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PlanetPS2 | Features | Reviews | Parappa The Rapper 2
by: Andrei Alupului | January 31, 2002

Parappa The Rapper 2

Title: Parappa The Rapper 2
Genre: Rhythm/Action
Developer: NaNaOnSha
Publisher: SCEA
Release Date: 01/22/02
Country of Origin: Japan
ESRB Rating: E

I remember when the original Parappa the Rapper came out for the Playstation. No one I spoke to liked it after playing the demo. All I saw were previews of it in magazines, and I was envious of all those PSX-owning jerks that had the opportunity to play that game and passed it up because they thought it looked stupid. I knew it was good, it hadto be. There was just something about it that seemed so unique and interesting that I couldn’t picture it being anything but a fantastic game. I gazed at my Nintendo 64 even more spitefully than I usually did. Naturally, when I purchased my Playstation 2 the day after it launched, one of the first things I tried to do was go rent Parappa. They didn’t have it, so I got its pseudo-sequel, Umjammer Lammy, a sort of rock-themed Parappa. It was short, but had a decent challenge, the music was catchy, and it was a blast to play. In short, it was everything I expected.

So, when I heard any bits of information on another official Parappa sequel, I was one of the first people to get excited about it. After a long wait it's finally here, and it's turned out to be a rockin’ game. The question is, how rockin’? There are definitely some flaws that will turn people off. And of course, if you’re not into this sort of thing, this game isn’t going to change your mind. Parappa 2's gameplay is pretty simple. The computer raps out a phrase and then you have to rap it back by hitting the correct buttons at the right times as icons scroll across the top of the screen in rhythm with the beat. If you do a line correctly, you get some points. There are four overall ratings, awful, bad, good, and cool. Do a phrase poorly, you go halfway from good to bad. Get another poor phrase, and you’re down to bad. Get below awful and it’s game over. If you really get flowin' you'll ascend to cool. And that’s it. That’s all there is to it. So what makes this game good then? It’s a combination of the different pieces. The songs are good, the graphics are cool, the story’s amusing, and yes, it’s fun to play. But whereas most games require you to simply enjoy their gameplay to dig them, you really have to get into the aesthetics of Parappa 2 to get the most of it. If you don’t like the songs, you won’t like the game.

And the songs are really infectious. They’re fun to listen to and they’re fun to play along with. They might not be quite as catchy as the songs in previous installments, but most are still good in their own right. Some of the songs in Parappa 2 are really fun. I wasn’t moving with this game quite as much as I was with Umjammer but I still got up in front of the TV like a doofy bastard, dancing with the controller and rapping along with the game, and when I wasn’t doing that, I was at least bobbing my head or tapping my foot or something. I was pretty surprised to see in the credits that apparently De La Soul performed one of the songs. They’re one of the most respected hip hop groups around, and to see them contributing a song to Parappa surprised me.

Problem is that, as catchy as the songs may be, they’ve got to be fun to play, or rap or whatever. And they are. But they’re also a bit easy. And that’s where the problem lies. I remember playing Umjammer and some of the levels taking me as many as 8 attempts, and even then just barely slipping by. Parappa 2 is considerably more lenient. This game’s core play concept is hitting certain buttons in a certain order with certain timing. It’s pretty basic stuff, so you’d expect at the very least that it would be a little tough. But they let you off easy. Sometimes I even hit the wrong button and the line was still accepted. At the beginning of each level the rap master introduces themselves. Many times they tell you to come up with your own flow. I don’t mind if they let you do a little freestyle type of thing here or there, or if they let you alter the rhythm of the words slightly as long as it stays with the beat and still sounds good, but I made some pretty bad mistakes whilst playing this game, missing entire phrases and still getting past with flying colors.

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