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Bust a Groove is a hybrid music/fighting video game for the Sony PlayStation released in 1998. The game was published by the Japanese video game developer Enix in Japan and brought to the U.S. by now-defunct 989 Studios and SCEE in Europe.[citation needed]

Bust a Groove
Bust a Groove cover.jpg
Cover of the PAL version of Bust a Groove
Developer(s)Metro Graphics
Platform(s)PlayStation, Arcade
  • JP: January 29, 1998
  • NA: October 31, 1998
  • EU: November 1998
Genre(s)Music, fighting
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

The original Japanese game was titled Bust a Move: Dance & Rhythm Action (バスト ア ムーブ Dance & Rhythm Action, Basuto a Mūbu Dance & Rhythm Action); in the U.S., it became Bust-A-Groove because the Japanese puzzle series Puzzle Bobble was already going under the name Bust-A-Move for its American incarnation. The game combined PaRappa the Rapper-like rhythm-based gameplay with fighting game elements, including special moves designed to damage the opponent and a focus on head-to-head competitive play.

The sequel, Bust a Groove 2, unlike its predecessor, was never released in Europe. A third game in the series, Dance Summit 2001 was only released in Japan on the PlayStation 2.



The game mechanics are quite simple and focuses on beats. The player needs to press a series of arrows that appears on the interaction bar using the D-Pad and be able to press the corresponding face button (Circle or X) every fourth beat of the music to execute a dance move, otherwise it will be a miss. The player is aided with the beats by the blinking of the bar. When the player performs a combo of eight dance moves, new paths with more complex moves open up, allowing the player to earn more points.

The player could also execute a "Jammer" (attack) to interrupt the enemy which could also be dodged by a somersault move. A dodge could be used by pressing Square at the right time, which would cause the character to do a backflip and avoid the attack.



Name Age Dance Style Jammer Info
Frida 17 West Coast hip-hop She paints a wolf's head, which bites the opponent She is an artist who lives in a shack. Her ambition is to use the Groovetron to give life to her paintings. Her favorite word is "Life".
Gas-O 15 House dance Traps the opponent in a gas chamber Gas-O first became interested in becoming a scientist when he was eight. Now at 15, he has accomplished several outstanding tasks, including consulting for NASA, logging time on a particle accelerator, and studying the gaseous elements in his laboratory. Gas-O hopes to use the Groovetron to develop the ultimate gas.
Hamm 30 Detroit Modern A giant hamburger squishes the opponent He used to be a great dancer, but his love for junk food has left him somewhat chubby. He became a hamburger joint employee to satisfy his craving for junk food. He wants to use the Groovetron to help him diet. His favorite word is "Move".
Heat 19 East Coast hip-hop Breakdance A giant flame comes down on the opponent He is the "poster boy" of this game. He used to be a racer, but hasn't returned to the track because he was nearly incinerated when he was involved in a terrible accident. Luckily, he made a total recovery with the ability to manipulate fire.
Hiro 20 1970s Disco An autographed picture of himself crashes onto the opponent Hiro is a narcissistic disco-loving character. He lives in a costly tiny apartment where he works with his computer until Saturday night, when his playboy antics really take off. Don't even begin to try to match his Saturday night standards—he is truly one of a kind. His favorite word is "Split".
Kelly 23 Modern Jazz dance A burst of sparkling energy is gathered in her rattle and thrown at the opponent She is a secretary who has a fetish with everything infantile (related to babies), and wants to find a man. She bought her rubber suit to dress in when she is a guest at secret parties. She seems worried about her new rubber suit; this may be due to its cost.
Kitty Nakajima (Kitty-N) 17 Vogue A white crescent-shaped boomerang with a pink heart on it is thrown at the opponent This lovable TV star is on break from the hit TV show "Love Love Senshi Miracle 5." She wants to use the Groovetron's power to make her the ultimate TV star. She has bought the penthouse floor of a building and converted it into her private dancing studio, just for the purposes of attracting more people.
Pinky Diamond Unknown Classic 1970s Motown Giant tarot cards fall around the opponent, cursing them She is a stripper, fortune-teller, a professional contract killer, and she does hair. It's no wonder she's so weird. She has the power to see into your lover's heart and claims to know you better than you know yourself. Your secrets are nowhere near being safe close to her!
Shorty 12 Funk dance (Candy Hip-Hop) Giant pieces of candy that fall on her opponent She is the daughter of a diplomat father and a supermodel mother. Obviously, Shorty lives in a rich family with nothing better to do than dance with Columbo, her pet mouse. Her love for outdated music drives her to madness at a flea market, where she frantically searches for 8-track tapes. Her favorite word is "Friendship".
Strike 21 Gangsta Walking Shoots the opponent with his two guns He is from a notorious street gang, and managed to do something bad to get in the state penitentiary. He is gathering his fellow prisoners to form a dance team, called "The Ball and Chain Revue." Strike's favorite word is "Freedom."


Name Age Dance Style Jammer Info
Burger Dog Unknown Detroit Modern A giant hamburger squishes the opponent Burger Dog is the dog that runs the restaurant in Hamm's stage. Is unlocked by playing the game through on Medium difficulty or higher with Hamm after the first completion.
Capoeira Unknown Capoeira A wall of energy dazes the opponent Capoeira, individually known as Kiki and Lala, have come to Earth to collect Japanese billboards to construct a giant fan. They are also here to display the power of the Groovetron, their special "dancing energy" invention. Unlocked by finishing the game on Medium after the first completion.
Columbo Unknown Funk dance Giant pieces of candy fall on his opponent Columbo is Shorty's pet mouse, whom she keeps in her chest pocket while dancing. He is unlocked by finishing the game on Medium difficulty or higher with Shorty after the first run through, but will also jump out of Shorty's pocket and dance with her should she successfully execute a level seven freeze.
Robo-Z Unknown Vogue A blast of shock-inducing waves Robo-Z was constructed by a tyrannical organization only known as "Secret X." Robo-Z was built for the sole purpose of harnessing total power of the Groovetron. Robo-Z is 50 feet tall on the final level, but on other stages, he is about the same height as normal characters. He is unlocked by finishing the game on Hard difficulty after the first run through, or after completing two run throughs at an easier level.


  • Frida - Sora to Umi to Niji no Yume (空と海と虹の夢)
    • Translation: "Dreams of Sky, Sea, and Rainbows"
  • Gas-O - Chemical Love
  • Hamm/Burger Dog - I luv hamburgers
  • Heat - 2 Bad
  • Hiro - The Natural Playboy
  • Kelly - Transform
  • Kitty N - Aozora no KNIFE (Bust a Move Edit) (青空のknife)
    • Translation: "Knife of the Blue Skies"
    • NA Release - Bust a Groove
  • Pinky - I know
  • Shorty/Columbo - Waratte pon (笑ってぽん)
    • Translation: "Crack a Smile"
    • NA Release - Shorty and the EZ Mouse
  • Strike - Power
  • Capoeira - Uwasa no KAPOERA (噂のカポエラ)
    • Translation: "The Rumored Capoeira"
    • NA Release - CAPOEIRA
  • Robo-Z - Flyin to your soul

Additionally, a remix of Aozora no KNIFE (titled "blue knife (start G move mix)" on the Japanese soundtrack) was used as the opening theme for the game. A different remix, "blue knife dream (orchestra stall mix)", was used during the ending credits.


The game was made available in two different packages in Japan; the first is the more common single-disc (game only) version. The second package is a lesser-known version which contains two discs: the game disc and the Premium Disc. The Premium Disc contains four movies, and to access the movies you had to have a memory card with a Bust a Move save file on it. Accomplishing certain tasks in the game would unlock certain movies. One of the movies on the disc featured Hatsumi Morinaga, the artist responsible for singing the theme of Kitty-N's stage. This feature contained shots of the artist singing the song in the studio, an interview with the artist, and a live-action version of the game, complete with costumed Japanese dancers taking the parts of the various characters (Kitty-N, Heat, and Kelly are all included, amongst others). The other three movies contained within the disc were all for other Enix games: AstroNooori (a game unreleased in the U.S.), Star Ocean: The Second Story, and Hello Charlie (known as Eggs of Steel in the U.S.). The premium version was otherwise identical to the game-only version; the gameplay, box art, and instruction manual were essentially the same, with the exception of a large red box with white type on the spine card proclaiming the addition of a Premium CD-ROM.


The Western versions of the game had a number of changes from the Japanese version, mostly due to cultural differences between countries.

  • Hiro-kun was originally smoking a cigarette in the game but this was removed for the Western releases. Also, his name was shortened to just "Hiro", with "kun" being omitted.
  • Hamm's general appearance was changed from a ganguro design into a generic, Caucasian style. As a result, cutscenes for him were also changed.
  • Hamm's song had two of its lines changed. Near the beginning, "McDonald's, Burger King, or any other place" was replaced with a loop of "Hamburger lovers let me hear you say ho" (which is heard again later in the song). Near the end of the song, the word 'nigga' (said by the female singer) was completely blanked out in the Western releases.
  • Strike's song originally contained references to alcohol. This line was removed for the Western releases, leaving an instrumental following the line "Like Arnold Schwarzenegger, I'm the only true Eraser".
  • During gameplay, Strike is seen drinking from a hip flask. This was changed to a can of soda pop (possibly Coca-Cola).
  • "Waratte PON", "Aozora no KNIFE", "Uwasa no KAPOEIRA" and "Transform" were translated to English and were re-recorded for the Western releases (The former three were re-titled as "Shorty and the EZ mouse", "Bust a Groove" and "Capoeira", respectively).
  • Frida (Player 2) hair color was originally black, but was changed to blue for the Western releases.
  • In the middle of Pinky's song, the rapper says a line that can be heard as, "Nigga move!" In the Western releases, this line is also faintly heard.

Bust a Groove: Arcade EditionEdit

An arcade edition of Bust a Groove (Bust a Move) was exclusively released in Japan. Although released only in Japan, it held the title of Bust a Groove which is the English release title. The controls are still the same from the PlayStation version but changed how to execute them. The player now has to press the giant Left, Up and Right buttons in a giant pad and step on a footpedal for the 'Down' command while the PlayStation buttons (Square, X etc.), are replaced by a giant "Dance!" button. The buttons also had to be pressed in a rhythmic manner or still be counted as a "miss". A Jammer button was also included.

The arcade version features only 5 stages (Robo-Zs stage always being the last one).[1][2]


Next Generation reviewed the PlayStation version of the game, rating it four stars out of five, and stated that "Bust-A-Move is definitely an idea whose time has come, and it helps bridge the gap between hardcore gaming and mass culture appeal. It doesn't hurt that it's also a serious blast to play."[3]

Next Generation reviewed the U.S. PlayStation version of the game, rating it four stars out of five, and stated that "Overwhelmingly infectious tunes that have been translated to English for the U.S., hordes of secret dancers, and stages, charming touches such as secondary animations in stages for players who execute tough movies, and a clever, though not entirely unique, concept make Bust-A-Groove a game that deserves to find an audience in the U.S."[4]


  1. ^ a b Bust a Groove Arcade Edition IGN. Retrieved on 2009-02-03
  2. ^ Bust a Groove Arcade Review GameFAQs. Retrieved on 2009-02-03
  3. ^ "Finals". Next Generation. No. 41. Imagine Media. May 1998. p. 111.
  4. ^ "Finals". Next Generation. No. 50. Imagine Media. February 1999. p. 100.

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