Review by LordShibas
"I think this game wants my blood"
One of the great things about the PSP and the DS is the ability for game developers to recreate their classic games and let us relive simpler times in our gaming lives. These classic gaming conventions often lead to some incredible gameplay experiences where we get to further appreciate games after playing them again. Games like Resident Evil and Suikoden really stand out as games I've learned to appreciate more in recent times, but sometimes resurrecting a classic game is not a good idea, and the memories we have are far more rewarding than actually going back and playing the game.
This is the case with PaRappa the Rapper. I remember having lots of fun with this game back in the day, but now, this game just exudes mediocrity. I don't think I've ever seen a game that is so simple, yet requires such a tremendous amount of luck and perseverance. The gameplay is horribly sloppy and inaccurate, and the game will give you a fever just trying to make sense of it all.
I like challenges in my games, I really do. I've been through Etrian Odyssey, Fire Emblem games, Shining the Holy Ark, heck I even grinded my way to a level 60 character in Flyff, but PaRappa the Rapper just destroyed me. Maybe I just don't understand this game. Or maybe out rapping a talking onion or a cooking chicken is far more complex than any of the things I previously mentioned.
I acquired this game via the PSN, for my PSP Go. The price was $22.99, and I think that's a bit steep for a game like PaRappa the Rapper. The PSP version of PaRappa the Rapper is just a rehash of the Playstation version. There are a few new added features, like being able to download new songs, but I didn't bother. The standalone game was enough to drive me crazy.
Downloading the digital version of PaRappa the Rapper was flawless. I had no problems with the game at all. Playing it on the PSP Go was not an issue either. All of the commands for the game are entered via the face buttons and the L and R buttons.
PaRappa the Rapper is a music based game that challenges your ability to time button presses with beats and on screen prompts. I don't usually play music games. In fact, I really despise the whole Rock Band/Guitar Hero thing, but PaRappa the Rapper was partially responsible for creating the music/rhythm genre (I think). However, just because it's one of the genre's originators, doesn't mean it's a good game overall.
You will play the roll of PaRappa, who is a chibi, rapping dog. The goal of the game is to rap against a variety of opponents to accomplish small goals for PaRappa, like getting his driver's license, or cutting in line to go to the bathroom. Why does he want to do all of this you might ask? Well, it's to impress Sunny, his girlfriend. Sunny is a humanized flower that has stolen the heart of PaRappa, and he will do anything to win her over.
The story is incredibly stupid and childish. It's not even worth mentioning anything else about it. What is worth mentioning are the characters that you will be rapping against. PaRappa will be rapping against some zany characters with outlandish temperaments. Some of these characters include a karate master onion, a reggae singing frog, and a chicken who loves cooking in the kitchen.
The art style of the characters is pretty unique. The developers chose to make all of the characters paper thin and only have details on their front and back. It makes the cartoon style art pretty inviting, and makes the whole experience seem abstract. The backgrounds are the same. They are very simple and are mostly very colorful and vibrant.
Another positive note for the game is the music. The music us extremely catchy, and the songs will be in your head for days. Never in my life could I have imagined that I would some day have a song stuck in my head about baking a cake, but sure enough, it happened. The voice acting is pretty good for the main characters too. It's pretty annoying when PaRappa yells out I gotta believe!!! over and over, but I guess the character has to have something to strive for.
The game is extremely simple. There is a line of beats at the top of the screen, and an indicator will go across it at a predetermined speed. Each beat is represented by a button, and you have to time the button presses. Your opponent will go first, and it's your job to repeat the rap just as your opponent has done.
This is where things start to get ugly for PaRappa the Rapper. Timing the button presses is very inconsistent, and whether you try to match up the on screen indicator, or time your button presses with the beats, it just doesn't seem to work out well. If you mess up two lines, you will be bumped down to the Bad status of rapping, and you will need to fight your way back to the Good status of rapping to keep going. If you stay in the Bad status, or fall down to the Awful status, you will get stopped and you will have to redo the entire stage. If you succeed, you will go on to the next stage.
There are only six stages, but the amount of times you need to redo them will be great, since it's near impossible to get the haphazard timing down. It's more frustrating than fun. You can be rapping well during a stage, and then fall down to the Bad status in seconds. You almost need to do each line perfectly to stay afloat. The problem is that it seems more based on luck than anything else. Sometimes adding extra beats to the lines will reward you, and sometimes adding extra beats will kill your score.
The game throws you into a perpetual loop of retrying, so trying again takes little effort, but things just get annoying after a while. I mean how many times do I have to fail until I get lucky enough to pass the stage? The gameplay is just pathetic, and does little to make up for the lack of precision.
The big draw with this game is the entertaining music and catchy beats. Instead of playing this game, just youtube the different stages, get your fill of the music and save yourself $22.99 and the frustration of playing this game. You will be better off. Some games age like fine wine, PaRappa the Rapper is not one of them. It may have its entertaining qualities, but playing the actual game is not one of them.
I have since ostracized PaRappa the Rapper from my PSP Go hard drive. No need to keep it around if the game is too imprecise to be enjoyed.
PaRappa the Rapper is one of those games that just doesn't seem to fit in these days. Back in the day, it was okay for a game to have so many faults, but nowadays PaRappa the Rapper just doesn't cut it. It would be a hard game to enjoy even if you are a fan of the music genre. It's also very overpriced on the PSN, so buy the game at your own discretion.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 02/03/10
Game Release: PaRappa the Rapper (US, 07/17/07)
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