Tuesday, September 4, 2012

VGR PaRappa 2

It's time for one last dip!

Here it is, music composer/game creator Masaya Matsuura's last PaRappa game (to this day!).
He still produces some musical games from time to time (such as the Vib-Ribbon series), but not as often as in the 90s. And no more PaRappa for the time being.

Don't miss out my previous PaRappa-related reviews!

VGR: PaRappa the Rapper 2 (aka PaRappa Rappa 2)
From NanaOn-Sha
Played on PS2
Also available on /

Type Musical game
Year 2002

PaRappa 2 is the 2002 sequel in the PaRappa the Rapper series.
It's a return to the Rap music genre, after a Rock-oriented sequel featuring Lammy (and PaRappa as a bonus).

Like I mentioned in a previous post that linked to an interview with PaRappa co-creator Rodney Greenblat, the producers sort of got in the way of the game during the development.
Sony wanted the game easier. With a more beginner-friendly gameplay, tutorials, etc.
So Rodney and Matsuura didn't exactly get the PaRappa 2 they wanted. And it sort of shows actually.
The meddling from the exectuvies sort of made the game look kind of rushed and unpolished compared to the previous two titles, all so it could be an early release for the PS2...


The story is as nonsensical as it usually goes in PaRappa Town!

PaRappa recently won a yearly supply of noodles!
Obviously, it was fun at start but now he's growing tired of eating noodles all the time.
Noodles for lunch, noodles for dinner, noodles for breakfast, etc.!!

One day he was invited at his girlfriend's - yep Sunny Funny from PaRappa 1.
But he ended up running away when he found out it was some more noodles...
And she even called him a baby!

The story follows PaRappa alongside his pal PJ Berri (Rodney's own mascot) as they go from one place to another, trying to avoid to have to eat some noodles again and as PaRappa tries to prove he's grown up enough.
On their way they meet up some friends and old familiar faces such as Katy Kat, Lammy and Ma-san from the group MilkCan. They watch a program about Romantic Karaté featuring the always awesome Chop Chop Master Onion.
And in the end, they go through an hardcore old 8-bit game, end up joining the army to fight a war against the noodle invasion and participated in a Rap concert!

All in a day's work~


The game plays mostly similar to past titles.
You "fight" masters musically, repeat some lines by pressing specific buttons on the controller.

This time the game is 8 stages long - but really in the end if felt much shorter.

By being in synch with the music you get a Ranking, from Good to Bad to plain Awful.
Only this time you get a line such as "Getting Worse" or "Getting Better" once you change your rank. Which is both annoying and a huge help for progressing since it actual cuts a whole line out.
You can also access a Cool Mode by improvising.
It's also easier to get there since you only need to get two well improvised lines in a row. (staying there though is another story...)
Once there you can freestyle your way through.
You need to score a Cool in all stages to unlock the Music Test mode.

The whole game just feels easier from start to finish.
There's various new gameplay elements here and there.
Such as tutorials this time around. Starring Boxxy Boy.
They're launched at the start of each stage. And they're super-annoying. And useless.
(AND YOU CAN SKIP THEM BY PRESSING START! seriously though, I didn't knew that until the very end...)

Let me hear you say "Oh yeah!"

The game is as fun and entertaining as the original.
In fact, on that front, it's as crazy as ever.
Everyone is back in some way or another, most characters from the series get a cameo in this new episode.
For example, Captain Fussenpepper (like Master Onion, also voiced by the great Ryu Watabe) gets an appearance in PaRappa 2's menus and options - he was a boss from UmJammer Lammy.

And it's nice to have the whole MilkCan gang back.
Even "playing" in the background of some stages.
Though to be honest, I really wanted to hear them sing/Lammy play some guitar for at least a stage. (or playable as an unlockable bonuis...)

The game is very easy. I went through it all without dying once!
And I rarely went into "Bad".
So you go through all the game in one sitting with no difficulty, where both previous games were a lot harder.

Though every 2 levels you get a Karaté minigame.
You just  have to break some timed-plates by using the buttons, for score.

Once finished there's some bonuses.
You can replay through all levels on a Versus Mode. Either against a Player 2 or the CPU.
The goal is to improvise on a given line of rap.

The game doesn't cover as wide genres of Rap as the first episode (or the 2nd one and Rock music).
It's mostly all hip hop this time.
I dunno for why, but I found the music less memorable this time. Besides the Burger song at the start and the "Food Court" in the end, they weren't as "original". (it's all really subjective, really)
And the new masters weren't as unique. We got the military sister of PaRappa 1's Instructor Mooselini, Instructor Moosesha.A schizophrenic octopus hairdresser. And the main boss was a fat curly-haired Colonel Noodle kid.

Overall, it still is a fun game and all.
But I'd rate it slightly below both previous PaRappa 1 and UmJammer Lammy.
It's a PS2 game, so the most improvised aspect is with no doubt the visuals. It's simply gorgeous, the best aspect of the game is how great the graphics look.
But it's really shorter.
And on the musical side, it's slightly less memorable, the musical numbers aren't as unique as before.
And the game's just way too easy.

Originally, the game wasn't as well received as the previous entries. 
(but if you read back those reviews, it was for futile reasons like the graphics, etc.)

Finishing the game will change PaRappa's hat color as you go through stuff.
Finishing the story, playing through all modes, ranking all best scores, the hat will go through blue, then pink and finally yellow. Just something to keep an eye on your progression really.
And if you're brave enough, finishing everything and going through all these things will unlock one last final song, "Say I Gotta Believe"!

I give it:
2 / 3 PaRappas!

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