Parappa the Rapper 2
Given its relative success and memorable marketing campaign, there's a good chance that if you've been playing PSX games for a while, you've heard of Frequency, another PS2 music game that I recently reviewed. After playing for quite a while, I'm convinced that while Parappa's critics did have reason to complain, things weren't quite as bad as they were cracked up to be.. He's the little 2D rapper that graced our TV screens on the first Playstation, and now he's back in a new Playstation 2 title. Although I'd heard nothing good about Parappa, that it was just a child's game, with simple controls and no depth of gameplay or story, something about this game intrigued me. I didn't have much time to try out the first game, but I found later that I somewhat enjoyed Parappa's style of gameplay, as it is very similar to that of
The truth is Parappa 2 has its moments. It is amazingly cute at times, which for the most part, makes it a less than palatable title, but its simple, "Simon Says" gameplay makes up for that with a quick pace that doesn't leave your thumb twitching after every session. It plays quickly, easily, and gets you on pace with the normal beat-beat-pause-beat rhythm of the game music. Telling a vague and laughable story, the adventure that Parappa undertakes is secondary to the music and gameplay, and after watching it for a few minutes, you'll probably drown it out in favor of the music itself.
At times, Parappa also has more than its share of drawbacks. For certain, the game is far too short for this sort of game, playing through only eight small levels before you've exhausted what the game has to offer. Additionally, even with the mild and entertaining music, the gameplay is amazingly easy and repetitive, requiring only a good memory and quick fingers. Still, for the younger crowd, Parappa definitely holds the same attraction it did before, at the time of its release on the PSX.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
Listen up; you'll need to be very attentive to understand the many nuances of Parappa's gameplay. First, you'll see the storyline, told in the form of in-game cut scenes. Then, you'll start rapping along with one of the game characters. You'll get two little bars across the screen, which represent the current phrase of music. The character you'll need to copy will go first, and as they sing, you'll see little icons appear on their bar. When it comes time to play yourself, just mimic those buttons (which correspond to the controller buttons) and you'll play a small game of Simon Says, with Parappa rapping along the entire time.
That's it. Memorize the pattern, and hit the buttons on time, and you're set. Play through eight levels of this, and you're finished. Provided you've got the attention span of a gnat, this should be entertaining for at least a single evening. Parappa will embark on his quest to find real food, having won 100 years worth of noodle products from a local noodle company. The first stop on his little adventure is the local burger shack, and once you've started singing along to the cashier, you'll see why this game is so addictive and repulsive at the same time.
Repeat, repeat, repeat, and the game will soon be over, but strangely enough, even with the simple gameplay and unimpressive graphics, Parappa 2 still takes a while to load some of the levels. Strange, given the power of the PS2 and the lack of innovation in this title, as in nearly all ways, Parappa 2 resembles the original&&151;down to the strangely flat two dimensional characters.
Parappa the Rapper 2 utilizes none of the extra power of the Playstation 2, as it uses the same exact graphic scheme present in the first game. Simple polygon objects and two dimensional, very bendable characters lend the game the feel of a Saturday morning cartoon, but the jagged edges and simple look of many of the textures ruin any sort of toonish feel. Granted, you aren't going to end up purchasing Parappa 2 because of its stunning visuals, but it would've been nice to see at least enough care to add some sort of anti-aliasing, to clean up the rough graphic feel.
If there's a true high point to this game, it's probably the music. Although I wouldn't normally call this music good, as it is just simplistic rap aimed at a children's demographic, I've got to give it credit for being somewhat warming to listen to. In all of the saccharine-coated lyrics and docile tones present in Parappa's songs, I still found something with a nice beat that was easy to listen to. Now, I'm not saying that it won't drive you up the wall. What I'm saying is that if you're in a position to listen to the game for a few hours at a time, you shouldn't need to worry about it being overly distracting or annoying. Parappa's creators get my kudos for thinking of the rest of us when designing this specialized title.
First off, it's way too short. To make a comparison, [Frequency], which is more or less the same game with fewer juvenile elements, has thirty different songs that you can remix, play again and again, in nearly endless repetition. Parappa 2 has eight levels, each of which has several small sections, and can easily be beaten in two hours, depending on how quickly you can pickup the rhythm of the game. Second, with the amount of time between the original [Parappa], and the release of the PS2, I don't see how this game can take so long to load, and lack any kind of improvement on the original gameplay or graphics. I'd recommend this to anyone with a child who needs a good PS2 game, as at its core, Parappa is an interesting title that isn't too cute to stand, and does teach good hand-to-eye coordination. However, I'd seriously question whether or not it'd be worth the $50 price tag that PS2 titles currently demand.