PaRappa the Rapper
- Platforms: PlayStation, PSP
- Suggested Platform: PSP
- Developer: NanaOn-Sha
- Genre: Music Rhythm
- Release Date: 10/31/97 (NA)
- Why Play It?: Great music, addicting, fun, fun-loving story, and easy to pick up and play.
- Why Skip It?: Doesn’t have a lot to do besides the main 6 stages.
“Kick, punch, it’s all in the mind…” Words that any fan of PaRappa the Rapper will remember fondly. Apparently, when I was a child and this game first came out, I couldn’t be pulled away from it. Even though I have a shoddy memory from my childhood, I can easily see how that is true. Perhaps as a result from my younger years, I’ve fallen in love with music rhythm games, and I play nearly every one I can get my hands on. Actually, PaRappa the Rapper was the first really influential music rhythm game that inspired Konami’s Beatmania and their Bemani music division. In a way, PaRappa the Rapper started a musical revolution.
PaRappa the Rapper, like most music rhythm games, is incredibly simple to understand and play, and difficult to master. Each stage you’ll practice with a rap master who will rap lines at you with button prompts that you need to rap back by pressing the appropriate buttons with the exactly appropriate timing. If you screw up, you’ll drop your meter that tells you how well “U’Rappin'”, from Cool, to Good, to Bad, to Awful. If you fall below Awful, you instantly fail the stage, and if you can’t complete the stage with at least a Good rating, you’ll have to try that stage over.
There are six stages that get increasingly more difficult as you progress, trying to trip you up with quicker button presses or an unusual rhythm. If you toss some freestyle lines in while still hitting the appropriate button presses, you’ll bump yourself up to Cool rappin’, and you’ll be able to freestyle with no button prompts for as long as you can hold the rhythm. Clearing the stage with a Cool rating gets you a short alternate ending to each stage, giving experts an incentive to perform better than just hitting the buttons in sequence.
The story and world is incredibly simple, fun-loving, and endearing. PaRappa is simply trying to impress his love-interest, Sunny Funny while trying to outdo his romantic rival, Joe Chin. This goes from PaRappa wanting to learn Karate after a run in with some bullies, to getting his drivers license, to baking a cake for her birthday party and more. The story of PaRappa is very relatable and charming. All of the characters are portrayed in a unique 2-dimensional paper-thin art style, bending and twisting like elastic, giving the world of PaRappa the Rapper a unique style. Also, all the characters are either anthropomorphic animals or inanimate objects (like hammers, flowers, onions, etc. ) giving the game a weird yet wonderful style.
PaRappa the Rapper was originally released on the PlayStation, but also saw a re-release on PSP with a few added remixed tracks available for download and a multiplayer mode, making it the ideal version of PaRappa out there. PaRappa the Rapper also spawned a spin off, UmJammer Lammy an identical game with a different main character and story and instead revolves around playing guitar. It still takes place in the same universe as PaRappa the Rapper and you can even unlock PaRappa as a playable character once you complete the game. PaRappa also saw a sequel for the PlayStation 2, PaRappa the Rapper 2. While this is ultimately the better game, the story is a little less charming and even more bizarre than the first, in my opinion. While there is more to do and unlock, I felt as though the first game was more worthy of making the Best Games Ever list. There have been some leaked rumors about a PaRappa the Rapper 3 for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita spread around November of 2014, but since then, no one has seen or heard anything… I guess we’ll see what happens. PaRappa is also featured as a playable character in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.
PaRapper the Rapper was really the start of a genre of games that I’ve grown to love and for that, I feel as though it really deserves a spot on the list. “So if ya gotta problem, whatcha gonna do? Give it up or believe in yourself?”
I know. “I GOTTA BELIEVE!”
Thank you, thank you.