PC Review: In the Groove

If dancing is your thing, Roxor Games has upped the ante for PC/Mac gamers, releasing the first retail arcade-to-computer rhythm translation in about five years. The result is a fresh title that provides a completely overhauled experience for those looking to tap their toes to their home computer.

In the Groove is the latest commercial release by Roxor and features more than 80 different songs, a number of marathon courses and all of the crazy game modifiers that have been made synonymous with the series. Players can get the full experience of the game by using a USB dance pad (Red Octane sells a number of them) or by using a PS2 dance pad with a converter (for the curious – you can buy these at Radio Shack). If you’re padless, however, you can give your fingers quite the workout by using your keyboard.

The game is a reproduction of the original title in the series, and with the company preparing to release the third entry in the series to arcades, many players might be tempted to label the PC/Mac version as nothing more than a PS2 home version duplicate that Roxor is looking to cash in on.

However, the developers have gone the extra mile to ensure the new version doesn’t fall victim to that assumption with a number of extra unlockables and brand new difficulties and step charts.

For fans of the series, the most notable new catch is the taste of ITG3 players will get as they advance through the game. The final batch of unlockable songs contain three songs that will appear in the yet-to-be-released version of the game. Not only are there new songs to experience but also new/re-edited step charts for old songs are included in the PC/Mac version.

Older songs such as Bubble Dancer, Changes, Land of the Rising Sun and more now have expert difficulty levels and many other difficulty levels have new charts to patch up areas that lead to player complaints.

Not only does the computer version add on to the PS2, it also considerably outperforms it. The graphics are much sharper in this version and there is virtually no loading time in-between the menus and game play (results can vary depending on your hardware). The songs sound just as good as ever and, thankfully, are not edited for content like they are in the PS2 version.

Through USB, the PC version’s edit mode actually has some clout as players can take their creations to the arcade. Other modes of play include a tutorial, fitness, training, marathon modes and more.

In the Groove is arcade perfect in its computerized form but it did have a few minor nags that occurred while I was playing through it.

Players might want to check the system requirements because those with slower hardware will experience skipping and lag during game play – the bane of all rhythm games. Most people shouldn’t have too many problems but there were four specific instances through about six hours of game play where the game play skipped arrows on me. Also, when playing the game with the keyboard, the arrow keys do not recognize most instances where hitting three or four arrows at the same time is necessary.

In the Groove is also known for its much higher degree of difficulty compared to other titles of its genre. While it may intimidate some of the more casual players, dancers looking for a challenge will definitely find it in the game’s expert difficulty levels. This version gives dancers plenty of practice since expert difficulties aren’t selectable until a player finishes the song on its hard difficulty.

Aside from all of the new additions, extras and better performance, In the Groove for the PC/Mac acts as the true arcade-to-home translation of the first title. That being said, while there are a number of bells and whistles to enjoy, nothing more can be said about it than I’ve said in every other dancing game I’ve reviewed – the graphics do their job, it sounds great, the menus are easy to navigate and the control of the game depends upon what type of input device you choose to use.

Overall, In the Groove is the cream of the crop for PC owners and a blessing for Mac owners who, until now, haven’t had much choice at all. It executes better than its Playstation 2 predecessor and provides gamers with more content than even the arcade version has to offer. In the Groove is a must-have version for fans of the series that do not have the luxury of an arcade cabinet near them.

In the Groove is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB on the PS2. This game can also be found on: PS2, Mac.

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Categories: GemuBaka Review

Author:indiesnack

Indie Snack is a video gaming Web site focusing on independent developers and game releases. Indie Snack will also soon have services made available to independent developers to include tools aiding them in public relations and game marketing.

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  1. | Kyle Ward on In the GrooveGemuBaka - September 15, 2021

    […] A recent re-release of the original arcade version, Roxor used the beefier power of PCs and Macs to give players an experience completely identical to the arcades. With virtually no load times, unedited songs and even more, updated content, In the Groove (PC/Mac) is the most complete home version of the game that is currently available. Blogcritics reviewed this iteration of In the Groove. […]

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