PaRappa the Rapper

I had always wanted to play PaRappa the Rapper as sort of a history lesson. I just didn't expect it to feel like a history lesson.

When the game first released, of course, it seemed like a really fun and original idea: hit buttons in time to make the puppy rap! Of course today, the gaming landscape has changed drastically, so how well does PaRappa hold a crowd now?

Believe!

All the zany things you loved about the game are still great. For instance, the plot remains the same as players help PaRappa follow his persona slogan, "I gotta believe!" and make all his dreams come true via rap. When we say all, we mean all, be it getting buff, learning to drive, or...going to the bathroom? Yeah, he needs help there, too. Ultimately, though, his goal is to earn the affections of pretty flower girl (literally), Sunny Funny.

The songs are still just as goofy and getting the "U Rappin' Cool" requires that nifty mix of nonsense you like hitting, but may not enjoy hearing as much. If only you could get him to say, "I'm too good at this game, don'tcha know? So let me rap like I want--check my flow!" But then again, we'd lose the timeless classic, "M-I-X the crack into the bowl," so perhaps its best not to dabble.

Back When I Was a Gamer

At this point PaRappa is pretty much counting on the nostalgia factor. The art and characters are as charming as they were ten years ago, but graphically, we've progressed far beyond the mediocre graphics Parappa gives us. Likewise and more importantly, rhythm games have fairly exploded since those days and it's a little harder to find someone playing a game that doesn't require actually drumming or strumming, not to mention karaoke.

So what's the draw? Well, they've got some new downloadable remixes of levels, but it's such a pain! Couldn't they have just been included on the UMD? Ad hoc multiplayer for up to four is interesting, but unless you and your friends really like PaRappa, it's probably not enough to swing a purchase, even for the reduced price point of thirty dollars. When the awesome guitar spin-off game "Um Jammer Lammy" (which actually features an unlockable PaRappa and a handful of two-players modes) is going at a "buy it now" rate of under five dollars on ebay, it's hard to think of this PSP port as a deal.

Don't let this discourage anyone who just wants their rapping on the go. Pick it up if you're buying it for the original experience of PaRappa the Rapper, for the classic gameplay that is still...classic. Think of it as retro--not the next hot thing--and enjoy it as an episode of games gone by.

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