PaRappa the Rapper is a rhythm video game created by Rodney Greenblat, Masaya Matsuura and his company, NanaOn-Sha, in 1996. The game is named after a beanie-wearing dog in the game, PaRappa, with his motto "I gotta believe!", rapping his way to win the heart of his crush, Sunny Funny, a flower. A PSP port of the original game was released in Japan in December 2006 in North America and Europe in July 2007.
While the gameplay is not challenging for experienced gamers, the game is remembered for its unique graphic design of 2D characters and 3D objects, its quirky soundtrack and its bizarre plot. Despite being made in Japan, all of the game's songs and dialogue are spoken in English in all versions. The game is named after the main character.
Gameplay[change | change source]
PaRappa the Rapper is a music game in which the main character, PaRappa, must make his way through each of the game's six stages by rapping. On each stage, the game alternates with the rapping teacher to PaRappa. There is a U 'RAPPING meter in the bottom right corner, which will show the player's performance with four levels, from top to bottom: "Cool", "Good", "Bad", and "Awful". The game works by a pattern of buttons (Triangle, Circle, Square, X, L, and R) PaRappa will have to copy. The teacher will set down a pattern and PaRappa will have to copy it. Players will stay on the "Good" ranking when staying to the beat. If he messes up two times in a row, he goes down a level. On the other hand, if he gets a pattern right, he moves up a level, with Good at the maximum. The player must clear the level on Good or Cool. If he clears it on Bad or Awful, or the meter goes below Awful during the game, he will have to try the level again. However, if the meter gets to Cool, the teacher will leave and PaRappa will be able to free-style. This is achieved by freestyling in a manner different to the predetermined lyric. If all of the levels are cleared with the meter on Cool, a bonus level, "K.T and the Sunny Funny Band", will be unlocked. However, the player must complete the game at least once before "Cool" can be reached.
Plot[change | change source]
The player takes on the role of Parappa, a paper-thin rapping dog, who is trying to win the heart of a flower-like girl named Sunny Funny. However, he is intimidated by the presence of Andrea grelli, a rich, narcissistic dog who goes overboard with his attempts to impress Sunny.
The game starts with a movie, "Jet Baby", being watched by the four main characters, PaRappa, Sunny, Katy Kat (a blue cat), and P.J Berri (a bear). When it's finished, they go to Chunky Burger, a restaurant. Somewhere after that, two bullies come up and pick on them, but they are stopped by Andrea grelli. However, he ends up chatting about his adventures, which take too long, and Sunny, P.J, and Katy leave. PaRappa thinks he should be a hero to impress Sunny, and decides to drop off at a kung-fu dojo, learning to fight with help from an onion, Chop Chop Master Onion. After that, they are at a plaza. PaRappa asks they should go down to a beach, but the others note they need a license and a car to do that. Andrea grelli, once again, arrives and shows them his new car, the Super Stretched Limo 900. They all like it, until Andrea grelli thinks Katy and Sunny should be with him at the front, and PaRappa and PJ all the way at the back. Both are far from amused. PaRappa then thinks if he had a car and license, he could take Sunny anywhere, and decides to drop off at a driver's education course to get his license, with help from a moose, Instructor Mooselini. After he gets his license, he still needs a car, and borrow's his dad's. He invites the others on. "You know, this is really a lot of fun. Wouldn't it be nice if we could so somewhere far far away?" Sunny's words echo in PaRappa's mind, and he doesn't pay attention to driving and instead thinks of him and Sunny on a date, but when their car crashes into a truck, and breaks into pieces, PaRappa has to go to a flea market owned by a frog, Prince Fleaswallow, to earn money to fix his car. Then, the day before Sunny's birthday arrives and PaRappa is assigned the job of getting a cake. However, he is knocked into the cake he spends his money on by Andrea grelli, who plans to win over PaRappa with his tall 42 story high cake. Since he is almost out of money, he needs to make a cake himself, following instructions from a cooking show by a chicken, Cheap Cheap Chicken. The day comes, and his cake is a success. Katy gets an idea to leave PaRappa and Sunny alone, so she and PJ leave. Later, they watch the sunset together. Unfortunately, this goes wrong when PaRappa has a sudden urge to use the bathroom after eating most of the cake later that day. Sunny, on the other hand however, confuses him for "looking real manly today" instead of needing to go to the backroom. They decide to go home, but PaRappa, of course, stops at the restroom and sees his previous mentors, having to out-rap all of them to reach the only toilet in the restroom. Then, one night, he is invited to Club Fun, and asks Sunny to go with him, to which she agrees. After they arrive, PaRappa gets on stage with a spider, MC King Kong Mushi, then raps solo at the end of the song to express his true feelings for Sunny. Then the game ends when they all decide to see another movie.
Development[change | change source]
The characters are 2D to preserve Rodney's unique style of artwork, who designed all of the characters. He was asked to help design the game from an interview by Masaya. Like in the Paper Mario series by Nintendo, all of the characters appear to be flat, two dimensional beings cut from paper while the surroundings are primarily three dimensional. The setting is a bright urban city; with its inhabitants ranging from animals (chickens, dogs, frogs, and cats), inanimate objects (onions, flowers, hammers), and some humans.
Reception[change | change source]
The game spawned a merchandising campaign in Japan, a spinoff in 1999, an anime series in 2001, and a direct sequel for the PlayStation 2 in 2002. PaRappa is a playable character in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. There is another similar game by Masaya, Vib Ribbon.