Shouldn’t toot your own horn.
For a game that came out on the original Playstation to little fanfare, this DS port is… just about the same. In every way.
[image1]Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure is about a young girl named Cornet who dreams of falling in love – in the real world – with the prince of her dreams, moving into the castle, probably to have bunches of baby princes for other little girls to drool over… and bring the story full circle. Along the way she’s accompanied by companion puppets. Yup, from the “huggibly insane” to the creepy "what the hell!” kind, talking puppets follow her on her Disney-esque journey. And then, after you find the prince and make your move… well, I don’t want to ruin anything, but let’s say it “really” starts to get kinda weird.
Which again, I can’t stress enough, is fairly creepy.
This RPG is really a beginner’s game, with just enough easy traits to get a newbie ahead and enough problems to drive an experienced player crazy. The first is the absolute beginner’s difficulty for each and every battle, and since the battle rate is so high, it’s easy to level up which makes the enemies that much weaker in comparison and makes out-and-out grinding simply unnecessary. Every battle is almost exactly the same every time, and if for some reason it isn’t, items are plentiful and replenish both health and magic at low, low prices. And since there are never more than four enemies on screen at any given time, once you find two friends to join your party, you don’t have to worry much about any fight.
[image2]The second trait is the frustrating one: early sections of story are not only cliché and boring, but lack any kind of obvious direction. Talking to everyone in town – multiple times – is the only way to progress enough into the story to find… well, more story. And even if you do find the trigger to advance the story, it’s not always very clear where you’re supposed to go next to get the next trigger.
Except for the bit of child abuse a few hours in which might be a sour note for some, this game can really be played by anyone. It’s easy to pick up and figure out how to get around. The themes are pretty universal, although the accompanying dialogue is bland and stereotypical of a writer trying to be witty (and failing miserably). Games like this make me cry for the DS, because it does nothing with the touchscreen. The screen is relegated to moving through menus, and while the action is happening on the bottom screen the top screen isn’t used for anything at all… just showing a static picture that I guess represents where your character actually is at any given time. Talk about not using the hardware at all.
[image3]On the technical side, the graphics are pretty sprites that are animated well, though they do look like they could be done on a SNES. The music – the reason for the game’s title – is actually pretty standard fare. Most of it doesn’t stand out on its own at all, except for the short sections where the main character sings… which is the biggest blemish in this game. The player controls very little of the music at all, and during story points that involve music, the player is just a bystander as the songs are performed. And about those songs, they’re vocal tracks performed over midi pieces, so they sound tinny and thin, even for the DS, sounding very… bahh, who needs the technical terms? The songs suck. Blatantly.
Rhapsody has the potential to bring new players into the genre, I have to give it that much credit. Unfortunately, those same people that would be interested in it will also have problems sticking with it all the way through. It’s a whole lot of “blah” in a tiny piece of plastic. Nothing in this game really encourages you to play because of how boring everything is. If you find a way to get through, especially without a walkthrough, more power to you… but I think this one-hit “wonder” is just a crappy cover of other, better RPGs on this system.