Every once in a while, I will come across something in a game that just makes me think “Wow, I wish this were in more games.” This new series should give me a chance to recognize features, trends, and mechanics I wish were more common in games. For our inaugural article, I want to talk about something that’s near and dear to my heart: song and dance numbers during end credits. After having played for hours to reach the end of a game, players deserve a reward. That’s why it’s disappointing how many games have sub-par endings. A brief cutscene, and then a credit scroll on a black background. Lame. You deserve better. You deserve fun. You deserve an elaborately choreographed and animated dance tribute to your game-beating awesomeness. To demonstrate this point, here are a few of the best examples of end-game dance numbers.
Plants vs. Zombies
Lets start things off right, with the cutest video you’ll ever see, involving zombies. Showcasing a rave of dancing zombies, the dance number perfectly reflects the fun and lighthearted tone of the game. The song, written and performed by Laura Shigihara (whose Youtube channel has a ton of other amazing game-related music), features amusing lyrics and a ridiculously catchy tune that you’ll have stuck in your head long after you stop playing.
‘Splosion Man was a very strange platformer that originally released on Xbox Live in 2009. Players took on the role of an escaped lab experiment who used his ability to spontaneously combust to escape the lab. Along the way he take on the lab’s scientists, who he can blow up and turn into meat. Yeah. In any case, such a bizarre concept deserves an equally absurd ending, don’t you think? Well, ‘Splosion Man delivers, with a live action video starring a guy dressed up as the titular character running around blowing up scientists and fighting off the floating heads of the game’s developers. While all of that is delightfully insane, its the last thirty seconds or so that qualifies it for this list. I think that makes it worth it, if only so I can have an excuse to make you watch this video.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
This one is a classic. Finally free from the tyranny of Ganondorf after seven long years, how do the various races and people of Hyrule celebrate? By throwing an awesome dance party in the middle of Lon Lon Ranch, that’s how! Pretty much every character makes an appearance, from the Gerudo kick line to Biggoron crushing people in the background. It’s a satisfying way to end such an awesome game. For those who want to get to the good part, skip to 2:40 in the video to get right to the party.
“As long as there’s music, I’ll keep on dancing.” Spoken in the tutorial level, this statement pretty much encapsulates Bayonetta’s attitude. Throughout the game, she never shies away from any opportunity to cut loose, and the combat in the game is practically dancing itself. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that, after having personally guided the final boss into the sun, Bayonetta enjoys two separate dance numbers during the ending. While the second one is also very cool, I decided to showcase the first one, since it’s more energetic and has cameos from other characters and enemies. While a bit risque, this dance is still a lot of fun, and is a fitting end for such a stylish game.
At last, we come to my original inspiration for this list, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s from Clover Studios, whose members would go on to form Platinum Games and make Bayonetta. God Hand was a 3D beat-’em-up that was overlooked by most, which is a shame. With its tight controls, ridiculously over-the-top attacks, and overall sense of humor and fun, God Hand is an amazing game. The end credits are equally awesome, showcasing almost every enemy in the game dancing together. The song is especially of note; anything that includes the line “Dragon Kick your ass into the Milky Way!” deserves special attention. Overall, this video is the perfect example of why dance numbers should be included in more games; they’re just a lot of fun.
With those examples in mind, I thought I’d take a minute and examine a couple of the games that could benefit from a dance number during the end credits.
Final Fantasy XIII
Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually a fan of this game, and really enjoyed its combat system and story. The main issue I have with it is that the characters are always so serious. The game has hardly any light-hearted moments, and most of those come courtesy of a baby chocobo. The main cast is dead serious all of the time, to the point where its a bit off-putting. That’s why seeing them all break down and have a good time at the end would have been very satisfying. Go ahead, imagine Lighting trying to dance. Made you smile just thinking about it, didn’t it?
In a world where most JRPG characters seem two steps away from cutting themselves, the cast of Persona 4 remembers that you can still have fun while you tell a serious story. The characters are funny and charming, which is why a dance number seems like a natural fit for an ending bonus. The recent remake, Persona 4: The Golden, even goes a step further and adds a scene where the group forms a band. Come on, Atlus! Make this happen!
Okay, I’m going to say this up front: I haven’t finished Mass Effect 3 yet. That being said, the internet won’t shut up about how disappointing the trilogy’s ending was. I do not know what happens, but I bet I know something that could have improved things: the entire Normandy crew beating the Reapers in a dance off to save the universe. Tell me you wouldn’t pay for that DLC.
Have any other great examples of end credits dance numbers? How about ideas for a game that would have been improved by one? Please share them in the comments below.