Hilarious, quirky, unique, and irresistible! Ya gotta believe!
Oh man! Where to begin??
Ok, let's start from the top. I love PaRappa The Rapper. One of favorite PSX games ever, PaRappa has one thing that's very hard to find in many modern games: a fresh concept. And on a system that REALLY needed fresh concepts, too! It's such a simple concept: even though it borrows from games like Simon and Touch Me (both very old music games dating back to the 70s), it works very well still.
The story is very cute and fun. PaRappa, a young rappin' puppy, wants to win the love of his sweetheart, Sunny Funny, who's a bright-eyed, cheerful sunflower. But, he feels a little nervous about asking her out. So he's gonna win her love by...what else?...becoming a star rapper! And he also has one other weapon: he believes in himself and believes that he can achieve his goal. So now it's up to you to help PaRappa rap and dance his way into Sunny's heart before local rich pretty boy Joe Chin does!
Here's the whole gameplay premise: In each stage is a rap master, who will sing a line, while at the top of the screen is a rythmn bar with a sliding icon of the master's head passing over symbols that relate to the buttons on your PSX pad. For instance, the first master, Chop Chop Master Onion, might rap "Kick..punch..chop..". When he finishes, you, as PaRappa, must match his rap by pressing the buttons on the bar as PaRappa's icon passes over them, in both the right order and with the same beat as the master. The better the do, the better you score. The worse you do, the worse your rank gets. If you can't pass a stage with at least a "Good" rating, you do it all over again. Simple, no?
Now, seeing as this is a game about music and a budding rapper, how's the music? One word: AWESOME!!! The songs are excellent, the music is catchy and makes you want to dance to the beat, and the lyrics will stick to your tongue for days! Hell, you might even catch yourself singing the "Toilet Rap" (Stage 5) while in line to use the bathroom in a public place! In-game sound effects are rather minimal, as most sounds are blended into the music, but what's there is very well fitting.
The graphics are something else. The art style is really cute and perfect for the world. Everyone moves, animates, and flips around like living Coloforms, and everything is nice and bright, with a cool little hand drawn look in-game, with slightly rough edges with give the game a further sensation of surrealness, as when you look at these flat 2D "cutouts" moving about with the rough edges, it almost looks like the characters just lifted themselves off the artist's paper and began to move around! It's just too cool!
The game only has 6 stages. I was left wanting more, but at least you have a couple of hidden mini stages to play through if you can unlock them. (Hint: get "cool" ratings on all 6 stages.)
The Bottom Line
PaRappa is just plain out fun and addicting. It's a great game for girlfriends who hate video games, little kids, and generally any music lover. And I honestly feel PaRappa should be Sony's mascot, not Crash Bandicoot. He's got the attitude, determination, and true heroic heart to make his way though hardships, and he's a hell of a rapper to boot! Overall, I really recommend this game. It's a bit hard to find (it didn't sell to well in the U.S.), but if you do find it, grab it immediately. Ya just gotta believe!