Stuck babysitting pesky kids? Stuck on a remote island? Stuck finding a model for your master painting? Stuck with a Nintendo DS with a perfectly working touch screen that you do not know how break?
What do you do?
If Nintendo could do anything about it, a group of Men in Black- esque Elite Beat Agents will show up at your door step and blast these troubles away by… Dancing. (Think Will Smite/Tommy Lee Jones…. in manga… with their dancing shoes on)
Yup, you read right… dancing. Utilizing some of the coolest dance moves this side of Michael Jackson (Wave hands in the air together, anybody?), the Agents will groove you outta your troubles.
The gameplay itself is easy to learn. Tapping away at rapidly shrinking rings in time with the music while the main story unfolds on the top screen, Elite Beat Agents shows one of the most innovative use of the NDS unique touch screen/dual screen layout.
Learning the game is one thing, mastering it is a whole new monster all together. If you are like me, you’ll probably spend hours on end, playing the same songs over and over again just to get the super elusive “A” or “S” rank, and at some of the later stages just trying to clear the stage to unlock the next ones.
Repeated playback of the same song can cause some serious mental issues if one is not careful, like say in the event that said song is of the Macerana or My Heart Will Go On variety. Trust me, listening to the same song for an hour (at least) is not very uncommon once you start getting into the game.
And getting into the game is easy simply because it’s a game that is very hard not to like, if it makes any sense at all. It is chockful of some of the most bizarre characters and oddball situations in any game I’ve played so far, and that is saying a lot.
The title has a certain bit of… for lack of a better word, magic to it. Unless you’re lacking the humour gene in your DNA, you’ll laugh at and laugh along with the game as you search for pirate treasure to the Village People’s YMCA, hang out with socialites on a deserted island to the tune of Madonna’s Material Girl, and (of course) saving the world from evil planet conquering aliens (Aliens that conquer planets, not malevolent lands that occupy aliens). The storylines are so cheesy and over the top that you really have to applaud the evil geniuses that came up with them.
The rhythm of the story telling is something to enjoy too. The songs get progressively faster, and hence harder, but a master touch was the inclusion of Chicago’s You’re the inspiration midway through the game breaks the rhythm, not in a bad way. In fact, it was one of my favourite songs to play in the game. Of course, the fact that the rhythm is slower and hence easier to tap along helps too.
The playlist are all covers, of course. But they are a mish mash of old favourites and relatively recent top 40s. You will play songs from Jamiroquai to Village People. From Cher to Madonna to Avril Lavinge. Great stuff.
All in all, it’s a fantastic overall package and one of the best games on the Nintendo DS. Say what you want about Rock Band for the PSP, Elite Beat Agent is THE rhythm game for the handheld console.
Let’s see Rock Band Unplugged fans come up with a tribute video like this!