|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Sony||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Sony||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 17, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
PaRappa the Rapper is more of a showcase for the PSP as this game is little more than a slight upgrade of the original. A decade ago, PaRappa the Rapper was a fresh and charming game that captivated a generation of gamers as they reveled in the digital delights delivered by Sony's revolutionary PlayStation. With only a few remixes and a smattering of new content, PaRappa the Rapper is a rehashed old port of the original. Yeah, that PSP is sure a wonder, ain't it? It sure is powerful. But don't forget that it's also a great tool for repackaging obsolete games.
My beef is not with the game per se. It's still charming, but it's anything but fresh. Would it have killed them to add new tunes, new characters, and a new storyline? I am already sufficiently impressed with the PSP, but I want to see some new content on it. There isn't enough new content in this game to recommend it for a rental, even though it supports a new four-player multiplayer mode and downloadable content. More on that later.
If you've already played the original, I can guarantee you'll have had your way with this version in fifteen minutes. If you've already moved on to other music-based rhythm games such as Dance Dance Revolution or Guitar Hero, you'll be really disappointed at just how primitive PaRappa the Rapper is.
PaRappa for the PSP should only be considered if you're new to the genre. Most of the fun is in mastering the timing of the control system. This can be a lot of fun as well as highly addicting. But once you've got it down, it stays with you forever. It's like learning to ride a bike. A little practice if you're rusty, and away you go. I'm not bragging, but it only took me a few seconds to get back into the swing of things. I beat this game cold in an hour and no, it wasn't on the Easy level. You can only play the first three stages in the Easy mode.
PaRappa illustrates just how disposable music, fashions, and trends can be. Everything that was cool about this game is now just ancient history. The characters and lyrics are so naïve and innocent that they now appear ludicrously embarrassing. Although they still have just a little bit of residual charm, and I can't argue that the title track is catchy. The graphics are dated, but those that pine for authenticity won't be disappointed since it looks every bit as good as it did on the PlayStation. Graphically, the game looks like a product of the "free love" generation. You might expect to see these characters hand-painted on Jerry Garcia's guitar case. The wider screen gives the play area some breathing room. Unfortunately, some of the icons can be a bit hard to see.
"I've gotta believe" is PaRappa's mantra. He's an up-and-coming rapper that is prepared to go the distance by competing in various competitions. Attempting to gain the affection of the lovely Sunny the Sunflower, PaRappa learns a variety of skills such as cooking, driving, fighting, and of course, rapping. Throughout the six levels you'll meet a variety of wacky characters such as fascist driving instructor, Mooselini, a Rasta frog, and Cheap Cheap the Cooking Chicken.
Here's the essence of the gameplay. Icons will move across the top of the screen at a certain speed. These icons represent rap phrases. Once they pass an area on the top of the screen, you must hit the corresponding face button. This is done more by feel than anything. You must develop a rhythm since the icons move in time with the beat. If you press the button too slow or too fast, your rating will go down. A "Good" rating is what you're aiming for, but you can go from "Bad" to "Awful" with a few missed beats. A "Cool" rating is the ultimate. Even though there is a practice mode, the game doesn't give you any feedback on your technique so you'll just have to play it until you reach that Zen state.
In the original game, you competed against other characters including the Rap Master whose style you must emulate in a Simon-says fashion in order to move on. The PSP version includes a four-player multiplayer mode that lets you compete against other players. It's a decent addition, but the novelty is short-lived. You can also game share, so I would recommend finding someone with this game first and play it for free. Chances are you won't find it very stimulating, and I will have saved you a nice chunk of change.
CCC Senior Writer