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Video Game / DJ Boy

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DJ Boy is a series of two video games developed Kaneko between 1989-1992 in the side-scrolling Beat 'em Up genre. Both games are based around The Golden Age of Hip Hop culture in the USA during the late Eighties and early Nineties. Both games also have Excuse Plots, though the original DJ Boy's story differed depending on which platform you were on.

In the original arcade version, Bob and his friend Tom are just breakdancing to the sounds of their boombox when a gang of thieves (known as the Dark Knights in the home versions) attack them and rob them of their boombox. The two teenagers then chase the thieves across their city to get their boombox back, while fighting all kinds of wacky enemies along the way.

The Sega Genesis version has a different story entirely: Donald J. Boy (really just Bob with a new name), a popular breakdancer and fighter, is preparing to enter a fight-race known as "Rollergame" in Cigaretch City, located on the outskirts of New York City. However, the Dark Knights want him out of the competition, and kidnap his girlfriend Maria. Their leader then offers an ultimatum: Either leave the Rollergame, or never see Maria again. DJ Boy, undaunted, must beat the Rollergame and save Maria all in one go.


Published by Sega for arcades in Japan and on the Genesis internationally, and by Sammy in North America,note  DJ Boy was quickly Bowdlerized in North America, and for very good reason: the game had an insane amount of racial caricatures, with one memorable one being "Big Mamma": An overweight black woman with extremely dark skin and big red lips, resembling both the Mammy and Blackface caricatures. The North American arcade and Genesis ports significantly lightened her skin to make it look less obvious she was a blackface sterotype. The arcade version also featured Wolfman Jack or Demon Kogure as the narrator, depending on your region.

In 1992, Kaneko released B.Rap Boys as a sequel to DJ Boy. Although it's not a direct sequel (neither Bob, Tom or Donald appear), it takes place in the same universe, and features a similar plot to the console port of DJ Boy: The protagonist(s) is on his way to fight the champion of "Death Match", and ends up fighting rival gangs on the way there. B.Rap Boys also ratchets up the wackiness and already brutal difficulty of DJ Boy to a much higher level. It was also notable for being one of the first video games to have an entirely lyricized (and licensed!) hip hop soundtrack, with some of the songs being slight remixes of tracks performed by the early 90s rap group 3 Stories High, from their Japanese album release Famous Last Words.


While the games have mostly fallen into obscurity, DJ Boy is often considered to be the Spiritual Ancestor to both the Streets of Rage and Jet Set Radio video games.

Both games feature examples of:

  • Chase Fight: Quite a few since the protagonists all fight on roller blades. DJ Boy had a few sequences of this but B.Rap Boys took it even further with sequences that had down hill slopes in a few stages which in turn amped up the speed. Not to mention a few stages where bulls suddenly come rushing into the fray.
  • Dance Battler: All of the protagonists fall under Type 2: They're all highly skilled and popular breakdancers, but have no problem kicking your ass six ways to Sunday if you get in their faces. And on rollerblades, no less.
  • The Golden Age of Hip Hop: Both games were inspired by it.
  • Happy Dance: All characters will dance in victory after clearing a level.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: if you're not parallel with the enemy you're trying to attack, you're gonna end up hitting thin air. This, of course, doesn't apply to the A.I.
  • Nintendo Hard: Playing on any difficulty but Easy in DJ Boy ramps up the difficulty to ridiculous levels. B.Rap Boys is hard from the get go, as all of your opponents have way more health than you, and can empty half of your lifebar with only a handful of attacks.
  • Palette Swap: All over the shop, from the enemies to Bob and Tim from the first game. And that's not even getting into the bosses...
  • Rollerblade Good: The main characers' mode of transportation, as well as most of the enemies. B.Rap Boys added bicycles and skateboards to the mix.
  • Shared Universe: DJ Boy and B.Rap Boys take place in the same continuity, though none of the characters from either game have interacted with each other.

DJ Boy features examples of:

  • Adaptation Name Change: Bob's name was changed to Donald J. Boy for the Genesis port.
  • Ambiguously Brown: DJ Boy is white in all promotional material, but his in-game sprite is more racially ambiguous, due to his tan color.
  • Bowdlerized: The North American releases drastically changed Big Mamma's skin tone so she would look less like a Mammy and blackface stereotype.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Village People and Michael Jackson expies appear in the Arcade version, but were removed from the Genesis port.
  • No Ending: The arcade version just... ends. There's not even a final boss in the last level, you just fight Big Mamma again and that's it. Game Over, A Winner Is You. Allegedly, the game designers ran out of time and couldn't think of a final boss and ending, so just slapped that together.
  • Shout-Out: Bob/DJ Boy's dance sequence is a shortened version of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" routine.
  • Title Scream: Growled loudly by the one and only Wolfman Jack.

B.Rap Boys features examples of:

  • Boss Rush: As you go through the final stage, some of the past bosses and mini bosses will show up to fight you again.
  • Denser and Wackier: While DJ Boy had it's share of "out-there" moments, B.Rap Boys takes street fighting to a whole different level. Fighting in giant mech suits, dodging exploding watermelons, and a roller coaster fight sequence nearly takes it into widget territory.
  • Elevator Action Sequence: B. Rap Boys offers up a variation of the classic beat 'em up cliche: One particular level largely takes place inside a construction site, and the protagonists get ambushed on a platform being carried by a crane. And instead of simply going up, the crane moves up, down, right and left in order for more enemies to jump on the platform and fight you.
  • Giant Mecha: The game's second boss uses one. In order to even the playing field, your character is provided with one upon entering the boss arena.
  • Five-Token Band: Three, but it still works. The main characters are White, Latino, and Black.
  • Interesting Situation Duel: You have no idea. DJ Boy had it's share of quirky encounters, but B. Rap Boys is in it's own league. From a roller coaster sequence, to fighting lions and giant robots, it's one crazy scenario after another until you get to the final boss.
  • No Fair Cheating: The game will lock out any other players from joining once you approach the final boss, likely to prevent the player from using a character with full health and lives.
    • If cheats are enabled via an emulator such as MAME, the game will deactivate said cheats near the end of the game.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The characters' dancing outfits are reminiscent of MC Hammer's style of wear. Makes sense, since Hammer's style was still popular at the time.
    • Two recurring bosses have the familiar overalls color scheme of Mario and Luigi.
  • There Can Be Only One: If played on multi-player and two or all three reach the final boss. The game forces you to fight the others since, well, the point of the story is to reach the Champion of "Death Match" and fight him solo. And the victor only gets one shot at it, no continues.
  • "YEAH!" Shot: Done after the defeat of a stage boss, with the screen freezing for a moment and the caption "We Did It!" popping up. It's actually pretty humorous.
    Player Character: I'LL BE NUMBER ONE!

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