PaRappa the Rapper PSP
Published by: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by: Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
Release Date: Out Now
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of PaRappa the Rapper, which first appeared back in 1997 on the PlayStation, Sony have re-released the game for the PSP. One of the first rhythm games to be released, PaRappa the Rapper was successful because it was not only a lot of fun but also because it was unique. Ten years later and we seem to have rhythm games galore. Has PaRappa the Rapper aged well or is this one blast from the past that's definitely showing its age?
During the course of the game PaRappa, the paper cut-out young pup, will find himself in some challenging situations as he seeks to impress Sunny, the girl (or should that be sunflower) of his dreams. He needs to do things such as become a hero, learn to drive and pay for his Dad's car that he's wrecked. These are big tasks for PaRappa but all he has to do is believe, which essentially means that he has to play a rap-based, rhythm mini-game.
Every rap involves pressing either the X, square, circle, triangle, L and R buttons at the appropriate time. Each rap features a series of lessons. First of all the character who is accompanying PaRappa will do their moves, which enables you to see the button sequence, and then it will be your turn. This pattern continues throughout the rap. Timing is all important as you're given points for getting the timing right and you lose points for being even a fraction out of step. On the lower right of the screen you'll see how you're currently rated. Ratings range from U rappin' cool to U rappin' awful. If at the end of a lesson you're rated poorly you'll fail the challenge and will have to attempt the rap again. Should you complete the rap; the story will progress with a cutscene before moving onto another rap.
After ten years PaRappa the Rapper still manages to be an enjoyable game. However, there are problems. The major problem for deaf gamers is that a large part of the game's appeal is the music and this is something that deaf gamers will be completely unaware of. The game only has six rap challenges which in effect, makes the game very short. If it wasn't for the fact that the game requires perfect timing in the rap mini-games (unless you're playing on the extremely forgiving easy difficulty level), you'd be done in less than an hour. As we've just mentioned, perfect timing is required but this is trickier than it should be thanks to the L and R buttons not being responsive enough for a game of this nature. You can download extra songs and the game does support Ad Hoc play, which has you and three others carrying out the same rap mini-game and the winner being the one with the highest score, but these extras do little to hide the small amount of content that's on offer.
The game's presentation is absolutely fine. The graphics have a charming 2D, flat look to them with paper cut-out characters (in the same fashion as the Paper Mario games). The graphics in this PSP version appear to have had some smoothing applied to give the graphics less of a jagged look and the game's cutscenes, which still look great, don't actually fill the screen. Deaf gamers will be able to follow the game's storyline thanks to all of the important dialogue being subtitled. All of the game's tutorial messages are shown in text. The cutscene dialogue has no character portraits or names placed alongside the text but it's always clear who is saying what. Even the song lyrics are subtitled.
The PSP version of PaRappa the Rapper is essentially a game for those who enjoyed the original game all those years ago and who now want to play the game again whilst on their travels. Even at its budget price of £19.99 though, the game does feel light on content. Rhythm games have moved on a lot since PaRappa the Rapper was originally released back in 1997. Back then it was seen as innovative and original but compared with the rhythm games you can buy today on the PSP, such as Gitaroo Man Lives!, it feels quite basic. Still the game manages to retain its charm and I daresay some will appreciate being able to play this on their PSP.
Despite not being a game that's aimed at deaf gamers, PaRappa the Rapper can be played without any problems although deaf gamers won't be able to appreciate how the music ties in with the rest of the game. The game is pretty light on content and the six rap stages won't take too long to complete. In fact it's disappointing that more content hasn't been included. The game also feels a little basic when compared to the many rhythm games that have appeared over the years.