Parappa the Rapper 2 is like an interactive music CD. Whereas Masaya Matsuura’s other titles were full-fledged music games that revolutionized the genre, PTR2 is more of a simple Simon Says-type game that requires very little skill to play. You can add some extra rapping to each song and create your own unique sound, but the game still feels like it’s giving you a hand. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve played a game this easy.
The third stage, BIG, is very reminiscent of the fire stage from UmJammer Lammy. The music has a smooth style that’s better than half the stuff I’ve heard on the Soul of VH-1. The lyrics blend together nicely with the rest of the song, and the R&B music is very catchy.
Hair Scare (the fifth stage) is just as wacky as the rest of the game. Hairdresser Octopuss teaches Parappa to cut hair through the power of music. Strange concept, but in this world, music is more powerful than anything.
Stage 6 is what music games would have been like had they been around 15 years ago. The characters are 2D just like they are now, but this time they’re actually in the second dimension. Parappa moves up and down the left side of the screen, while his opponents — Beard Burger Master, Chop Chop Master Onion, Guru Ant, Instructor Moosesha and Hairdresser Octopus — attack from the right side of the screen. Actually, they don’t attack, they simply reiterate their old rhymes and hope you don’t press the correct buttons when the cursor scrolls across the screen. This one isn’t as good as the previous stages, but it is pretty cool. I like how they mixed the 8-bit blips and beeps with the new, higher-quality video game music.
Parappa must defeat the psychotic Colonel Noodle in the seventh stage. Colonel Noodle is the man behind the noodlization, so it’s up to Parappa to show him that noodles aren’t the only good thing to eat. The Colonel’s rap is, like most of the songs in the game, senseless (but catchy) video game music that is sure to get stuck in your head (and may never come out).
As much as we hate it, all good things must come to an end. Parappa the Rapper 2 ends with Always Love!, a pumping rap song that encourages the crowd to get up and dance. You can try and resist, but sooner or later, the rhythm is going to get you. And when it does, you’ll find yourself moving your head, arms and legs to the beat of the music, just like the good ol’ days on the PSone.
The practice rounds seem like they were intended for little kids, complete with pre-school lyrics and a kiddie voice. Thankfully, you can skip the practice rounds by pressing the Start button. If you’ve never played a music game before and the voice doesn’t bother you, then the practice rounds might be helpful to you. However, Parappa the Rapper 2 isn’t that hard of a game to begin with, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 12+ years of gaming, it’s that you’re never going to succeed unless you play the actual game. In some ways, Parappa the Rapper 2 is like one giant music game tutorial. Most of the stages consist of button combinations that can be learned almost instantly. PTR1 and UmJammer Lammy had several difficult stages, and every level in Frequency was extremely challenging. That’s because those games used complex patterns that could not be mastered overnight. It took me a nearly a week to beat PTR1 and UmJammer Lammy, and I still have not fully mastered all of Frequency’s levels. But I was able to beat Parappa the Rapper 2 in less than 90 minutes (I could have beaten it even faster if I skipped all of the real-time videos). On top of that, I only failed once during the final stage. I beat the first seven without losing once. Parappa the Rapper 2 is a really good game, but the super-easy gameplay is disappointing.
Reviewer’s Scoring Details
Parappa the Rapper 2 is fun, but it’s way too short. There was a time when I used to complain about games that I beat in eight hours. After playing PTR2, eight hours of gameplay doesn’t sound so bad, especially when you consider the fact that there is more to watch in this game than there is to play.
Parappa’s graphics haven’t changed much in five years. I’m glad they stuck with the graphical style of the first game, but I wish they had added some more polygons to the characters. Their mouth movements could have been a lot more realistic.
For a game that’s based on sound, I expected a lot more from the music. The songs are good, but not great, and most of them don’t have that long-lasting appeal that made the first two games so great.
This is the lowest that I have ever scored a game’s difficulty. If the first Parappa the Rapper was too hard for you, this is the game to get.
Masaya Matsuura is a genius, but I am disappointed in him for making this game so easy. Why do all of the great game developers feel the need to dummy-down their games? The first Parappa the Rapper game was a huge success. Most gamers welcomed the challenge it had to offer. This is true of most great games. Mr. Matsuura should take a cue from his past efforts and make a music game that everyone will love — not just little kids.
Parappa the Rapper 2 is best when played by yourself. If you want an awesome multiplayer music game, get Frequency.
Parappa the Rapper 2 is definitely a candidate for rental of the year. It meets all of the requirements of a good rental: it’s short, fun and does not have enough replay value to make you wish you bought it.