Back in the days of the Playstation, one game that turned into a true gem was PARAPPA THE RAPPER. That early rhythm game did very well due to its bright visuals, fun gameplay and most importantly the original and very catchy music ("Kick, punch, it's all in the mind"). After the semi-sequel starring Parappa's friend Lammy, Sony is finally back with a true sequel to one of the most fondly remembered PSX titles.
Parappa town is under the effects of a device that turns all of the food into noodles. Parappa decides that he needs to grow up and fight the forces attacking the town with noodles. OK, the story really doesn't make that much sense, but it doesn't matter if the songs are good, right? Throughout the game you'll travel to different locations such as a burger stand, the carpet of your room, a military boot camp, and an old-school videogame. Each location has its own rap master who has a different style (gangsta, etc.) and song for you to rap.
Gameplay is similar to the first round. Your teacher will rattle off a part of a song. You must try to follow what your teacher did by pressing buttons at the correct time. While following the song is important, it's also important to mix it up a bit and try to be cooler. It's the only way to attain the highest scores on the levels. If you continually screw up, the screen will slowly become more filled with noodles until you are so bad that the game automatically ends. Fortunately, it's pretty easy to avoid that situation... I only attempted to do it once to see what would happen; otherwise I never lost a round. The ease of the game combined with the shortness of playtime (probably around two hours to once through it with the entire story) really hurt PARAPPA 2.
The game is worth replaying though. The great music helps quite a bit in wanting to replay the game, but the two-player and challenge modes add the depth to the game that isn't found in playing through the one-player mode. I tried playing the computer on the highest level and soon had my butt getting whipped by the computer's rapping skills. The only problem is that you only rap phrases and not actually the song.
The graphics are supposed to be true to the Playstation version, but it really looks as if no effort was put into this aspect. They really aren't that great and definitely feel last-generation. Everything feels dirty and the graphics could have definitely benefited from some polishing time.
As much as I enjoyed the music in PARAPPA 2, some of it feels like a rehash from the first game. There are some great songs but nothing reaches the level of greatness that the first game did. Nevertheless, the songs are still catchy enough to keep you playing the game.
While PARAPPA THE RAPPER 2 fails to live up to the high expectations set for it by the previous game, it isn't that bad in its own right. The game needs more polish and some more ingenuity with the songs, but this will keep you satisfied until the third installment releases.
Platform: Playstation 2
ESBR Rating: Everyone
Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Suggested Retail Price: $49.99
Fun Factor: A-
Reviewer's Wild Card: A