PaRappa the Rapper is one of the most memorable music and rhythm games of all time, and I’ve been replaying the game monthly since I was a kid. Though I chose to get an Um Jammer Lammy tattoo as she’s still my favorite, PaRappa lives in my heart as one of my nearest and dearest video game characters of all time.
For me, the game was the beginning of my descent into a deep and passionate love for music and rhythm gaming, one I’m still wallowing in even here and now. Now that it’s back for an encore beyond the confines of PlayStation and the short-lived PSP to grace the PlayStation 4 in a shiny new remastered format, is it worth buying all over again? In the words of Laganja Estranja, “YAS GAWD!" but with a few caveats.
That Funky, Funky Flow
Though I am still going to heartily recommend the game, it’s important that you realize it’s not everything it could have been. In fact, I wish more had been done to make it a truly “definitive” way to enjoy the game.
For the unfamiliar, PaRappa weaves a tale of a young rapping dog who’s out to impress the love of his life: Sunny Funny. Along the way he gets caught up in some truly bizarre scenarios, like getting his driver’s license from a moose, baking a seafood cake with a chicken, and even helping a frog out with his yard sale. While PaRappa raps with each guru, you need to press the buttons that scroll across the top of the screen. The game features six stages in all, with a final stage that serves up a rollicking stage production during which PaRappa affirms his life motto over and over: “I gotta believe!”
With each stage you get a “teacher” who raps to the beat. Symbols appear above the screen that prompt you to copy them with the face and shoulder buttons of the PlayStation controller. Depending on your skill and how close you get to the beat, the “U Rappin'” meter at the bottom of the screen measures your ranking, ranging from Awful to Cool. If you can perform well enough to reach the “Cool” rating, you can break away from PaRappa’s predetermined rapping and you can freestyle on your own. Do well enough, and you can even unlock a special stage at the end of the game. For this remake, nothing’s really changed. This is still the same game you may have played during the PlayStation era, but it looks and sounds much better this time around.
Do You Know Why We Stopped The Car?
This remastered edition obviously looks better than the original game, with crisp visuals and colors that pop. I used a PlayStation 4 Pro to review the game, and it was quite stunning with the game’s new, added dynamic 4K support. If you didn’t know it was created years ago for PlayStation, you certainly wouldn’t be able to guess–unless you’re watching the videos that push the story along, anyway. Those videos haven’t been touched, seemingly at all. They’re grainy, especially when viewed on a larger flat screen television.
It’s jarring when swapping from the videos back to a gorgeously rendered level. I'm not sure why the videos weren't touched when they offer a semblance of a narrative, but it would have been nice to see them look just as great as the levels themselves.
The audio has been remastered as well, thankfully, and it sounds fantastic. The beats are still so infectious that I wished there had been a jukebox mode to listen to the songs by themselves, but it wasn't a dealbreaker.
It’s All in the Mind
There are a few additions to this shiny new package that are mildly interesting, but nothing especially useful, such as a few added menu options and changes to controls to help players “feel the beat.” The DualShock 4 controller can be utilized to offer a metronome of some sorts to follow along with the beat. It’s not especially helpful if you’re like me and you know the songs, melodies, and lyrics by heart, but it’s a fun and gimmicky edition you might enjoy using.
The menus and options are largely the same still, which is fine since it would alter the aesthetic of the game otherwise, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that more could have been done with this remaster to give players an added sense of value, especially if you’ve played it as many times as I have.
You Gotta Believe!
PaRappa the Rapper: Remastered is an excellent re-release of a PlayStation classic, even if it feels as though it squandered some of the potential it has as a new PlayStation 4 release. It still has the same excellent music, memorable characters, and zany charm it had when it originally released, and if you never got a chance to check it out, you’re in for a real treat. I hope Um Jammer Lammy gets the same treatment going forward.
This review is based on a PlayStation 4 code provided by the publisher. PaRappa the Rapper will be available as a digital download on April 4 for $14.99. The game is rated E.
PaRappa the Rapper Remastered
- Same great rhythm game as it ever was.
- Crisp, clean visuals.
- Additional control options.
- Trophy support.
- FMV cut scenes aren't remastered.
- Fewer new features than there could have been.
Brittany Vincent posted a new article, PaRappa the Rapper Remastered Review: Somebody Say Ho!