PaRappa the Rapper
"M.I.X. the crack!"
Developer: Interlink/Rodney Greenblatt Publisher: Sony Genre: Music Players: 1 Memory: 1 Discs: 1 Analog: No Dual Shock: No ESRB: Everyone Difficulty: Depends on your funky flow...
PaRappa the Rapper was the game that started the generation of Cosmo Canyon fans spouting lines like "Kick, punch, it's all in the mind," and "Money, money, money, is all you need!" While it may seem childish or lame to the average "kWAke" player, this game will appeal to people with a sense of humor, someone who needs something to cheer them up, or just somebody looking for a change of pace.
Gameplay--PaRappa introduces a completely new genre into the gaming world--music. Yes, folks, that right! You play as a tiny paper-thin dog with a hat that resembles a birth-control device who uses rap to get past his problems in life. Izzat cool or WHAT? In one stage, you rap alongside a funkified frog in a flea market, selling bottle caps and skunk figurines in order to buy a new car. In another, you rap against four other people in order to make it into a gas station bathroom.
But on to the actual gameplay. PaRappa uses a system where you tap out the appropriate button combinations given to you on a Rap Bar(tm)(R)(1999 PaRappa T. Rapper All Rights Reserved) in a sort of Simon-Says-with-rhythm style. If you're able to keep up with the beat and follow the buttons combos well enough, you'll get the status of U Rappin' GOOD, which will enable you to beat the stage if you can stay at that status. Mess up, and you'll drop to U Rappin' BAD. And if you really don't have the "funky flow", it's down to U Rappin' AWFUL, and yo gotta do it all over again. Later in the game, you can re-play the earlier stages and semi-improvise (since there's only one way) to get into U Rappin' COOL mode, where you can rap freestyle by yourself. It sounds simple, and it is in the early stages, where you're given simple button presses ("Pose!"). Later on, however, you'll be judged much more strictly on your timing, and will be given longer and more complex button combos ("P! tothe A! tothe R! tothe A! PaRappa's....NAME! I-rap everyDAY!"--I was stuck on level 5 for days. However, that's the challenging part of the game, and without it, PaRappa would be even easier than pie.
PJ Berri sez: Hey, could I have a cherry pie? ::drools::
All this adds up to one of the most innovative ways to play a game since they invented a giant controller where you had to hop from each of its giant buttons to play a game.
Graphics--PaRappa's graphics, like the gameplay, are original and a change of pace from the same of pol-eee-gons and F-M-V gibberish that we young uns are used to these days. The characters look like some of those giant stand-up cardboard figures of movie star/wrestler/whateveryouwant (after all, "PaRappa" means "paper thin" in Japanese, baka ^_^). And not only that, but they inhabit 3D backgrounds adding to the weirdness of it all. And if THAT isn't cool enough, the town that they live in is completely screwed up, thanks to the game's art designer, Rodney Greenblat. Rodneytown is filled with mooses, pigs, dogs, and other assorted animals who hang out at places like the Phat Donut and Club Fun, all while a smiley faced sun watches over them. Sound too strange and happy for you? That's only half the reason why PaRappa is such a fun game.
Music--With a game based around music itself, it's no wonder that PaRappa features some great music, and terrific voice acting. Funky little music samples are repeated over and over again in a rap sequence during the stages, and the other music in the game isn't too bad, either. I still hum the Joe Chin theme now and then ^_^ And not only that, but the credits even feature an almost full-length rap with an opening line so screwed up, it's no wonder that the great Fritz Fraundorf himself quoted it: "As I walk the streets packin' horses and cases and everything in it, is it that I must always be ready for any action, or caution, or junction, or revolution, or constipation?"
Speaking of sound effects, the sounds kick, punch, and chop all the competition out there. Lines are spoken clearly, and fit the characters' personalities perfectly (Joe Chin has the speedy "used car salesman voice", while Chop Chop Master Onion has the stereotypical Japanese martial arts teacher voice). Not only that, but the voices, lines, and raps are EXTREMELY memorable and quoted by Cosmo Canyon fans everywhere. Who's gonna forget "A birthday party without a cake is like a dance floor without me! Do you understand THAT?" My only gripe about the sound is that PaRappa usually sounds like a spazzing idiot in most of his raps ("Money-money-money-money-money-money...is!"), but it hardly detracts from the rest of the game.
Control--One of the least important parts in the game, PaRappa's controls are pretty simple. There's no moving your character with the control pad, no jumping on enemies' heads, and no blasting deformed sheep (using special weapons like the BMF, the AFK, the ROFL, and the RCFMV!). You just tap out the buttons displayed with the right timing, and PaRappa raps his line.
Fun Factor--Take five chocobos, douse them heavily in butter and tabasco sauce, strap an automatic cannon that fires whipped cream to their backs, and set them loose around a Weight Watchers convention. PaRappa is nothing like this, but even more fun than what I just said. It can cheer you up on a lousy day, give you plenty of lines to quote to your friends (online and IRL, but only if they've also played the game), and generally put you in a good mood. PaRappa is basically an all purpose fun-filler-upper-thingy!
Overall Satisfaction--Concept wise, originality wise, and quotablility wise, I'd give this game a ten, but game-wise, I'm reducing this game a nine for being too short--only six levels that can be beaten in a matter of days. Still, forget about the length, and buy PaRappa the Rapper for the whole experience. Buy it to memorize the lines. Buy it to understand some of the references made on this site and other Cosmo Canyon related sites. Buy it if you just want a fun game. In closing, I can't describe this game any better than PJ Berri:
"Man, it's phat!"