PUBLISHER: Sony Computer Entertainment
DEVELOPER: SCE Studios Japan

The Pitch

Why make a new game when we’ve got this shovel right here?

The Play

When PaRappa the Rapper was announced for the PSP, no one was happier than me. I love the series. It has its problems, but it was one of the first games to make me bop along with it and realize how well videogames could meld with music. A game that came out in a time when it was incredibly innovative to push buttons to create a song, and the fact that you were controlling a rapping dog made things that much better. The characters, the songs, the silly story; it all contributed to one of the most original gameplay experiences back on the original Playstation. The one major problem with the game was its length. The thing was only 6 stages long, easily beaten in a half-hour or so if you have any sense of rhythm. The weird story more than made up for it though- how many times in a game have you played a dog trying to learn how to be a man so he can fuck a flower? That’s right, never. Also hysterical is that there’s a level where he’s got explosive diarrhea and has to rap to get the front of the bathroom line. No, that’s not a joke. Rap well or you’ll shit your shorts.

PaRappa the Rapper 2 lost a little bit of that magic, but still managed to be a fun game with an appropriately silly story, as PaRappa tried to stop some evildoers who were turning food all over the city into noodles. This after PaRappa just won a lifetime supply of the damn things and was fending for a burger. Poor doggie. The songs couldn’t compare to the first, though.

The other major problem with the series was the very concept itself. As countless music games have shown in the last 10 years since PaRappa‘s release(!) it’s a lot easier to get a realistic sounding instrument in a game than get smooth vocals. PaRappa frequently sounds like he should be interviewing celebrities in the 80s. Still, the gameplay itself made this game enjoyable. Just pure and simple fun with an incredibly catchy soundtrack, nothing more, nothing less.

With PaRappa the Rapper 3 being rumored for the PS3, it would’ve been great to get a nice little game to tide us over on our little portable systems. But that’s not we got. For some reason someone in their infinite stupidity decided to re-release the original game.

Yes, this is a "remake", but I hesitate to use that word since it’s exactly the same game we were playing two generations of consoles ago. There are a few new features (more on that below) but the single player game is exact, down to every lyric and cutscene.

The Presentation

The graphics for the original game were incredibly original at the time. The characters are paper thin, which makes for a cool look as they move back and forth. The graphics look a little cleaner on the PSP but that could simply be because of the nifty screen. The PS2 PaRappa had much better graphics, of course, and since the PSP has shown it can get near-PS2 level graphics it’s weak that we don’t even get that updated.

The music still rocks, though. Especially Fleaswallow’s stage. Ah sey one, my yute.

Parappa, out of work and heavily in debt, is forced into male prostitution.

The Replay

Not much. Chances are you probably already own this or have beaten it, on both of the two difficulty levels included.

What’s new for the game? Hardly anything. There is a 4-player ad-hoc (local) multiplayer mode which is worthless for me, because I hardly know anyone that A) has a PSP and B) wants to have a rapping dog on their system. And I remember the 2-player battles on the PS1 being fun for about 4 or 5 minutes, at most.

Also available are downloadable remixes of the songs, which don’t actually contain new verses, just new tracks. Lame, especially since the originals are better in every single case. Also, why the hell wasn’t this just on the UMD? Would that have been too easy? Now I have to go online and fill my memory card up with more crap?

The Verdict

Bottom line here is that there’s no reason this should be a full-priced, 30 buck game. This is a ripoff plain and simple. With the PS3 offering gamers PS1 games on the Playstation Network for 5-10 bucks there’s no reason for the existence of this at all. This should be a compilation with the second game and Um Jammer Lammy (a side story to the original about a guitar-playing sheep) for the price. The game itself is still fun, it is, but the fact is that PaRappa’s time has long since come and gone. There are music games (mostly all of the ones by Harmonix) that kill anything it’s attempted, with infinitely more replay value and substance. It’s time for something new, PaRappa.

If you absolutely need a quirky Japanese music game for your PSP, I say go with Gitaroo Man, which at least takes things in a new direction, even if it’s got its own issues.

5.5 out of 10