Two decades ago Sony released PaRappa the Rapper on the original PlayStation console, and it was an instant hit. Strangely enough, the game was quite simple. You had to follow the beat to some catchy tunes, and repeat the commands given by these fellow artists that take the form of PaRappa's imaginations. 20 years is a long time, and gaming has changed so drastically over the course of it, but somehow PaRappa the Rapper still felt so home to me during my 4-hour binge session with everyone's favorite rapping dog.
PaRappa the Rapper holds such fond memories for me, as I grew up playing the game. I was but a child then at the age of 7, and I still believe I am a child at heart, as I thoroughly enjoyed the game and its awesome tunes. The remastered version has been tweaked here and there, but it's the dynamic 4K on the PS4 Pro that brought out all the color and life of the game, as well as the beat that vibrates in the DualShock 4, which added the extra boost in tunes.
Starting off with the classic tutorial level in the Chop Chop Dojo, all the memories came rushing back to me. The tune, the movements of the character, and of course the catchy lyrics of the songs. There is no doubt that this is the definition of nostalgia, and the remaster gives the visuals and soundtrack that much-needed boost in performance and quality.
A classic remastered
The entire game has been taken out of the original and placed on the PS4, this even includes the awkward cinematics in-between the levels. The game follows PaRapper the Rapper as he goes about various tasks to try and impress Sunny Funny, is crush and "the girl of his dreams". These cutscenes, however, have not been remastered at all, or even touched by the looks of them. They look a bit dated, and because the game now runs at a higher res, it is easy to spot the drop in quality compared to the main stages and the cutscenes. Saying that, it never worried me at all, as you can still enjoy the cute story that the game is trying to tell.
Throughout then experience PaRappa goes from learning karate to selling items at the flea market alongside a stoned chameleon in order to get cash to fix his dad's car. The story is one of a kind, and just when you think PaRappa has won the heart of his love, something happens and he is two steps back again. At its core is a decent rhythm game that manages to steal your heart, while keeping your shoulder bobbing to the beat. It does get tough, however, as the first three stages are all about you matching the button presses to the song, but after a while, the game relies on your knowing the beat too and matching your presses to it. There is no indication of the beat besides listening to the music and following the rhythm of the words that your counterpart in the song is singing.
PaRappa works on a rating system from Cool to Awful. The more you hit the beat and the buttons accordingly, the higher your rating. Miss them and you will fail. It is also a nice touch that, depending on your score, the stage adapts to it. If I went down to "bad" in the driving lesson stage, the car would start to swerve around, and in the flea market level, the room would collapse. If you do very well, the level will change too.
It does get tough
The harsh difficulty only really sets in when I got to the cooking stage with that darn chicken. It took me around thirty attempts before I passed it, and it is, in theory, an introduction to the second half of the game, which has a much larger difficulty spike than the first half. These last few stages to feel that they have some buggy timing issues, which can put you off. Still, if you can manage past that spike, you should be fine for the rest of the game. The thing that makes PaRappa the Rapper so addictive is that the songs are pretty short and sweet, so failure is never as bad as if you just spent three minutes on a song. I also learned to adapt and know when I just had to restart rather than continuing to try and get my rapping rating up again.
My only issue is that the game is quite short. Six stages, which you can play twice to master them on the "cool" scale, and I feel that not including the sequel in the remaster is also a missed opportunity. There is trophy support, and a platinum to grab while you are at it, so that will be great for fellow trophy hunters out there.
PaRappa the Rapper Remastered is a true classic to own, and if you played the original you will love this edition of the game. On PS4 Pro the game looks superb too, so that is a plus for PS4 Pro owners. Still for R230, to relive a classic so amazing as this, and to allow it to bring out all those childhood memories, is a fantastic experience. I loved my time with PaRappa the Rapper.
Take a look at some awesome 4K gameplay of the game below.
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