Ever dreamt of saving the universe by playing a guitar? Ever thought it would be cool to have your dog talk? Well in Koei’s Gitaroo Man, you can experience from the safety of your own home. That’s right! Just pop the disk into your Playstation 2, sit back and relax as you’re driven through one of the most interesting adventures to make it to the music genre.
You play U-1, a helpless, lonely boy that only wants the girl of his dreams to notice him. Zowie, an alien, wishes for nothing but to obtain the object known as the Gitaroo from the innocent U-1 to conquer the universe. Thus begins the journey.
Encountering a little devil and a guy dressed in a bee suit is just the tip of the iceberg of unique characters attempting to steal the beloved Gitaroo. U-1 is guided through these events by none other than his
talking dog, Puma and plays his Gitaroo, with the help of his three friends that serve as his back up band. Together, they ward off the band of aliens controlled by Zowie himself. Follow U-1 as he travels through space and on unknown planets all to save the universe and prove to his dream girl that he’s not the lame kid he’s always appeared to be. Will the universe be saved? Will the girl U-1 loves love him back? That’s for you to find out.
The games battles involve three parts, charge, battle and final. Charge, as it sounds, is used to boost U-1’s life/power force so that he may survive through a battle. The battle phase includes attacking which consists of following the trace line with the left analog stick and pushing the circle button on attack points. Defense involves using the indicated shape buttons to block. Lastly, there’s the final phase which is nothing but attacks against the opponent. As simple as that may sound, the game is anything but. Gitaroo Man quickly escalates into the challenge that drives the need of having to play more.
The first level is just easy enough that it, along with level two, provides a great battle to practice and hone your skills for later battles. The trace line and defense nodes move faster and there are a lot more of them as you move on, leaving barely any room for the blink of an eye.
Not only missing defense guards, but also missing attack points lowers U-1’s life gauge which provides even more of a challenge with the fast moving trace lines. However as difficult as this sounds, don’t worry, you get used to it. Even if frustration gets a hold of you first, there’s a glitch in the game that allows you to skip phases and even complete levels.
Another challenge comes in the way of distractions from events in the background. Cartoon-y in all its glory, Gitaroo Man looks spectacular when it comes to the graphics. Anime styled bright and vivid colors show exactly what’s going on in all areas of the level. Simple yet spectacular is the best way to summarize the quality of the visuals for this game.
Even more astounding than the graphics is the soundtrack that makes this game so good. U-1 is truly tested with different styles of guitar play. From rock to jazz to reggae, every musical genre is covered. Even if you don’t like a genre, the music is so great that the songs just seem to lose their genre titles, leaving every one satisfied. Which is a good thing. The scores from this game will stay in your head for days but you won’t mind because it’ll all just feed your addiction. The addiction to the music of this game will stay with you, leaving you wanting even more Koei-made musical goodness.
Another great aspect of the audio department reveals itself in the multi-player mode which allows up to four players at once. The greatest thing about multi-player is each note of the songs is played by a different player.
Everyone should be rewarded when they’ve finished a game and Koei’s gift to you is an even more challenging level. In Master Mode the challenge is pushed up a notch or two or three, especially in the case of the Sanbone Trio. But remember, practice makes perfect… almost.
Great audio, visuals and story line for under ten dollars is a good deal. The only thing that may offset your liking for this game is the strange lighting or colors that make the attack and defense points almost disappear. Certain effects from the background action may obscure the indicators for pushing buttons which only strengthens the frustration. The difficulty level is raised quickly as you progress through the game, sometimes to the point of annoyance. Some levels you may spend days on while others could only take a few minutes.
Koei’s fresh burst of creativity is a relief from the other music games that just don’t quite cut it. The developers of the game earn major brownie points for the game being off-the-wall, crazy fun from a story that’s so far fetched that it’s hilarious just in itself. The style of everything especially game play is entirely fresh especially with all of the attributes being put together in one game.
With an interesting game play and wonderful everything, this game is worth picking up although the search may be just a little difficult. But do not worry! The search will be well worth it and you’ll be playing one of the most interesting music genre games for the Playstation 2.