In the Groove © 2004 Roxor Games, Incorporated.
In the Groove is a very physical game that requires coordination, precision, and stamina from the player to succeed. Similar to Konami's popular arcade game "Dance Dance Revolution
" (DDR), the player stands on a large metal dance pad approximately 33 inches in width and length. The pad is divided into a three-by-three matrix, with sensors at the north, south, west, and east squares of the matrix. These squares are labeled with arrows pointing up, down, left, and right, respectively. The player must use his feet to step on the arrows in the correct pattern in time with a song played through the machine's speakers.
After inserting enough coins into the machine to begin the game, the player chooses a game mode as well as the number of players. The player then chooses a song to play from a list. At the same time, the player picks the level of difficulty he wishes to play at : Novice, Easy, Medium, Hard, and Expert.
After choosing a song, difficulty, and any other options the player wishes to activate, gameplay begins. Four stationary arrows, known as 'receptors', are displayed at the top of the screen: left, down, up, and right (from left to right). As the song plays, moving arrows rise up from the bottom of the screen to meet the receptors. When a moving arrow is at the exact same location on screen as the receptor, the player steps on the corresponding arrow on the dance pad. This moment corresponds to the beat of the song being played. The player must step on the correct arrows in time with the music to receive a good score.
Every time the player attempts to step on an arrow, the game displays a judgment of how close to the beat the step was. In order from best to worst, these ratings are Fantastic, Excellent, Great, Decent, and Way Off. A judgment of 'Miss' is given if the player fails entirely to step on an arrow. An on-screen indicator displays the player's current 'combo' - that is; how many Fantastics, Excellents, and Greats the player has achieved in a row without receiving any lower judgments.
The objective of In the Groove is twofold : clear songs and achieve the best score possible.
An on-screen meter, known as a 'life bar', measures the player's success in stepping correctly. The meter begins at 50% and raises if the player steps on an arrow with a judgment of Fantastic, Excellent, or Great. The meter stays the same if the player steps on an arrow with a judgment of Decent, and lowers if the player gets a Way Off or Miss. The player is said to fail the song if this meter reaches 0% at any point during the song. The player may still continue to the end of the song, but is no longer able to score points. At the end of the song, if the player has failed, the game is over.
The player is scored by an on-screen percentage meter at the top of the screen. This display starts at 00.00% and increases as the player scores Fantastics, Excellents, and Greats, with more percentage being awarded for higher judgments. If the player gets nothing but Fantastics during the entire song, he will receive a grade of 100.00% - almost universally recognized as a very difficult feat. Lower percentage scores indicate how close the player was to scoring all Fantastics.