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A letdown for old school rappers - Metro US

A letdown for old school rappers

Though PaRappa The Rapper offers some fun, wild button combos, there are few new levels or challenges.

PaRappa The Rapper

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Platforms: PSP

Rating: E — Everybody

Game type: Music action

*** 1/2 (out of 5)

What’s the premise?

The 1997 rap-tastic classic that basically invented the music action genre — which eventually led to such popular games as Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero and Karaoke Revolution — gets new life in your pocket on the PSP.

This game is most similar to…?

Guitar Hero or DDR (if you’re just using a controller, not a guitar or dance mat peripheral).

Can I let my kid/kid brother play it?

It’s E — for Everyone, but it’s doubtful younger kids can keep up with the wild button combos necessary to rap your way along with PaRappa.

One player or more?

This PSP version has a multiplayer mode where you can take on your fellow rappers.

What’s missing?

New stuff. It’s fun playing the classic game, but new levels or challenges would have been nice.

The (not-so) secret to success is…?

Feel the beat. Succeeding at PaRappa actually takes rhythm so listen to the phat beats, tap along on the buttons and you’ll do fine.

And in the end?

Initially, PaRappa is a fun blast from the past (then you’re reminded how tough it is), but the lack of anything new for old school fans who’ve already finished it is a real letdown.

The Bigs

Publisher: 2K Sports

Platforms: PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PSP

Reviewed on: PlayStation 3

Rating: E — Everybody 10 +

Game type: Sports

****

What’s the premise?

Imagine if steroids and speed (the drug) were not only legal in baseball, they were mandatory and you have the foundation for this hard-hitting, slick-fielding, fireball-throwing new sports title.

This game is most similar to…?

It’s the NFL Blitz of baseball.

Can I let my kid/kid brother play it?

The hitting should be a snap for little ones to learn, but the pitching is a bit tougher, so they’re going to get rocked on the mound.

One player or more?

The Bigs is one of the best new social sports games in years.

What’s missing?

A quick tutorial to go over pitching and fielding would help avoid some early humiliations.

The (not-so) secret to success is…?

Learn your pitches. In a game where every light-hitting benchwarmer can crank a ball out like Roy Hobbs in The Natural, you’re going to live and die by picking the right pitch. Even then you’re still going to get knocked around a bit.

And in the end?

If you love baseball video games, but can’t take the hours it can take to complete a simulated game, The Bigs is a perfect tonic. Quick-paced games filled with furious action make it a grand slam.

Vampire Rain

Publisher: Microsoft

Platforms: Xbox 360

Rating: Mature 17+

Game type: Third-person action/ stealth/shooter

**

What’s the premise?

Nightwalkers, the spawn of vampires, are slowly taking over the planet and a secret government agency has been tasked to try to begin fighting back against their leaders. Gamers play as John Lloyd, a covert agent sent into a nightwalker-held city whose goal is to stealthily eliminate the bad guys.

This game is most similar to…?

At times it feels like Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell, but never quite as good as either.

Can I let my kid/kid brother play it?

Do your little ones enjoy the sound of a vampire gnawing on someone’s jugular? I didn’t think so.

One player or more?

The main game is one-player, but there is a multiplayer deathmatch mode.

The (not-so) secret to success is…?

Don’t get caught. This game is mainly about being sneaky (to a fault), so you will spend a ton of time creeping up behind walls, dumpsters, vehicles and the like.

What’s missing?

The ability to run fast enough should you actually engage the enemy in combat. It’s almost ridiculous how quickly they catch and devour you.

And in the end?

Vampire Rain isn’t a bad idea for a game, but the constant sneaking is annoying, the inability to get out of trouble is frustrating and therefore it isn’t worth recommending.

jonathan.kuehlein@metronews.ca

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