Rhythm-based minigames refer to minigames in the GTA series where the player is required to enter a sequence of commands in a rhythmical fashion that often plays alongside a certain song. The feature was introduced in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas in two forms: dancing and lowriders "bouncing" with hydraulics. The feature is likely to resurface in The Ballad of Gay Tony, a DLC for Grand Theft Auto IV, in the form of a dancing minigame in clubs.
The concept of the minigame is simple. As a certain song is played, a sequence of arrows denoting the directional key that the player must press will scroll from right to left, passing a circular marker in the middle of the screen. As each arrow passes the marker, the player must key in the corresponding command to score points; the timing of each player command is rated according to the position of the arrow within the marker, and the overall performance of the player is rated as soon as the player enters their first rhythmical command, all the way to the end of the minigame. In both cases, the timing of each command and the overall performance as the game progresses may be rated as "Perfect", "Good" or "Bad", and the amount of scores given depends on the former.
GTA San Andreas
In GTA San Andreas, dancing minigames are usually only available in nightclubs, including Alhambra in Los Santos, Gaydar Station in San Fierro, and an unnamed club east of The Camel's Toe in Las Venturas; one mission "Life's a Beach", employs the completion of the dancing minigame as a requisite to complete the mission. While in a nighclub, there are three levels in dancing that increases in difficulty with an increased number of rhythmical commands to follow; as the player passes a level by reaching a certain score, they move on the next level up until level 3 is unlocked:
- For level 1, Nuthin' but a "G" Thang is played. When CJ exceeds 5,000 points, he unlocks the next song.
- For level 2, Hollywood Swingin' is played. When CJ exceeds 6,000 points, he unlocks the next song.
- For level 3, Funky President is played.
While dancing, players may witness the player character's performance on the dance floor. If they miss a rhythm, the player's character will perform a poor dance; if they time their rhythm right, however, the player character will evidently dance better. In addition, spectators on the sidelines may cheer or jeer the player depending on their performance. Like most minigames, successful dancing has no significant benefits except to please girlfriends that the player brings along.
Lowrider bouncing in GTA San Andreas, also known as the Lowrider Challenge, functions similarly as dancing, except the player assumes the command of a lowrider equipped with hydraulics and bounce to the rhythms of . The completion of the minigame is mandatory during "Cesar Vialpando", and the player can reenter same lowrider meet at Unity Station if they are in a hydraulic-equipped lowrider. Unlike dancing, the player can bet a same sum of money against an opposing lowrider competitor, and must beat said competitor by scoring the highest number of points.
The Ballad of Gay Tony
Rhythm-based dancing is due to be reintroduced in The Ballad of Gay Tony, allowing the player to perform dance moves on the dance floors of various clubs added in the game. The exact nature of the minigame, as of yet, remains vague.