IGN Review of PaRappa the Rapper
Just when music and rhythm games were getting popular, Sony busted out on the scene with a little game called PaRappa the Rapper for the original PlayStation. The game remains something of a cult classic, partly for its odd presentation forming a precedent for future titles like Katamari Damacy (though said game is way weirder). Mostly though, the game succeeded due to its rhythm-based gameplay that allowed for freeform rapping.''''The game has now hit the PlayStation Portable and while it's still a decent bit of fun, it's exactly the same game that we played a decade ago. There are a few small additions here and there, like the ability to play someone via Game Sharing or download new background music, but there hasn't been any sort of change to the core gameplay. And after having danced to DDR, rocked out with Guitar Hero and sang some cheesy teenage pop with Karaoke Revolution, PaRappa's skills don't rock the mic like they used to.''''PaRappa's crazy journey takes him through six stages of increasing difficulty, each time rapping with some sort of instructor in order to pass a course of some sort, be it karate, cooking or driving. We're not sure why you need to rap for your driving instructor to get a license, but we're also not sure why any state would issue a driver's license to a dog, either.''''For each stage, the instructor will rap a line and then you'll follow with the same line or something similar, but always in the same rhythm. A bar at the top of the screen indicates which buttons you need to press at which point in order to score, though you need to listen to the music in order to succeed. Though it looks like you might perfectly time your button presses over and over again, their placement isn't quite perfect. Instead of following these, you need to listen to the music and use the bar as a guide as to which button to press, but not precisely at which time.''''The timing of each word in your raps can be brutal, and unless you have a knack for rhythmic syncopation you may find yourself in a heap of trouble. Once you begin to ignore the icon placement on the line and play solely to the music, things will pick up a bit, but we still wish it was a little more lenient at times. There are two difficulty levels, normal and easy, and even those of us who can run through Guitar Hero on Expert can have a hard time with some of the later raps.''''The best part of the game, aside from maybe its assaultingly cheesy yet awesome cutscenes, is the ability to score extra points by mixing up your rhymes a bit. Pressing a button will cause PaRappa to rap something even if your timing is off, which allows you to do a bit of freeforming and toss in some extra rhymes here and there. You can't create a new verse per se, but you can repeat words and small phrases to accentuate the songs and score some extra points. Some of the rhymes at the end don't really have room for this however as they're jam packed already, but it's fun when you can do it.''''As mentioned, there's unfortunately not really anything new about the game. The UMD ships with the original six songs, though you're able to hop online and download some new tracks for free. These aren't new rhymes though, just new background beats, so you'll be playing the same tracks again and again with simply new instrumentation.''''There's multiplayer to be found, but it's honestly a waste of time. Up to four players can join together and battle it out on a song, but the only cross-play that you'll see is their scores on the side of your screen. Since it only works via Ad-Hoc, which means you'll probably be standing right next to each other, the only thing this does is prevent you from having to look at your friend's screen to see how well they did. Otherwise, you might as well each play a rap by yourselves and compare scores afterwards.
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