, as well.

Whether Square Enix plans on making a new game in the series is unknown (and probably unlikely).

The series has examples of the following tropes:

  • Acrofatic: Hamm, who's moveset involves a lot of spinning and twisting you wouldn't expect a guy his size to pull off!
  • Adaptation Paint Job: Robo-Z. He was blue in the first game, then gold in the second.
  • Ambiguously Brown: It's pretty obvious which characters are supposed to be black, but with Heat, Strike, Frida, Banbi, Honda, and Hamamatsu, it's pretty hard to tell.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Pander's stage in Bust a Groove 2 and Iga Base in Dance Summit.
  • Animation Bump: The motion capture moves were always impressive, but whether fans love it or hate it, they all seem to agree that Dance Summit 2001 has some of the best motion capture graphics the series has ever seen. Of course, it helps that it's on the PS2.
  • Artificial Stupidity: All three games have their moments. Particularly in Bust a Groove 2 and Dance Summit 2001. The AI messes up quite a bit, though it has no problem reflecting your attacks..
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The bossfights against Robo-Z at the end of the game have him at his true Kaiju size. Averted for the other characters in the other modes, where his stage isn't accessible outside of his personal Practice and Dance View modes in the first game, and the second player is required to select Robo-Z in order to play on his stage in versus mode.
  • Awesomeness Meter: The Groove Bars in Bust a Groove 2. Line 'em up, and something freaky/cool happens in the stage you're dancing in.
  • Axe Crazy: Gas-O. Literally. He attacked his father Bi-O with an axe, lodging it into his skull.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: Doesn't matter which region you're playing. Heat (at least in the first game) and Shorty still speak in Japanese.
    • Frida's song is also still in Japanese for...some reason.
  • Bladder of Steel: The game let's you pause, but you can't continue where you left off. The only options on the pause menu is 'Retry' or 'Quit'. God forbid you get a phone call or have to answer the doorbell in the middle of a song..
  • Collision Damage: Robo-Z's first stage, Kelly's stage in Bust a Groove 2, and Jumbo Max's stage in Dance Summit 2001.
  • Combo Breaker: Inverted. You can inflict this on opponents to mess up their combo. For example, Hiro throws a picture of himself, Frida paints a wolf, Strike fires a machine gun, Heat launches a fireball and Shorty tosses a large cake.
  • Degraded Boss: Capoeira go from being an unlockable sub-boss in the first game to part of the starting roster in the second.
  • Dub Name Change: The game is known as Bust A Move in Japan - because of another example of this trope, Puzzle Bobble/Bust-A-Move
    • Also, Kitty-N's song, Aozora no Knife, was renamed Bust a Groove in the overseas release.
  • Evil Laugh: Robo-Z has a rather nightmarish one.
  • Expy: Betty and Olive look like modern versions of Betty Boop and Olive Oyl, with Candy being a combination of Kelly and Shorty. (Some fans even theorized that Candy is Kelly.)
    • Banbi herself looks like Frida.
  • Finishing Move: If you clear a match with a high enough score, you'll unlock Fever Time where your character does one final, usually extra complex dance routine by themselves. In the sequel, if the two opponents scores are close enough, a Double Fever Time will occur instead, with the two dancers doing a duet combo that ends with the loosing dancer bowing to the victor.
  • Follow the Leader: Hilariously (or pathetically) enough, Konami tried to cash in with their own Bust a Groove-like dance game called Dance! Dance! Dance!. It copied almost everything it could from Bust a Groove. From the announcer saying "Freeze!" to even the key sound for the cursor and buttons. There's also a Hiro-kun expy and a Kelly expy (George and Jennifer). Judging from the lackluster soundtrack and the fact that it's even more obscure than SNK's Cool Cool Toon and Tecmo's didn't quite work.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Comet's infamous song is probably the first thing that comes to mind. And though it's not stated outright, (at least in the North American version) Pinky earning money "by more devious means" brings to mind something rather raunchy. The way she dresses doesn't help.
  • Idle Animation: Before the music starts the characters move from side-to side. or clap their hands. Or march in place..
  • Image Song: Every song in the series. Some of which double as a Boastful Rap/"I Am Great!" Song.
  • Improbable Hairstyle: A few characters. What with who designed them, it's to be expected.
  • In-Name-Only: Betty and Olive have very little in common with Betty Boop and Olive Oyl. And no, Banbi is NOT a deer, nor is it a misspelling.
  • Meaningful Name: Capoeira, a duo of aliens who dance using Capoeira. Yes, the fighting style.
  • Moveset Clone: Columbo and Burger Dog in the first game, of Shorty and Hamm respectively. The second game has Columbo returning with other characters mimicking Kitty-N, Kelly, Capoeira, Hiro and Comet.
  • Name's the Same: Frida may have been named after Frida Kahlo. What with her being an artist an all..
  • Promoted to Playable: Played straight with the above mentioned unlockable characters, and inverted with Strike and Burger Dog, who were "Demoted to Cameo" in Dance Summit 2001.
  • Squashed Flat: Hamm's attack, and by extension Burger Dog's attack as well, in the first game crushes the opponent with a giant hamburger. In the second game, Shorty's can smoosh the opponent with a huge cake, while Columbo does the same thing with pudding/flan. In both games, hitting the opponent twice with these attacks will turn them into Paper People for the rest of the round.