Retro Recap: Parappa the Rapper

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Not only is this a game that is subtly addictive, it’s the various raps you hear that stick with you the most. Damn, they are catchy! I don’t think there has been an instance where I’ve played this title and not been “rapping” the various tunes to myself. This week’s Retro Recap is of course about our beloved 2 dimensional superstar, Parappa the Rapper!

Arguably, Parappa the Rapper revolutionized the gaming platform by introducing the genre of musical based games. Many believed it was doomed to fail with such an odd style, yet Parappa’s popularity soared, creating one of the most fun games to date. Parappa is an aspiring hip-hop artist with very big dreams, however, the trials and tribulations of an average lifestyle slow him down. His main objective is to win the heart of his one true sweetheart Sunny Funny. How does Parappa accomplish this? By becoming a rap star! Parappa enters his local dojo and receives tuition from Chop Chop Master Onion (best name for a Sensei, by the way) and teaches you his own brand of self-defense which is, of course, in the form of an epic rap.

I wish I had a Sensei as cool as this guy…

This game is very memorable, not only for the raps themselves, but for the incredibly odd plotline. As the game progresses, you start at the kung fu dojo, then Parappa tries to impress Sunny Funny, while attempting to outshine his love rival by learning to drive. Yeah that’s right, a rapping dog is learning to drive. How crazy does that sound? After passing the test, you crash your Dad’s car and you begin your job at a local flea market to pay for the damages. This stage is by far the most strange as the frog you’re rapping with is clearly baked, and to fit the stereotype, speaks in a Jamaican accent while a reggae beat is playing in the background.

From there, you skip ahead to Sunny’s birthday and Parappa uses the cooking channel (who is naturally rapping the recipe) to bake her the cake. When he finally gets some alone time with Sunny, the overwhelming urge to go to the bathroom strikes (we’ve all been there), but oh no! He must defeat his masters to get to the front of the queue. What a strange rule, right? I mean, I wouldn’t want to be freestyling while I need to pee, but maybe that’s just me. Finally, Parappa invites Sunny to Club Fun where he gets on the stage and raps his true feelings for Sunny in the form of a great solo. Who said plotlines had to make sense, eh?

The mechanics of the game were simple enough to follow. During certain lines of the raps, you input a combination of buttons in time with the beat to increase your score and ranking. The rankings were determined as a “U Rappin” meter and had 4 levels: Awful, Bad, Good and Cool. In order to achieve the Cool ranking, the player must first have completed the level previously, then freestyle a lot of the raps. This could lead to some interesting rap skills, although a lot of the time, my “freestyling” made very little sense.
Super cool facts about our beloved Parappa:

  • Parappa the Rapper was featured on an episode of Gamesmasters. A team of 2 people were given an extra-large controller to beat the first level of the game
  • Robot Chicken did a sketch based upon Parappa the Rapper
  • Parappa the Rapper was given a spin-off title called Unjammer Lammy about a lamb who could play the guitar
  • Parappa has his own anime
  • “I gotta believe!”
Craziest group of people you’ll ever see…

I really enjoyed this game, probably even more so now than I did back then. The simple, yet unique graphic designs and quirky soundtrack makes for a definitely entertaining game. This title is definitely recommended for those of you who enjoy a bit of rhythm to your games. But be warned, even if you aren’t thoroughly gripped by this amazing game, the raps will almost certainly be stuck in your head for days to come.

Did you enjoy playing Parappa the Rapper as a kid? Maybe you still play it now! Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

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