PaRappa the Rapper

parappa the rapper playstation box art
8.0 Overall Score
Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 9/10
Controls: 8/10

Addictive, memorable


Game Info

Game Name:  PaRappa the Rapper

Developer(s):  NanaOn-Sha

Publisher(s):  Sony Computer Entertainment

Platform(s):  PS/PSP/PS2/PS4

Genre(s):  Retro/Music

Release Date(s):  December 6, 1996 (Japan)/November 17, 1997 (US)

ESRB Rating:  K-A

parappa the rapper master onion hd remastered

Kick, punch, it’s all in your mind!

Kick! Punch! It’s all in the mind!  PaRappa dreams of being a rap-star and winning the heart of Sunny Funny.  Being a professional rapper doesn’t come easy, and PaRappa has a nemesis in Joe Chin who is challenging him for Sunny Funny’s affection.  PaRappa must hone his skill through training at the Fruites Dojo with Chop Chop Master Onion, learning to drive with Instructor Mooselini, dealing at the flea market with Prince Fleaswallower, baking a cake with Cheap Cheap, or simply waiting in line for the bathroom…only then can he take on MC King Kong Mushi to prove himself and win Sunny Funny’s heart!

parappa the rapper cooking rap hd

I’m a chicken, got it? You beef jerky!

PaRappa the Rapper was music rhythm game originally released for the PlayStation.  The game received positive reviews and gained a cult following.

The first time I saw PaRappa the Rapper was in a store in London in 1997 where it was stuck on a loop on the driving lesson level…it was maddening.  Later returning to the United States, a friend had picked up the game, and a group of us obsessed about it.  Once you play PaRappa the Rapper, you will never get it out of your mind.

parappa the rapper driving lesson hd remastered

Do you know why I stopped the car?

The game was pretty innovative.  The quick-timed events style gaming was rather new (pre-Guitar Hero) and this gave the game an entirely different feel.  The controls however started to get questionable when you went into freestyle rapping.  This was your own spin on the raps timed with the music which could boost your score.  Other times you think you nail the button matches, but you practically send Parappa into convulsions…which essentially transfer back to the angry player.

What sells PaRappa the Rapper is the sheer oddity of the game.  The story and cutscenes are just bizarre.  You’re a rapping dog trying to impress a flower, and there are also humanoid characters…all rendered in a strange South Park-esque animation (pre-South Park).  It is a game which actually has you rapping about diarrhea (giving the Fleaswallower’s funky flow a whole other meaning).  It has to dipping into technicolor fantasy sequences as you pound the buttons to win.

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You gotta believe!

The odd story combines with extremely catchy songs.  The music is alone worth tuning in for PaRappa (or at least watching it online).  The songs are clever and just like the animation really out there.  If you ever encounter anyone who plays PaRappa, everyone has a favorite (I’d probably say the cooking one is mine).

The only thing that really hurts PaRappa is that with the style of the game, you can only play it for so long.  A real playthrough of the game takes less than forty minutes…but even then the little songs will nest in your mind and fester (now for decades).  The game’s popularity has led it to be released on PSP, PS2, and PS4 for its twentieth anniversary.  PaRappa the Rappa was followed by Um Jammer Lammy for the PlayStation in 1999 and PaRappa the Rapper 2 on PS2 in 2001…just remember, you gotta believe!

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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