This week should be an interesting one for the blog. Playing through Beyond (its magnificent) and Dragons Crown on Vita (pummelling orcs while ogling huge bouncy boobs is FUN) which I'm looking to drop reviews for later in the week. Ive spent Saturday & Sunday playing Beyond, going to give it a break tonight though, so that one will more than likely be up on Friday. A Dragons Crown review will follow on Sunday more than likely so I can give it some extra time. These 2 reviews will be posted here, which is a first! I tend to publish on PushSquare but they already have those 2 games reviewed there. I only publish obscure titles on PushSquare that haven't had a review, plus the staff seem to enjoy being reminded of the forgotten niche games we cover. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Its only Monday! So today I'm gonna have a look an old favourite of mine - Gitaroo Man/Gitaroo Man Lives
The player character
is U-1, a young boy who is frequently ridiculed by classmates and
passed over by Little Pico, the girl of his dreams. The story proper
begins when Puma, a dog with the ability to speak, teaches U-1 to play
the guitar, simultaneously teaching the controls of the game to the
player, and subsequently revealing to him that he is the last legendary
hero of Planet Gitaroo, and the possessor of the Last Gitaroo. When they
are then attacked, Puma transforms into Puma AC-30 and gives U-1 the
Gitaroo, transforming him into Gitaroo Man.
A Gitaroo Man port was released for Sony's PSP console. Gitaroo Man Lives! (ギタルマン ライブ！ Gitaroo Man Live!)
is a direct port of the PS2 game, but with two new songs that can be
played in 'Duet' mode, a newly introduced cooperative mode. The songs
are 'Metal Header', a rap/rock track, and 'Toda Pasión', a fast-paced
samba number. The game features Wi-Fi multiplayer and the ability to
choose easy or normal difficulty settings.
As with most games that make there way here from the east, Gitaroo Man has a style that sets it apart from most. The graphics are sharp and colourful with simple lines, characters with massive heads, ridiculously over exaggerated epically
strange boss creations, and all of it translated quite nicely to a 3D engine without losing any of its creativity. The game does still impress on the odd occasion with its cool looking SFX and super smooth framerate keeping things ticking over nicely. The real standout for me though is the soundtrack. It has a huge amount of variety on show from metal to electronica to funk,ensuring there's a little something for everyone. Gitaroo man's feedback heavy guitar work still somehow manages to sound like it belongs on every track, regardless of it genre. If the typical eastern flavoured stylish presentation has never appealed to you though, this wont be changing your mind I don't think. An extra nod should go to Koei for their superb localisation job on this. The voiceovers are a treat and fit the game perfectly.
The PsP version looks and sounds almost identical, with the only differences being that the game obviously runs at a lower resolution and has detail pared back somewhat. Holds up to the Ps2 version fairly well though.
I was fortunate enough to re-visit the game lately on PsP. While the Ps2 version is still somewhat elusive at times, the PsP port is fairly easy to get your hands on. The Gitaroo Man game was possibly the best rhythm game I had played up until Project Diva came along and turned my head. The gameplay is slightly unique within the genre and its style is still good to look at so anyone interested in the genre would be wise to seek it out and have a blast if you still haven't. Worth a try? Sure. But if you've no interest in rhythm games then you'll no doubt still avoid this.
*Ive had to use PsP screenshots due to them being easier to find good quality ones of, so resolution is penned at the PsP's resolution of 480x272, Sorry!*