Hands-on: PaRappa the Rapper 2

We go hands-on with Sony's new PaRappa the Rapper 2 demo.

The rhyme-spitting puppy is back on the set in a one-level demo, which is currently available at selected Japanese McDonald's locations. We grabbed a few Big Macs and sat down with a copy of the demo to bring you these hands-on impressions.

Sony and McDonald's have teamed up to release the Happy Disc, a PlayStation 2 demo that contains one-level versions of Ape Escape 2001 and PaRappa the Rapper 2. Ape Escape is already on Japanese shelves, but PaRappa 2 isn't scheduled for release until August 30, so this is the first time we've seen the game in action.

The demo level takes place in a McDonald's, with PaRappa and a burger-flipping ghost trading rhymes about cutting lettuce, toasting buns, and the wonderful world of condiments, among other things. At first glance, the game is identical to the original PaRappa, save the smoother graphics. First, the rapping ghost busts a rhyme--then it's on you to repeat his line by pressing specific buttons in rhythm with the beat. If you're off beat, the song will drop down from good to bad and then down to awful. If you start doing poorly, however, a few properly timed rhymes will bring you back up to good in a hurry. Also like in the original game, you can "freestyle" by hitting more buttons than you're supposed to. If you're good with freestyling, you can move from good up to cool, which removes the Simon-like elements of the game and lets you simply flow on your own.

What is different about PaRappa 2 is that it will actually change slightly from session to session. The teacher's cadence will be different from game to game, so something simple like "cut the lettuce" may be "cut-cut-cut the lettuce" or "cut the lettuce, cut-cut the lettuce" next time around.

Graphically, the game looks significantly better than the original, but with the blocky nature of most of the level's models, we couldn't help feeling that the PlayStation 2 was capable of more. Perhaps that is just a side effect of this demo being thrown together to add the McDonald's logo all over the place.

All things considered, the Happy Disc made us even more anxious to play the final version of PaRappa 2.Additionally, we found ourselves craving burgers and fries. Sony's US branch hasn't announced any official plans to bring PaRappa 2 to North America.

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Jeff

Jeff Gerstmann

Jeff Gerstmann has been professionally covering the video game industry since 1994.
PaRappa the Rapper 2

PaRappa the Rapper 2

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