PaRappa The Rapper - PSP - Review
When rhythm games were still trying to catch fire, PaRappa the Rapper lit the wick to start the flames. When the genre was fighting to gain respect, PaRappa gave it a starting point to gain mainstream notoriety. But when the year is 2007, and the genre has advanced to guitar and dance-pad themed titles, questions need to be asked if PaRappa is relevant anymore.
Sony decided to release PaRappa the Rapper as a full-fledged title on the Playstation Portable. With new content that includes a multiplayer mode, downloadable remixes and smoothed out graphics, is the game worth a trip down memory lane?
Let’s begin with the storyline. It follows PaRappa, a skinny rapping dog who is out to win the love of a girl named Sunny Funny. PaRappa isn’t alone in the world though – his friends Katy Kat (which of course is a cat) and PJ Berri (a teddy bear DJ) are there to support him throughout the game. Through the course of the game, PaRappa will learn kung-fu, how to drive, baking, to use the restrooms and of course how to rap. All of this won’t come without opposition from PaRappa’s arch rival, Joe Chin, a dog obsessed with his looks.
There are six stages in total which all play out similarly. In each stage, buttons will scroll across the top of the screen for players to memorize and then repeat in the same order. This is how the rapping plays out as players keep the rhythm. The difficulty can ramp up in a few levels and may be the only reason why players play through the game a second time because of failure the first time. The best portion of PaRappa’s gameplay is the option to play through the stages after completion to change up the beats by pressing different combination of buttons.
The most essential segment of the game, the audio, is superb. The raps aren’t going to make careers out of development team in the hip-hop industry, but they were catchy enough to get stuck in my head. The soundtrack and presentation are still exquisite – especially since they hold up to today’s standards. Unfortunately, the downloadable songs aren’t up to par with the originals.
As for the graphics, the characters resemble paper cutouts with a 2D style. The characters are all entertaining in a comedic fashion that will attract a wide variety of new fans. From a technical standpoint, this PSP version has been touched up a smidgen with smoother graphics. Outside of the technical specs, I am glad they left the art style alone. The art style has its own distinct look that it would be easy to pick out of a line-up of video games. Thankfully, the art is nicely drawn in 2D and doesn’t fail to impress. As for the game stages, each one is unique on its own right, but it isn’t too hard to diversify only six stages.
There is an option to download new songs which livens up the game compared to the original, but once again I stress that it isn’t a huge leap from the original. The multiplayer is ad-hoc play and allows up to four players to play simultaneously. Outside of these two additions, this is practically the same game released in 1997.
PaRappa the Rapper is a bit expensive for what is offered. The game can be completed in under an hour if players are PaRappa veterans. The formula hasn’t changed so longtime fans shouldn’t fret about a complete makeover. But in the end, there isn’t anything significant included to warrant a retail purchase.
|Review Scoring Details for PaRappa the Rapper|
The gameplay wasn’t fascinating enough for me to play each level more than three to four times separately.
There are no new FMV clips to enjoy – instead the developers opted to resize the originals. Perhaps the biggest upgrade to PaRappa is the addition of widescreen.
The audio is solid, but there isn’t anything new offered like I was crossing my fingers for.
The difficulty isn’t based on the game but the gamers themselves. If they have trouble with rhythm games, PaRappa the Rapper will of course provide a few problems along the way. Players that have no trouble with Guitar Hero shouldn’t have to worry about ever failing.
While the concept of rhythm game is growing a little tired with the usual “hit each button at the precise time.” I can’t argue over how fun PaRappa remains today.
Avoid bragging to your buddies about how the PSP version offers multiplayer as it’s dismal.
PaRappa the Rapper has transitioned into an ancient old remnant from yesteryear. It’s a nostalgic look at the groundwork laid out for games such as Space Channel 5, Guitar Hero, and Gitaroo Man. But in the end, gamers should only pick up PaRappa the Rapper as quick trip down memory lane with a rental or borrowing from a friend.