From the training stage, when your reluctant hero is being instructed by a talking dog and playing guitar on a tennis racquet, you know this is going to be weird, and you know it's going to be awesome.
A port of the PS2 rhythm action title, it works very well on the PSP. The analogue stick is responsive and the face buttons never let you down. Prepare for some hand cramps, but it's not too bad at all. (I have big hands and it was fine!)
Each stage is a one on one fight against increasingly difficult and crazy opponents. The range of music is admirable, from techno rock to operatic goth metal and perhaps my favourite, the jazzy swamp blues of Mojo King Bee, a floating saxophonist in a bee costume.
The difficulty is just right - challenging but not frustrating. It's very addictive- that old school "just one more go" feeling is in full flow as your lunch break disappears to a perfect solo on "The Legendary Song". Very importantly, it feels fair - the on screen action and music are perfectly synced so there's no sense of being "robbed" - when you miss a big power chord, you know it was your fault. There's a quick restart available when you know you've messed up beyond repair. But it's often possible to mount a comeback and there's no need to keep repeating the start of the level to get it note perfect. It's highly satisfying when you just scrape through against a tough opponent in a glorious last stand of shredding!
There's also a goofy cartoony plot with loveable villains and plenty of comedic moments.
Gitaroo Man lives is a port of the cult PS2 rhythm game Gitaroo man Developed by Japanese based company Koei who are well known for the Dynasty Warriors series.
The puts you in the shoes of a small beret wearing boy named U-1 who has been given a musical instrument of great power known as the Gitaroo and transform in to his alter ego Gitaroo Man has to take down opponents who want to take over the world and are armed with there own music based weaponry
The game works by using the digital thumbstick to move a dot in between two blue lines which keeps the character in a position to take shots at the enemy during the middle
Gameplay wise the game is just boss battles with the occasional challenging solos. Each fight in done in three stages Charge, Battle, Finish
Charge: Building up your health bar by following on screen movements and button presses
Battle: Launch attacks by moving the digital thumbstick in between two lines whilst pressing the circle buttons. You also have to guard from enemy fire by pressing the buttons onscreen in a parappa the rappa style element
Finish: The enemy is on its last legs finish him off before the song finishes
The soundtrack is vast not in the way of numbers there is only 12 songs but is instead the way of the various genres that are represented. We have J pop, Trance, Funk and Castlevania inspired guitar masterpiece
The game has two dificulty settings the first playthrough will take approximately 2 hours which is quite short. The game despite being very short is still a very fun game and one of the most artistically creative games made within the last 10 years. Although still fun it lacks the sense of euphoria and visual astonishment that Rez had.
Gitaroo Man Lives is a virtually straight port of the excellent PS2 game Gitaroo Man, but what a port it is! Given how visually elaborate the game is, it has made a rather excellent transformation to the technically restricted PSP.
This is a very odd game. You play a young kid, U-1, who is attempting to get the girl, but soon enough finds out that he is one of the last of a race of Gitaroos, and must save his planet using a guitar that shoots laser beams before it is too late! Gripped? You should be! The gameplay consists of guiding icons on-screen to shoot your laser beam, while also avoiding attacks from enemies that manage to get close to you. It's not exactly a QTE, but it still allows you to see some technically amazing battle scenes.
Speaking of which, this is a fantastic looking game, presenting some insane battles in the background as you press the right buttons (although later on, you'll be concentrating so much on hitting the right buttons that you'll miss bits of them). Aurally, it's also important that the music is great, and it absolutely delivers; there's an eclectic mix of tunes, and they're all very catchy and well-written.
My main complaint with the game, and pretty much my only one, is that the game is REALLY short. There are 10 levels, and the game can be ploughed through in about 3 or 4 hours as a result, but it's so addictive and entertaining that you'll doubtless play through it several times.
This port may not add much, but it is a great game nevertheless, and if a broader audience gets to play it, then that's a great thing.
Gitaroo Man Lives! is a PSP port of the original PS2 game that has risen to cult status over the years. It tells the story of a boy named U-1 (a strange name, but he is never called anything otherwise), who has bully trouble. There is a girl he has a crush on named Pico, who never gives him the time of day because the bully always puts U-1 down. U-1 realizes that this is pathetic, but is too spineless to appear anything but to Pico. One day, U-1 realizes that his dog Puma can talk, and is in fact an alien that had been sent from the heavens in order to hand down the mysterious Gitaroo to him so he could combat monsters who are about to strike the town where he lives. The Gitaroo magically transforms U-1 into Gitaroo Man, a superhero who is revered for his skills that can vanquish any monster.
Gitaroo man Lives! is a rhythm game. You use the PSP's analog stick to point in the direction of a "trace line" and then when a circle button appears, you will press and hold until the end of the phrase. This all is to be performed along to music tracks, and it actually becomes very challenging. It's one of the most unique presentations I've seen in a music game, and I have played my fair share. It's one of my favorite genres of games.
For the PSP the graphics are especially crisp and colorful. It's a huge improvement over the PS2 version, mostly because the PSP is a smaller screen so it is compressed more. The music is fantastic, but there are only 12 stages total, so the actual game is not very long. This is a shame, because the gameplay is so smooth and intuitive that I think many games should be made in a similar fashion. Just as it starts getting extremely good, the game ends and you're left wanting a whole lot more.
I would recommend buying this version over the PS2 version, because not only is it cheaper, but you get a few extras that were not present on the original. For instance, on subsequent playthroughs, you can play as characters like Pico and the dog Puma if you get sick of playing as U-1.
All in all, this is an awesome game to take on the go and to just wail on the guitar. It's simple to learn how to play, but very difficult to master. Check it out, it's a great addition to your PSP library.
I bought this after reading a review in a PS2 magazine, and it wasn't a choice I would have normally made, given the artwork and the general look of the game from the box art. But, don't let that put you off. This is a shining gem of a game.
This is basically a PSP port of the PS2 game of the same name (minus the "Lives") and it plays in the same general fashion. Point the analogue stick in the direction of the tune and hit the notes in time. There are a few extra tracks in the multiplayer, but if you have the PS2 version then don't feel any great need to rush out and buy this. That is, unless you want to play it on the move.
I must say, this game has one of the steepest learning curves I have ever come across in a game. I managed to get to the third level without dying before having some difficulty passing, even with the difficulty on the PSP-only 'easy'. Then I got to the fourth stage, which is an absolute block-fest and was stuck for several months, during which I just abandoned the game completely. Then I picked it up one night and just played through the game until the end. Perhaps listening to and learning the songs helped somewhat to this extent.
Yes, the songs, because Gitaroo Man is one of the weirdest games you've ever played. You have a magic guitar, and you must defeat people who have other magical instruments in order to become the legendary "Gitaroo Man" and save the Planet Gitaroo from it's enslavement at the hands of an evil tyrant. Named Zowie. This stuff is bananas I'm telling you.
In spite of the story, every song is brilliant. Because you face a different enemy with a different instrument at every stage, you never come across the same song type twice, and as such you're never bored of the songs, even when you fail multiple times. And you WILL fail multiple times, especially against the trio of mexican space skeletons who use themselves as xylophones (uhhh, yeah. Just accept it and move on).
Actually, on that note let me list some of the enemies you'll face, just so you can get an idea of how crazy this game is. You have the aforementioned skeletons, then the black man dressed in a bee suit, then the space shark that transforms into a giant robot, and then you have the UFOs that have keyboards. I wanted to show just how crazy the game is so I can emphasise how good the gameplay is to warrant the fact that YOU MUST PLAY THIS GAME. The soundtrack is incredible, I'm listening to it right now and there's something for everyone. The gameplay is simple and compelling, and the guitar (gitaroo?) riffs provide a much needed change to the "press a button when it says" gameplay of other Bemani games.
One of the things it does really well are the set pieces of the game. Not wanting to reveal too much about the (meagre) plot, but at one point you're called upon to play an epic (and I mean EPIC) piece of music to bring a friend round to your side in a tearful yet romantic rock ballad that sends shivers up your spine.
That said, I do have some criticisms. There are only ten stages in the storyline, and that means eleven songs in total. It has tons of replayability, especially when you try to win on the Master difficulty, but it's simply not enough songs. I understand quality over quantity, but they could have thrown a few more in for the port that you didn't need a friend to play.
The analogue stick on the PSP isn't really good for this game. As it's so low down, you can't get a proper grip on it, and during long segments you can find your thumb slipping off it, prompting a panicky moment inbetween notes where you try to get your thumb back into a good position.
Another problem that you can run into if you're like me and listen to the soundtrack is that you can try to play notes that aren't there. The gameplay isn't perfectly synced to the music, especially at the lower levels of difficulty, and as such you can end up hitting notes too early, or end a note prematurely because you thought another one was coming. However, this becomes less of a problem when they start introducing bits of song not present in the OST versions, which happens fairly often.
I would give it five stars, but it's just too damn short. Oh and don't bother with the multiplayer unless you've got someone with you. There's never aybody online.
It is worth it, mainly because you'll probably never play anything else quite like it.