It's been two decades since PaRappa the Rapper first appeared on the original PlayStation in 1997. As one of the first rhythm games to make a dent in the public consciousness, the poetic puppy was instrumental in paving the way for the music-based games that would follow in his wake: Amplitude, Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Hatsune Miku, and, erm, Wii Music can all thank PaRappa to varying degrees for some measure of the success that they reaped while PlayStation's rapping dog was on hiatus. But with Sony deciding to bring PaRappa out of retirement in a remastered role, can the old pooch keep up with the new blood of today – or would he have been better off taken out back and shot like Old Yeller?
PaRappa the Rapper tells the story of a two-dimensional rapping dog living in a three-dimensional world, striving for the affections of a walking, talking, sunflower named Sunny Funny. After a trip to the cinema and an encounter with some local bullies, PaRappa realises that he must man-up if he ever hopes to have a girl like Sunny on his arm, and so begins his journey of important life lessons and self-discovery all via the medium of decidedly un-gangsta rap. The story is lighthearted and silly, but it's thoroughly charming from start to finish with an anarchic sense of humour.
Even with the fresh lick of paint that Sony has had applied to the game, 20 has taken a toll on the mechanics of poor PaRappa; as far as rhythm games go it's as basic as they come. You're thrown into a rap with a teacher in which he'll rap a couple of lines and then you'll follow suit. An icon of PaRappa's head will float across the screen, and when it touches triangle, you press triangle. Square, circle, X, L1, and R1 all eventually get in on the act, and while the number of button prompts you'll need to hit will increase, the game never introduces any other mechanics throughout each of the six stages.
Each stage is presided over by a different rapping teacher, from a kung-fu master onion to a driving instructor moose. PaRappa must rap along with his tutor in order to reach the end of the level with a rating of 'Good' or 'Cool'. Hitting too many bum notes will result in your rating dropping to 'Bad' and eventually 'Awful', and if your run of dour luck continues your rap will be cut short. Going off book and freestyling will allow you to reach the 'Cool' rating, and given the short running time of the game – it'll take around an hour to see it through to the credits – experimenting in order to achieve the 'Cool' rating in each stage provides some much needed replay value.
Mechanically, the game doesn't hold up too well, especially when put in comparison to more modern rhythm titles like the Hatsune Miku series. There's not much in the way of wiggle room when it comes to hitting or missing notes, and the proliferation of high definition and ultra-high definition televisions – and the input lag that comes with them – means that it might prove tricky to get the timing down, even for seasoned veterans of the game. This author nearly put his controller through the window on the seventeenth attempt at getting past the infamous chicken chef level, and while it would be unfair to suggest that it was entirely the fault of lag, a little leniency in this regard would have been helpful.
But despite some of the technical shortcomings and slightly archaic design, PaRappa shines in other regards. While the cut-scenes between levels appear a little blurry and stretched out, the presentation during gameplay pops, with PaRappa and the colourful cast of characters he meets appearing more vibrant and charming than ever.
The main draw here, of course, is the soundtrack, and thankfully it's in this regard that PaRappa the Rapper Remastered really sticks the landing. The lyrics might be utterly nonsensical, and PaRappa's contribution to each rap might be little more than garbled, awkward attempts at repeating the words of his various tutors, but there's no denying the quality of the tunes on offer here. Each song is catchy and memorable, and you'll likely find yourself humming along before you've reached the second verse. Rock Band might let you play songs by The Killers, but PaRappa the Rapper Remastered features a banging rap-off between the customers of a gas station trying to decide which one of them gets to skip to the front of the queue for the toilet. We won't get that one out of our heads for days.
PaRappa the Rapper Remastered is a time capsule from the late 90s – warts and all. The high-definition gloss might make the game look better than ever, but it can't mask how the genre has moved on in PaRappa's absence. The mechanics don't hold up against the competition of today, but the fantastic soundtrack, charming characters, and budget price should prove more than enough to get the nostalgia juices flowing in anyone who remembers the old dog's first outing 20 years ago. You gotta believe!
@b1ackjack_ps I received an email a few days ago saying I should receive my 10 between the 6th and the 9th. Said I would get a notification on my PS4 to let me know I've got it.
Sounds about right, will pick this up as and when!
Already preordered it on psn at about $10, the music in parappa 1 is so catchy .
Also the graphics hold up really well compared to other ps1 games.
Can't wait to play this one again!
@get2sammyb I loved it, but like, the gameplay is totally broken. If they'd done something with the mechanics... the story and the characters and the tunes all still rock.
Looks and sounds great but the aged controls and input lag totally killed this game for me. Loved it back in the day but best left as a fond memory, until Sony feels like making a proper sequel with better controls.
about to start it now, been through Parappa 2 as well recently not quite as good as the original but still a blast hope Um Jammer Lammy comes next
I'll take this over the aged copies on ebay that go for £25 minimum. The inputs were always a little big laggy anyway, so even then you had to adjust your timing to account for it somewhat. The game was always more about the tunes, quirky animations and taking the p*ss out of your mates' poor efforts anyhow.
Played this one back in the day and after playing the demo I will skip it. Lazy work on the cutscenes when the rest of the game looks so good.
One of the main games I played on PS back in the day. I'll pick it up soon.
I never saw the appeal back in the PS days but I gave the demo a try back in January because of the hype I heard about this game. My first impression was, "this is a remastered game?". I kind of thought I mistakenly downloaded the demo for the original.
My second impression was that the demo level of the diner/restaurant was not that fun. I knew it was a rhythm game but I didn't know the game play was that basic. It honestly reminded me of a flash game my sons would play when they were toddlers.
While the music that I've heard is very catchy and charming, I will skip this game with no afterthought. I will only give this game another try if it's free through Playstation Plus someday. I apologize if I sound too harsh to fans, and I appreciate the fact that they are releasing this for fans of the original.....but this is clearly not for me.
I have this on PS1 sitting on my shelf, so I'll probably pass on this Remaster.
Now Sony, how about remastering Um Jammer Lammy? I have it on disc, but would like to play it with clear graphics.
I thought the input lag was just happening to me. It completely destroys the game. It makes me very sad
this was a bad rhythm game then and it is now. (also I don't like the art style and the characters)
@Alldayiplay It's quite rough. You have to kinda work out how off it is - there's no calibration options - and then adjust your timing accordingly. It wasn't that much of a disaster for me except for the chicken stage which I failed over and over again for about half an hour while my girlfriend laughed at me.
Looks like a good piece of 90's video game history, but a little bit too dated for today's taste.
@johncalmc yeah cheap cheap was the worst stage for me but I was back in the 90s as well, finished and loved every second of it played through it 3 times already some of the alternate music tracks are great
I never did play this game, unfortunately. I plan on giving it one go around someday just to experience it and get it off my gaming bucket list.
@johncalmc "I failed over and over again for about half an hour while my girlfriend laughed at me."
You see! Just as good as it always was! )
"This author nearly put his controller through the window on the seventeenth attempt at getting past the infamous chicken chef level"
Uhh ok, "this author" is probably just terrible at the game, in that case. 17 times? Wow. It's not that bad.
Let me guess - there was no way to get this game early (for anyone) as a digital release, so you woke past midnight to rush the game and slop together a tired review before you even got the hang of it.
Totally unfair to readers and the game alike. It's an awesome port - you even fail to mention the bonus instrumentals in the second menu, or price point value, all things considered.
Bad, bad review.
In my top 3 PSOne games - I've been playing this all night. Looks so good in HD. I'm not hitting the cool ratings like I used to. I'll blame the input lag...
Also, the wallpaper theme is awesome and worth getting too.
@AnPhi Reviewers often get codes to download games before release. And since a review copy was provided by Sony for the review I'd guess they got it early.
Seems the reason why the game got average reviews is due the gameplay not holding up well. Kinda like what happened with Legend of Kai and Altered Beast.
But anyway, I just hope Sony does something to fix the problems like add a casual mode for the game to appeal the newcomers or something. And I personally think that the price would have been worth it if they also remastered Unjammy Lammy bundled together.
Heck, it would have been better if Sony remastered all of their popular PS1 games in one collection a la Rare Replay.
@AnPhi I've played PaRappa the Rapper about forty times. I loved it when it first came out, and I still love it now. I loved playing it for this review. But the port isn't good. Simple as. It's laggy as all hell, and what's worse, it appears to be laggy to different degrees depending on what stage you're on. I beat every stage in the game on my first go - still remembered how to 'Cool' some of them despite having not played it for like ten years - except the chicken one which took, no joke, like forty minutes or something.
I love PaRappa the Rapper, but we can't just pretend this is a stellar port. It's not.
@Fandabidozi It really does look great during the gameplay sections. I was grinning so much while I was playing it because I have so many fond memories of the game. It's such a shame they didn't do anything for calibrating the gameplay.
@johncalmc Great review man. Although I never understood the hype behind this game even when it came out in the 90's. I guess it was something you just had to be into like sports games or RPGs to fully understand the hype.
The dated game design is sort of what I'm worried about with the Crash Bandicoot Remaster: I replayed one recently and it had not aged well at all.
Some things are just better left in the past.
"PaRappa the Rapper tells the story of a two-dimensional rapping dog living in a three-dimensional world, striving for the affections of a walking, talking, sunflower named Sunny Funny."
god they were super lazy when it comes to the cutscenes. they should've redone them.
I can basically play something like this within Yakuza 0 and then have many more things to do as well, having said that I'll probably still get it in a future sale 😃
Not that this will make a difference to anyone - and it's obviously down to the lag associated with HDTVs - but I played through it via my projector last night instead of the TV and there was no lag to speak of. Murdered every stage...until the cooking show. Lag or no lag, that stage is just horrible and always was. Fortunately my girlfriend's away at the moment, though, so no humiliating laughter for me!
Imma buy this in hopes for a ps4 made parappa 3!
With this and Crash getting remasters I can only hope Spyro 1-3 gets the same treatment soon.
@Gremio108 And I didn't even have to mention the reggae frog.
@PaperyWhiteBoy I beat every stage in the game without issue - although I've played the game dozens of times, to be fair - but the cooking level kicked my head in. I don't know whether the lag in that level is inherently worse or if I just lost the plot but I was stuck on it forever.
@johncalmc Yeah, I think there's just always been something up with that level, outside of lag. I remember having the same frustrations the first time around. Sometimes you can hear that you're nailing each hit but still get downgraded, then others you can blatantly balls it up but somehow get knocked back up to good. That's where the frustration comes in - the sheer randomness of it!
With the response I see to this game, I think they should've just made an entirely new one, or a remake and improve upon it, not just a remaster.
Yet another in the long line of disastrous ports of this game. Don't waste your money, God only knows why it was even given a score when the core gameplay is so blatantly and fundamentally broken. Play the original 1997 release on a PS1 with a CRT because this version is absolutely not how it is meant to be.
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