PaRappa the Rapper

Even the most casual of gamers are more than aware that the PSP is awash with PlayStation 2 conversions, but when it comes to ports of PSone titles the only one we can think of is Medieval. Sony went out of their way to improve it for the PSP though, with a graphical makeover and whatnot. PaRappa, on the other hand, looks and plays just like it did back in 1997. They haven’t even bothered to make new FMV clips, instead opting to resize the original ones to the size of a box of matches to excuse their graininess.

PaRappa the RapperThere had certainly been rhythm-action games before PaRappa the Rapper – Breakdance on the Commodore 64 for a start – but PaRappa (which means ‘paper-thin’ in Japanese, incidentally) gave the genre a kick start, and without it chances are there would be no crazy dancing games clogging up the arcades, and dusty dance mats in the bargain bins. The idea is baby simple: hit buttons when instructed; miss too many and the game is over.

So yes, it’s knocking on a bit, but the floppy visual style still has its charm and the accompanying melodies are just as impossible to get out of your head. Kick, punch, it’s all in the mind indeed. As PaRappa goes about his quest to improve his social status in order to impress his lady friends, the levels get harder and throw more complex button presses your way. The key lies in the timing – if you’re even a split second too slow off the mark the current sequence is discredited. The way the backgrounds and musical tone change depending on how well you’re doing makes for a rewarding experience, while aiming for the rapping rating of ‘cool’ should provide replay value as long as you aren’t put off by the steep difficulty curve.

Yet even with a £19.99 price tag it’s kind of baffling why Sony have re-released it as a boxed retail product instead of a download on the PSP Store, such are the few improvements that have been made. A brand new PaRappa, or even Um Lamma Jammy, would have been much more welcome.

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