Rhapsody, A Musical Adventure

Posted by staff | Posted in Role Playing | Posted on 23-09-2010

5

  • Accessible battle system for first time RPG players
  • Dual screen NAV system for easy exploration through the world of Rhapsody
  • New hidden characters exclusive to the DS version
  • Musical mode allows gamers to replay all of the featured cinematics
  • Anime influenced graphics challenge the DS 2D capability to the max

Product Description
Enter the world of Rhapsody, where music and action combine to create a charming adventure! A beautiful remake of the PlayStation original, Rhapsody for Nintendo DS delivers stunning high‐resolution 2D sprites, novel music‐based RPG gameplay, and more features than ever before. It has never been easier to pick up and play, so dont miss out on this wonderful RPG symphony of fun!… More >>

Rhapsody, A Musical Adventure

Comments posted (5)

*This review is subject to updates as information in it changes*

Rhapsody was originally released for the PSX back in 2000, where slow sales made it a bit of a cult hit. I have no experience with that original version, but its fans indirectly helped me to make a decision to purchase the game, which first drew my attention when I saw it included in a column on Anime News Network.

Rhapsody tells the story of Cornet, a girl who has the ability to talk with puppets. She’s rendered smitten when the prince of her kingdom saves her from imminent doom. The antagonists, a witch and her cronies, come and kidnap said prince, and so Cornet and her troupe of puppets (some of whom you’ll recruit on the way) set out to save him.

First things first: This game is short: It took me fifteen hours on my first playthrough, and that’s with me getting confused on where to go next (the game isn’t always clear on this). Battles themselves are a turn-based affair, and not too terribly difficult. But you can send pancakes, candy, and flan of doom raining down on your foes, and what other RPG lets you do that?

Rhapsody does have a charming, endearing story (which strays away somewhat from “Save the prince” as the backstory of Cornet and her main puppet companion Kururu is explored in detail). There’s tons of funny moments as well as heartwarming ones, and is overall, a nice, lighthearted alternative to other RPG’s which take themselves too seriously.

The “Musical” aspect of the game has nothing to do with rhythm-based musical gameplay, but rather it refers to how the characters will occasionally break out into singing musical numbers throughout the game. In the PSX version, these songs were translated to English, but in the DS version, there are only Japanese vocals with English subtitles. That alone didn’t affect my enjoyment of the game, but it might affect others considering a purchase, so I’m just letting everyone know.

The graphics are cute and colorful, though hardly cutting edge. It was an enjoyable, if short, experience, and overall I was pleased. So, why not a higher score?

Technical issues. After one boss battle, then again before the final boss battle, the screens on my DS suddenly went black and the music stopped. Fortunately in my case, I could shut off the DS, restart from my save point, and continue as normally. But others have reported that their games won’t let them proceed past a certain point early in the game. Furthermore, the extra story scenarios don’t seem to be accessible through normal gameplay at the moment, and the developers haven’t offered a solution yet, though it has been confirmed by a member of the development team that the extra content was included in the game’s code. I will continue to monitor Nippon Ichi’s web site and forums and update this section of the review if necessary. If these technical flaws are addressed by the company, I will increase my rating of the game.

UPDATE: Apparently, the extra content was only intended to be in the Japanese release of the game, despite the fact that it was advertised on the US promotional site for Rhapsody prior to release (the mention of the extra scenarios was since removed from the US site). Thus my rating of three stars will remain in place unless Nippon Ichi decides to localize the added content (and compensate those who have already purchased the game). The fact that they promoted extra content (and this prompted numerous sales) and did not deliver them is false advertising, though it may not have been intentional false advertising.
Rating: 3 / 5

Pros:

+Not a bad looking game

+Songs aren’t so bad

+Music is pretty good

Cons:

-An easy game was made easier

-Forgettable story and characters

-Way too short

-No worthwhile extras

On the original Playstation, Rhapsody turned out to be a small cult classic, mostly because it was quite different from what we’ve seen. Nippon Ichi, the famed developers responsible for Disgaea, decided to release the game again the DS. On the original Playstation it wasn’t so bad, but it’s a good example of a game that can’t survive the test of time quite as well as other games.

Even in the past Rhapsody was not much for a story. It was a simplistic story that didn’t really have much character development. However, what made Rhapsody really stand out was the games musical numbers. They’re not kidding when they say it is a musical adventure. For the most part most of the songs are good but the entire story itself isn’t going to make an imprint in your mind.

Not much has been changed from its Playstation release, actually. Except for perhaps the game’s battle system. Where as the original had a sort of tactical RPG feel, this one goes for straight forward combat. The biggest complaint about the original game was that it was just too easy. For whatever reason, however, Nippon Ichi made what was already an easy game even easier. There’s also not much that’s really complex about it. Simplicity is rarely a bad thing, but for Rhapsody it is. It would be easy to forgie the difficulty if the story made you want to see what would happen next, but it doesn’t. Even worse is that Rhapsody was not much of a long game to begin with and there’s not a whole lot of new content to make it worthwhile even if you played the original game. In terms of gameplay, Rhapsody strikes out.

On the other hand, while it doesn’t do a whole lot in terms of gameplay, it does quite a bit in terms of visual presentation. Rhapsody opts for style over substance. Not much of the game is in 3D but many of the backgrounds are beautiful looking and colorful. The game also sounds magnificant. Most of the background music scores are really good and the songs don’t sound so bad either.

Even if you’ve never played the original, it’s hard to say Rhapsody is worth its current price tag. The game may have been a cult classic when it was released on the original Playstation, but it is also a game that hasn’t aged very well. It’s short, the story is forgettable, and the gameplay has been even more simplified than it already was. It’s not a bad looking or bad sounding game, however sounding good and being colorful can’t make up for its gameplay issues.
Rating: 2 / 5

I don’t tend to like games with a lot of fighting in them. THIS game is different. It is completely charming and the turn-based fighting system was very easy for a RPG beginner like me to understand and learn. And you get to fight with food: candy, flan, cake and pancakes.

The Story:

You play as a fairly average teenage girl named Cornet living in a magical kingdom called Marl. The only thing really special about her is that she has an unique horn that allows her talk with puppets (and have them fight for her). Like any teenage girl (or older ones for that matter), Cornet dreams of her prince coming to rescue her. Whaddya know, one day the Prince does come and saves her. However, this is where the plot twists. The prince actually ends up getting himself kidnapped so Cornet, in turn, has to rescue him. The main part of the game is basically Cornet rescuing the Prince.

The Fighting:

As I mentioned above, the fighting is all turn-based. There is no need for quick reflexes here. If you want to avoid a fight, all you need to do is hit the “Escape” option in combat mode. Most of the time I didn’t try it because you can’t escape from the boss fights and the other smaller fights allow you to level up. If you want to attack an enemy, you just choose “Attack” from the menu when it’s your turn and then select either a straight attack, a magical/special ability or an item to use.

Since I haven’t had much experience with RPGs I found it was an interesting learning experience. I found myself learning different strategies to beat the various enemies and learning how to use my party to their best advantage. It was kind of like a simple game of chess or checkers where you were trying to eliminate your opponents pieces in the shortest amount of moves. However, toward the end, I did end up getting a little bored of all the fighting but that wasn’t until I was almost completely done with the game.

In conclusion, I found this a really charming game with a cute story and main character. It was easy for a beginner for me to get into and now I’m more willing to try other RPGs. In general it did seem to be a fairly short game. I did finish it in about 28 hours though some of that time was spent fully exploring areas and also leveling up members of my party that I had encountered along the way.

Rating: 4 / 5

(This review is mostly about the DS Game.)

I finally got this game yesterday; let me say, I can’t put it down! I was a bit worried after hearing many negative things about the original game, but it looks like the DS has improved on many of these aspects (the odd battle system, bad translations, etc). You play a young girl, Cornet, who has the magical ability to talk to puppets. Her dream in life is to woo the Prince. Her best friend, a fairy puppet, aids her in her travels.

While the plot isn’t highly original; woo the prince, then run off to save him– there is enough to keep me satisfied, mainly in the humor department. (EG. Dancing with the prince in a teddy bear costume.) So, it’s a classic plot; save the royalty! But hey, that’s what has made some of the best titles, and this is no exception to that rule.

Great:

The graphics are very good, showing off some of the DS’s abilities.

The battle system is very fun; turn based play but it goes by quickly.

The humor. (“You have the most beautiful smile compared to those girls who don’t brush regularly.”) Not to mention the wacky twists to the battle system: you can attack with flan!

The original Japanese audio is here; there is no putting up with horribly rewritten songs or shrieking singers.

The translation is quite good, as far as I can tell. No major errors.

Good:

Plenty of areas to explore on the maps, with classic dungeon style gameplay & general map warping.

They made good use of the DS port, adding the menu & map screens to the top during exploration mode, where are diving the battle graphics and the status/menu during battles.

The Touch play during battles is very intuitive.

This game has wide range of characters to find and puzzles for you to solve.

Very fun minigames; I like playing music in the town squares.

Bad:

The touch play can be a little picky when moving in explorable areas. But it’s not so much as the stylus is hard, it’s that to talk to some people you have to be lined up perfectly. (I’ve noticed it’s a little easier to use the control pad.)

I’m not entirely sure if this game really is an E rated game. Some of the character’s clothing is very skimpy (Such as Majorly, one of the main villains).

I want to add that while I love this game, it also wasn’t quite what I expected when I got it. I thought “musical adventure” meant that you’d, say, do a command in battle and hear a particular song. The battle style is fairly typical; but the music comes from if Cornet plays her horn, and a puppet is in your party, she will get one note to power up on and then once you reach 5 or more, has a special attack available.

Differences:

I should also add that the battle system has been changed between the original and the DS Game, from what I can tell. In the original; it was a mix of turn based & tactical rpg, but in the new one, it is just turn based, similar to the later Marl Kingdom games (which, personally, I’m grateful for after hearing bad reviews on the way it handled the tactical/turn base mix in the original). Also in the original Kururu could not fight, but in the DS one she is able to.

I’m disappointed to hear that the extra scenarios were removed, but this is still a great game and worth the money, assuming you don’t mind one on the easier side.

Looking at the character portraits from the older game; I’d also say the DS ones are much better.
Rating: 4 / 5

I bought this game for my niece for Christmas to play on her new DS. She played with some other stuff for about a week or so, then put this game in. It hasn’t come out since, and that was about 3 weeks ago! My daughter, who is 8 (just like my niece), loves watching this game and wants it for herself now. I’ve played it a little (and watched a bunch) myself, and I have to say, this game is fantastic! What a great little turn based RPG, especially for kids. It has turn based battle (similar to Dragon Quest), but you fight with cake and stuff! It’s great. Good musical score, too.

I personally really like RPG style games, and how can you go wrong with one based on music and sweets? The learning curve also seems pretty gentle, so I can’t imagine any child NOT enjoying this one. And that goes for you adults, too!
Rating: 5 / 5

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