Tuesday, January 27, 2009

PaRappa the Rapper review (PSP Version)

Name: PaRappa the Rapper
System/s: PSP/PS1
Developer: NanaOn-Sha
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: 7/17/07 (PSP) | 10/31/97 (PS1)

Ah rhythm games, where would you be without PaRappa? Perhaps not the first, but the the first to popularize rhythm games. Games like Guitar Hero, Gitaroo-Man, Beats, and Rock Band all owe some credit to PaRappa.

The game originally came out in 1997, and I heard about it many times, but I never actually played, or saw it played until it came out for PSP. A good friend of mine bought it, and really wanted me to see it, and after numerous mistakes (forgetting the game, ect.) he was finally able to show me it. Right away I fell in love with the style, graphics, and humor. I was shown a few levels, and played it a little myself. Along with Katamari, Gitaroo-Man and Loco Roco, it was another quirky Japanese game that I liked. For a while after I didn't play it again, until I was walking around a game store with money to spend, and no real idea on what I wanted, when I ran across the sequel (PaRappa the Rapper 2). Later I purchased the spin-off, (Um Jammer Lammy), and tried to get a hold of the original, however I only finally got the original game pretty recently and was finally able to play through it.

This review will be talking about both the game, and the fact that I played the PSP port, and the quality of that.

The game follows a rapping dog trying to deal with problems in his life, such as trying to go out with the girl he likes, and trying to grow up. The story is light in terms of plot detail, but that's not the point, the odds are you will be smiling at the absurdity of everything going on, and not caring to a huge degree about things that don't make sense, kind of like a kids cartoon or something.

The levels all have you follow a "Teacher's" rap, by pressing buttons to rap the what was just rapped to you, you can also throw in your own little beats by pressing buttons in time with ones you are told to press, and get extra points. For the most part it's a winning formula, but the difficulty is extremely hard, having you restart numerous times on the first level. Some people with experience on rhythm games might not find it super hard, but in general the hit boxes for the notes are very small, and it seems like sometimes when you hit if perfectly, you still lose points.

The game takes hours to beat usually, but not because of it's length, as it is only 6 levels long. The difficulty however makes each level take a lot of practice to beat, and as a longtime player of games, I feel this is a cheep move to make the game last longer. The levels however are each stellar, with the only one disappointing me being the last, and only slightly then.

The story ends kind of abruptly which is a disappointing as well, but I can handle that, as the story isn't a huge factor on the game.

Sadly there isn't a huge amount of replay value in this game, being limited to clearing each level , and unlocking a mini game. The PSP port of the game adds in downloadable remixes to the songs, and Ad Hoc multiplayer. The remixes aren't very good, and don't change the gameplay at all, just the background music, and none of them are really worth of note. Multiplayer is a nice addition, provided you know other people with copies of the game, however it's still a bit of a novelty, and wont be something you'll play more then a handlful of times.

One thing I wished they would have done for the PSP port, is fix the terrible lip syncing the original game has... Too bad they didn't.

Overall, the original game was quite a classic for it's time, and you can tell it's one of the first rhythm games, as there's not much too it. But you can't complain because you can't compare it to anything else.

Things I liked:

Wonderful style:
No one can dispute how awesome the style is in this game, after you see Prince Fleaswallows, you don't go back.

Wonderfully quirky Japanese, this is dripping in it, if you like Katamari, LocoRoco, or Gitaroo-Man, you will probably like this.

Good Songs:
The songs in this game are just good. I listen to them outside of playing the game, and sing them to myself sometimes, like I said: Just good.

Awesome characters:
The characters might not have a huge amount of depth, but the character design and voice actors simply make them awesome.

Laugh out Loud silly:
This is one of only a few games that has had me laughing aloud, and not because of a glitch or something you're not suppose to do. This game just is funny, and good at being so.

When this game came out, there were pretty much no rhythm games on the market, and after this, Gitaroo-Man, Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Rock Revolution, ect. This game helped popularize a genre, sort of like how Metal Gear Solid popularized the Stealth Genre.

Solid Concept:
Gameplay wise the concept is sold, and has become the framework of which almost all rhythm games follow, with variations. If the core game hadn't been so fun, rhythm games might have been very different these days.

Classic Quality:
This game is a classic, through and through, say what you do or don't like it's still a classic, just like Super Mario Brothers.

Things I didn't Like:

The difficulty in this game is harsh, and most players wont be able to get past even the first level without a lot of losing. This game could have done well with some difficulty options.

Very little replay Value:
Once you beat the game, there's not much more to do. You can unlock a mini game, but most people will just move on. There is fun to be had with playing it again time to time, but you wont be playing it for hours after you beat it.

Abrupt ending:
Yes, the story isn't very heavy, but I would have liked some kind of ending, even if it was something silly. Oh well.

This game is short. Sure it's hard but that doesn't make up for it. If you were good at the game, you could beat it in like half an hour, and that's really short.

Terrible lip syncing:
What lip syncing? The characters don't look like they are singing at all what they are suppose to be singing, sometimes the mouths don't even open. This was corrected in sequels, but it's a little strange.

Overall Scores:

Presentation - 10: Everything is where it should be, and everything has it's charm, which is exactly what a game need to have a good presentation.

Graphics - 8: The graphics are.. Stylized, it's hard to say if they are good or bad because it's personal preference.

Sound - 10: I know ten is a high number, but the voices fit the style of the game, and all the songs are well done, and catchy, I don't see anything to complain about.

Gameplay - 8.7: The gameplay concept is sold, but it is brought down by the difficulty level, and having to hit notes the exact millisecond as they come by.

Lasting appeal - 7: The game doesn't do well on replay value, but it's a whole lot of fun while it lasts. It is something, however, you will want to comeback and replay everyone once in a while.

Overall Fun - 9.5: I love this game, it's a classic, something I will go back and play many times. I am looking to have both the PSP and PS1 versions at some point so I can play it on a TV, and on the go. Sure it's not perfect, but I enjoyed it, and so might you.

PaRappa the Rapper was rereleased for the PSP in 2007, ten years after the original release on PS1. The original game spawned 2 sequels, the spin off Um Jammer Lammy, and the full on sequel PaRappa the Rapper 2.

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