In recent years, music rhythm games have been growing in popularity with the help of games like PaRappa the Rapper for the PlayStation and Dance Dance Revolution in arcades, and they've gone from matching simple patterns with music to full-on party games. Eidos' upcoming PS2 and Xbox game Get on Da Mic will feature karaoke-style performances and even let you put on battle raps with your friends, if any.
We recently had a chance to get a close look at the PS2 version of Get on Da Mic, which, like the Xbox version of the game, will let you choose a character (the game will include about six playable characters at the start and let you unlock a few extras) from a specific area of the US--the West Coast, the East Coast, or the South. Once you've chosen a character, you can play through one of four main modes: a single-player career mode, a co-op mode, a party mode, or a competitive "freestyle" mode.
Career mode lets you choose one of the game's characters and go on tour, performing one of the game's 40 different rap songs at various venues throughout the country for money. Depending on how well you do, you'll be able to use this money to buy an expanded home, new cars, and extra clothing and jewelry that will appear on your characters when they perform. Party mode and co-op mode will, on the other hand, encourage players to perform rap songs together. In co-op, you'll actually pass the mic between two players to perform alternate lines of a song. The game's unusual freestyle mode will instead pit two players against each other with nothing but a beat. Whoever matches the best freestyle routine with the particular beat wins the round.
Though we were able to see only the PS2 version in action, both versions of Get on Da Mic will feature cartoonlike graphics with large characters wearing knit caps, "wife beaters," jean shorts, and high-tops as they perform on stage, along with frequent camera cuts to onstage dancers and a DJ spinning in the background. Like other dance and rhythm games, Get on Da Mic presents the music on two separate horizontal bars at the bottom of the screen--your current line of lyrics is displayed in white text, while your next line is grayed out. Matching lyrics will turn the words green, and missing them will turn the text red. Do well and you'll receive bonuses for lyric "combos," which will also earn you extra money in the career mode.
Though the game doesn't keep track of your exact pronunciation or inflection, you do need to deliver the lines at about the same time as the quietly overlaid lyrics piped in from the background (which should be helpful if you're unfamiliar with the songs). Fans of "old school" rap music from the early 1990s will be pleased to know that tracks like Sir Mix-A-Lot's "My Posse's on Broadway" and Digital Underground's "Humpty Dance" have made it into the game. Eidos will release additional details on the game's soundtrack soon.
There will be two versions of Get on Da Mic available for the PS2--one packaged with a USB microphone and one without. Both the PS2 and Xbox versions will feature 40 songs that will include old-school rap as well as "new school" tracks that Eidos will reveal in the near future. There are also plans to release additional songs for the Xbox version as downloadable content, though neither version of the game has online multiplayer support planned. If what we've seen is any indication, Get on Da Mic will offer a soundtrack packed full of classic hip-hop and even let you freestyle on your buddies. The PS2 version of the game is scheduled for release in October; the Xbox version of the game will be released at a later date. For now, you can take a look at these gameplay movies of the PS2 version in action.