Don't believe the hype.
What up, yo! It's your boy B. Gizzle in the hizzle! Just the other day me and my homies were layin' back in the cut, talkin' bout how the rap game ain't gettin no love from the peeps up in the video game joint. I mean, Def Jam was tite and all, but how's a playa gonna work on his rhymes when all he got to spit is some Michael Jackson and Bette Midler? Why can't they get some Snoop or Dre up in this b####? Fo reals, it's all a conspiracy by some haters to keep us down, yo.
If you were actually able to understand all of that, there's at least a slight chance you'll be interested in the new "rapaoke" game from Eidos,Get On Da Mic. That's right - rapaoke. Finally, hip-hop gamers can live out their dreams of rhyming along to their favorite beats and being judged for it. Unfortunately, what sounds marginally good on paper is a nightmare of a game, and despite its impressive musical lineup, should just be booed off stage.
It's odd that a music game with so many hits behind it can fall so flat. The All-Star cast includes the likes of Biggie, Dre, Snoop and Tupac, as well as other hits like 'Ruff Ryder's Anthem' from DMX and even Digital Underground's 'Humpty Dance' for the hip-hop clowns. Think that's all? Get On Da Mic brings even more game with old-school classics like Salt N Pepa's 'Push It' and 'Rapper's Delight' from The Sugarhill Gang. All that's missing is a killer track from the fast rappin' Busta Rhymes or Twista for a a real challenge. The hip-hop crowd has never seen a musical cast of this caliber assembled in one place outside of one of those cheesy compilation infomercials.
But as soon as you start to actually play the game, things fall apart faster than a Pimp My Ride reject. The single-player game has a couple of uninteresting modes including Exhibition, Practice and Freestyle. Career mode is where you'll find the meat of the game as you take one of six rappers from the bathroom to the big time. As you progress, you'll earn cash for cars, clothes and cribs, though none of it has any real impact on the game. Apparently, it's still all about the bling.
In true karaoke fashion, the awesome track list is butchered by horrific background vocals. I'm amazed that they spent the money to get the licenses for these songs, yet skimped on getting the actual artists that made them hits. Here, all you'll find are American Idol rejects rappin' behind you.
There also seems to be some confusion about which lyrics to rap. Some songs want you to include every little "yeah!" and "okay!" Lil' Jon style, while others make you listen to the wannabe spit out the entire hook. There's just no rhyme or reason to it. And to add even more confusion, you'll need to rap censored curse words. The radio cuts were used for the majority of the tracks to keep the game 'Teen' rated, but you've still got plenty of words like "n####" and "b####" to look forward to. What the f###?
The drugged out lyric bar doesn't help things, either. Maybe it's just the nature of the rap game, but if you don't already know the lyrics, there's no way you'll be able to keep up with a bar that is flying through words one second and crawling along the next. Even if you do know the track, the timing isn't always exactly the same as the original mix, making for a whole new way of rappin' that song.
But by far the biggest wrench thrown into this game is the fact that it doesn't even work. Since raps aren't "sung" the same way traditional songs are, pitch doesn't come into play at all. That means that as long as you make some sort of noise at the appropriate time, you'll do fine. I was able to stumble through entire songs and even nab top scores by making random barnyard noises. Can I get a quack quack? Sometimes, even silence will garner big points. Or maybe that's just the game's way of telling you to be quiet. Whoever built this thing needs to lay off the pipe.
A few multiplayer modes are included as well, but considering how broken the game is, you won't be able to talk anyone else into playing without a pretty good assortment of forties as incentive. Eyetoy owners can hook up their camera and watch themselves rap, but they can also just stand in front of a mirror.
And that's probably a better idea than looking at Get On Da Mic's lousy graphics. Stupid-looking digital thugs represent you while you rap, but the bad lip synching and failure to move on the beat makes it worse than a Milli Vanilli concert (or for you youngsters, Ashlee Simpson. That acid reflux disease is a real motherf#####.)
While it's nice to see the rap game represented, it's terrible to see it happen like this. Get On Da Mic sets the stage for success with an awesome track list, but fails miserably with its totally weak skills. Please, put down the mic.