#316 PaRappa the Rapper

Posted: 15th November 2013 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , , ,

285th played so far

(Okay so taking pictures was getting irritating, especially considering how bad quality a digital camera pic of the TV is. So instead we’ll be reverting to using cover art unless there is a set screen-shot button)


Genre: Music
Platform: PlayStation
Year of Release: 1996
Developer: NanaOn-Sha
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

We actually obtained PaRappa the Rapper only recently. One of the earlier rhythm games, it seems an interesting game. Combined with its interesting aesthetic – slightly childish, but a predecessor of the paper cut-out style from games like Paper Mario and Okami, it just looks weird – and fun.

Our Thoughts

Sometimes, technology advances in such a way as to impact the blog (such as our recent misadventure of buying the wrong generation of N-Gage to play the only N-Gage title on the list… when we finally play this game it had better be worth the hassle). We’ve got our ways of working around this sometimes – DOSBox regularly plays a part in us playing older games – but sometimes it just hits us. PaRappa the Rapper gave us such a conundrum. Sure, it’s not a case of games disappearing on us – Reset Generation is still the only real worry there – but it’s more insidious, and without some Googling, we wouldn’t have known why.

One of the issues affecting newer TVs (including, obviously, ours) is display lag – basically, the screen doesn’t update straight away, instead there’s a slight delay between the console sending the image and the TV screen showing it. It matters little when you’re watching a movie, but in a rhythm game – which comes down to reflexes – it’s lethal, especially when the game is not set up for it (this simply wasn’t a problem at the time). This may also go some way to explaining why our playthrough of Space Channel 5 was a bit harder than expected.

For that reason, we shamefully had to adjust the difficulty setting to easy, so we could at least continue past the first level. Unfortunately, it also cut us off after the third, so we couldn’t play as much as we wanted to. Read our comments in this vein. I know it sounds pathetic because neither of us are what you would call hardcore gamers (seeing how our average gaming difficulty level is Medium) but having to play Easy was a real ego-bruiser.

When you see what’s going on though, the game just gets weird. The gameplay is straight forward rhythm gaming – press the right buttons at the right time (with scary precision), the tunes simple, but the lyrics (that you’re speaking by pressing these buttons) are.. odd at best, crazy more often. While using the combinations to learn how to fight may have some value, another level has you rap to pass your driving test, which… well, I don’t think there was any way in which they could have had it make sense.

And it gets away with it somehow. Yeah, we were laughing at the stupidity of some of it, but at the same time we did want to see more. Not because of how the story progresses, but because it’s simply so much fun and tied into the rhythm mechanics in such an odd way.

Minor praise perhaps – but more engrossing than other such games, which is surely worth something more.

Final Thoughts

Looking at what we played today, the game is barely playable (especially all the way through). It’s a shame though, as the game looks fun and (yuck) somewhat quirky (not a dirty word Jeroen). We would have loved to play it further… but unless you get a chance to play a remake, it’s not worth it now. Luckily it has experienced a PSP release which is worth checking out.