PaRappa the Rapper has probably been in many of our gaming histories. Even if someone didn’t own the whole game they most probably dabbled with it on one of its many demo disc entries. Now for those of us who haven’t played the classic PS1 game in its entirety, PaRappa the Rapper has been remastered for PS4.
The game tells the story of the titular character, a young anthropomorphic dog, who wants to win the heart of a young humanoid sunflower namedSunny. To do this he does things such as get his driver’s licence and bake a cake. Bizarrely, these tasks all require rapping, and as such he will need to learn how to rap to win Sunny’s heart.
The process of rapping is the gameplay portion of the game which involves basic rhythm characters. Each one has a master go first, and then PaRappa needs to repeat by hitting the same buttons on the controller. What makes the game special is its requirement for you to learn to freestyle during these raps to get a Cool rating. As with many rhythm games the quality is rated during the song, doing worse drops you down, and doing better raises you back up. PaRappa the Rapper uses a four-tier rating system. You start at Good and if you do poorly you can drop to Bad and then Terrible.
Cool is the only rating above good and to gain this you need to do more than repeating the button prompts perfectly. This can only be achieved if you master freestyling, which involves pressing other buttons in conjunction with good timing outside of the prompts shown, and it’s tough as hell.
The only way to know if you are doing well is it will flash on the new rating, and if you keep on that track it will then go up or down. One of the best elements of the game is the way the song and the animations will change depending on how you are doing. If you are doing badly the quality of the sound changes, and the master will do different things. The song “Cheep Cheep the Cooking Chickens Rap”, thanks to a significant difficulty spike, demonstrated this well. Cheep Cheep is showing PaRappa how to bake a cake on the TV. When you drop to Bad she comes out of the TV to instruct you closer, looking angry.
Dropping down further can result in her laying an egg and the baby chick letting you know that you failed. Moving from Bad back up to Good will result in her returning to her TV.
If you manage to get to the Cool rating by doing enough freestyling, the song will leave you to freestyle your way to the end, which becomes terrifyingly hard as you must wing the rest of the song well enough to stay up there. The difficulty of the game comes with a huge flaw in that to hit the notes in time you regularly must miss the timing. They generally required you to hit before the PaRappa icon touches the icon, but only slightly. Couldn’t say for sure if this flaw existed in the game and it carried through, or if the flaw was introduced because of the input lag between the two technologies, but it’s an unnecessary annoyance.
The game is also super short with only six songs. Once you get the hang of the rhythm you will be able to smash it out in the night, but those six songs are given a lot of replay value, mostly thanks to the freestyling. Added to this is a leader board for each song. You can also play the songs with different background music, which all sounds terrible when mixed with the raps, but it is worthy of a laugh or two.
PaRappa the Rapper Remastered hasn’t been given too much of an overhaul, it is still very much the same dated game, for better or worse. Aesthetically it looks bad, which gives a little bit of charm if you are returning from many years away from the series. Though with its input timing issues it’s a flawed remaster, but there is still plenty of fun to be had for the right price.
Released: March 2017
Platforms: PlayStation 4
Genre: Music, Family
Publisher: Sony PlayStation