Saturday, June 4, 2011
Gitaroo Man - Go from beta as **** to an actual GUITAR HERO!
When people think of Music video games, usually the first thing that comes into their minds is either "Guitar Hero" or "Rockband". Of course, that's not really the case for a guy like me, I only think of the true guitar hero: Gitaroo Man. For anyone who played this game, they will agree that it's an overlooked instant-classic with an amazing original soundtrack, unique personality, and a heart-warming story that will still move you to this very day.
Released in the U.S by Koei in 2002, this game has quite a devoted following. It tells the story of a kid named "U-1", a dorky kid who has incredibly low self-esteem and confidence issues. He has his eye on a girl named Pico but ends up being cock-blocked every time by the popular rich kid Kazuya who is not only rich and popular, but a gifted skateboarder and straight A student as well. U-1 just can't compete with that! His only friend in the world is a talking dog named Puma who teaches him to play guitar by strumming on a tennis racket. It turns out though, that Puma was really prepping him for combat training as a little devil named Panpeus appears in his room demanding the gitaroo that U-1 had no idea that he owns. Puma then transforms in a robot and throws a futuristic looking guitar at U-1 which transforms him into Gitaroo Man who immediately engages Panpeus in an amazing battle of dueling instruments to the death! Turns out that Panpeus is just an angent of an evil emperor who goes by the name of Zoey who is out to capture all 8 gitaroos and rule the universe with it, so it's up to U-1 and Puma to gather all the gitaroos, free his people, and defeat Zoey once and for all. It's all a crazy plot, but it definitely adds a lot of color to this game.
Unlike Guitar Hero or Rockband, this game does not use a plastic guitar controller. It's style of gameplay is completely different as you rely mainly on positioning of your control stick and well-timed button presses as the game tells you what to do. Each song in this game is a battle between Gitaroo and a evil Gravillian agent that starts with a "charge" phase where Gitaroo Man must play to the best of his ability to obtain the optimal amount of health for the fight. The "Attack" phase has Gitaroo Man on the offensive dealing damage to his opponent. The "Guard" phase puts Gitaroo Man on the defensive where he must dodge all incoming instrumental attacks and any missed step will result in damage. If Gitaroo Man survives the duration of the song, he goes into the "End" phase which is a rather lengthy guitar solo that will defeat his opponent for victory. And with each victory you give a Japanese woman an orgasm as she says "You wiiiiin!" in the most inappropriately sexy way possible.
So, let's talk about the music itself. Simply put: I think it's one of the greatest video game soundtracks out there. There's something to like for everyone here. You fight a synth-board-using flying robot in a J-Pop song, you fight a trumpet playing guy in a bee-suit in a funky jazz song, you serenade a girl with an acoustic guitar, you fight skeletons with Spanish guitar, a shark with turn-table pectorals in reggae, and almost anything a guitar is used in is well represented in this game. The graphics might not suit everyone, but there is plenty going on in the background but you can't pay attention to ANY of it unless you want to lose.
Length-wise you can beat this game in 2 hours, maybe less, but that's only if you're REALLY good. You're going to end up repeating songs over and over because the later stages get really crazy. And even if you do manage to clear it, there's "Master's Play" which makes all the songs even harder and mixes up the songs a bit! Originally, this game was pretty rare because of it's limited print, but it got a reprint in 2006 due to the crazy fan-following it got. So this game should be pretty easy to find if you know where to look. I got the game before the reprint, showed all my friends the game and they went crazy for it. One of them even went as far to spent over twice as much as I did just to get his own copy of the game and he still think it was worth it (and it is.). The game was even re-released on PSP as "Gitaroo Man Lives!" featuring a co-op mode and 2 new songs! If you want a truly unique music game and you're sick of Guitar Hero then you need to check this out.