Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call
Kicking off this Top 10, we have the celebration of the Final Fantasy soundtrack that is Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call. Containing an insane 221 songs as standard and over 100 playable characters, Theartrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call covers every game in the Final Fantasy series, yes even Mystic Quest.
Much like its predecessor, Curtain Call splits its gameplay into three separate modes called Field, Event and Battle Music Events. Whether you’re crossing the worlds of each game, battling iconic monsters from the series or tapping along with some of the series’ most iconic tracks, Theartrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call is guaranteed to keep any Final Fantasy fan hooked.
Better yet if 221 songs aren’t enough for you, Theatrhythm also had 100 extra songs as DLC as well as a bunch of DLC characters including the broken Cidolfus Orlandeau from Final Fantasy Tactics War of the Lion. That’s a ton of extra content for one title, and some of the extra songs are from other Square Enix games such as Bravely Default and Chrono Trigger.
Moving on we have a quirky PS1 title from NanaOn-Sha called Vib-Ribbon. Playing as the cute white vector line rabbit called Vibri, you have to guide her across a 2D line littered with 4 types of obstacles. To make things harder these obstacles can sometimes merge together to make things harder and if Vibri takes too many hits she’ll turn into a frog and then a worm. On the other hand, play well enough and Vibri will turn into an angel.
So far pretty standard fare, right? But, what makes Vib-Ribbon stand out is the fact that these obstacles correspond to the beat of the games music. The reason for this is because since Vib-Ribbon makes its obstacles based on the music, you can switch the CD in your PS1 to create new levels. This means that Vib-Ribbon has almost an unlimited amount of replay-ability. Something tells me this won’t be the last time I’ll be writing about NanaOn-Sha.
With six games under its belt and 4.3 million copies sold worldwide, how could Just Dance not get onto this list. Taking full “advantage” of the Wii motion controls, Just Dance challenged players to mimic the game silhouettes routines, while dancing along to Britney Spears’ “Womanizer”, “U Can’t Touch This” and 30 other tracks.
That was the simple fun of Just Dance because even if you weren’t a gamer, everybody can somewhat dance and there was bound to be at least one song that you recognized in the soundtrack. Unfortunately for Just Dance (and Ubisoft) it was panned by critics (for example IGN gave it a 2/10) because of its lack of unlockable content and its ugly presentation.
Despite this though an aggressive advertising campaign by Ubisoft turned Just Dance into a must have Nintendo Wii game and the series is now the best selling non-Nintendo games on the Nintendo Wii.
Moving away from consoles for a second we have the insanely catchy Patapon 2 for the PSP. Continuing exactly from where the first game ended, Patapon 2 sees you return to your role as the God of all Patapons as you must help them survive on a new Island and destroy the army of the Akumapons, who are evil beings who sold their souls to demons for power.
Exactly like with the first title, in Patapon 2 the life of your army depends on how well you can keep up a steady rhythm with your drum/ button commands. For example Pata, Pata, Pata, Pon or Square, Square, Square, Circle makes you army move and as you play your Patapons sing along with you. Much like the first game, Patapon 2 features a very catchy soundtrack that is guaranteed to piss off anyone you’re sitting next to.
Patapon 2 also includes a multiplayer mode where you and your friends work together to defend and then hatch an egg. As you can tell the multiplayer options are a bit limited but on plus side you can always just play it yourself.
Along with receiving three titles, the Patapons also made a minor appearance in PlayStation All Star Battle Royale where they stop Hades from trying to kill the All-Stars. On top of that, Polygon Man can turn into Patapons during the final battle too, but the less mentioned about Polygon Man the better.
Gitaroo Man Lives!
Moving from a commercial success to a remake of a cult classic title, we have Gitaroo Man Lives! for the PSP and boy is it a weird game. Gitaroo Man Lives! follows the tale of a young boy called U-1 who is taught how to play the guitar by his talking dog Puma before being forced to defend his town from an alien invasion, have a musical duel with skeletons, and out-jazz a man in a bee suit among many other weird events.
Gameplay-wise Gitaroo Mans duels are split into three main phases called Charge, Attack, and Guard. In both the Charge and the Attack phases, you’ll have to follow trace lines with the analogue stick. Meanwhile in the Guard phases you’ll need to hit the button as it reaches the center of the screen to prevent yourself from taking damage.
It should also be noted that Gitaroo Man Lives! is a surprisingly difficult title which means that its a very good thing that the game’s soundtrack is really good. Special mentions go the The Legendary Theme for being a awesome track and Born to be Bone for its difficulty spike.
PaRappa the Rapper
Getting to the midpoint of our rhythm games list, we have NanaOn-Sha’s Hip-Hop hero PaRappa the Rapper for the PS1. Featuring an extremely unique art style that still holds up today and an insane plot revolving around him wanting to ask one of his friends out on a date, PaRappa the Rapper is remembered fondly for plenty of reasons.
Gameplay-wise PaRappa the Rapper saw you rapping your way through the game’s six stages by essentially playing Simon Says, i.e matching the symbols made by your teacher on every stage. You’re ranked on your performance during each stage but if you repeat a stage after clearing it, you can earn bonus points by freestyling after each sequence. Do this enough and your teacher will be so impressed, they’ll leave you alone to rap freely, till you screw up enough times anyway.
PaRappa the Rapper is often regarded as one of the first modern rhythm-based titles to exist and without this game, titles such as Gitaroo Man might not exists. PaRappa would become insanely popular in Japan as that country was responsible for around 76% of the games sales. PaRappa would get himself a sequel, a PSP remake, become a playable character in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, and a 30 episode long anime series in 2001.
Elite Beat Agents
Staying on the weird side of the rhythm games spectrum for a moment we have Elite Beat Agents for the Nintendo DS. Acting as the spiritual sequel to the Japan exclusive title Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan, Elite Beat Agents sees you taking control of one of the three agents and helping people through their troubles by encouraging them through dance of all things.
Whether you’re helping a magician stop a robbery in Vegas to Stray Cats’ “Rock This Town” or helping a baby pug run 400 miles home to the tune of Deep Purples’ “Highway Star” Elite Beat Agents has plenty of memorable moments that’ll keep you coming back for more. On top of that, while you’re tapping away to the songs on the bottom scene, all the events are being played out one the top scene through comic book styled cutscenes.
This is a good thing that Elite Beat Agents keeps you coming back for more too because this game has a massive difficulty spike much like with Gitaroo Man. That being said it’s the insanity and challenge that will keep it in your mind long after the game leaves your DS.
Two years before Harmonix would create the financial gold-mine that was the Guitar Hero series they released this list’s bronze medal winner, Amplitude for the PS2.
Amplitude is the sequel to the 2001 title Frequency, where players take control the beat blast ship through the game’s 26-track strong soundtrack. Speaking of Guitar Hero, while that game has players only playing the guitar sections of popular songs, Frequency has you jumping between six lanes of notes, which each represent a note. As you can imagine this makes later levels very tricky, and it’s absolutely mesmerizing when watching people play this game on the Insane difficulty.
Unfortunately, despite the praise that was showered on it by reviewers at the time, Frequency wasn’t a financial success for Harmonix and it would take till 2014 for Harmonix to show an interest in making a successor on Kickstarter. While the game’s Kickstarter campaign had a goal to raise $775,000, the campaign actually raised $844,127 and now the game is due out in mid 2015 and they’ve promised that the sequel will be just as hard as this game was.
Crypt of the Necrodancer
It’s honestly amazing that it took till April 2015 for someone to combine classic dungeon crawling rouglikes with rhythm-based gameplay, but that’s exactly what developers Brace Yourself Games did with Crypt of the Necrodancer and the results speak for themselves.
Crypt of the Necrodancer mixes these two opposing genres extremely well as you’re forced to navigate the dungeons and defeat enemies to the beat of its amazing soundtrack that would fit in any music game. To defeat enemies you’re going to need to learn their patterns and where to exploit them. Sure you’ll die a lot, but you’ll keep coming back because this game has that one more try feel that’ll keep you hitting the replay button long after you said that you’re only going to have one more go.
While you’ll start off playing as the main heroine Cadence, Crypt of the Necrodancer also includes an additional eight playable characters who all play differently. These include the pacifist Dove, a Monk who dies if he picks up gold, and your uncle Eli who can only attack with his infinite supply of bombs.
On top of nine playable characters this game also allows you to replace the soundtrack with your own music, and it has full Steam Workshop support. The workshop support adds a ton of new characters and even some total conversion mods so you can play through the game with say a Mega Man skin if you wish.
Dance Dance Revolution
We’ve finally reached the number 1 spot of this rhythm games list and it’s the first game that got the world dancing, Dance Dance Revolution. Originally released back in 1998, Dance Dance Revolution became an instant worldwide phenomenon (much like Guitar Hero when it launched) thanks to it’s simply yet innovative idea of getting players to dance to the music by stepping on arrows as the rise up the screen.
Less than a year after it’s arcade release, DDR would leave the arcades and enter the console market and the rest, as they say is history. DDR clones such as In The Groove and Pump It Up Pro would try to take advantage of the success that DDR gained but none could beat the original. Hell, even Mario jumped onto the DDR craze with Dance Dance Revolution Mario Mix, the game that showed the world that Bowser’s got moves.
While DDR may not be as popular as it once was, DDR has become known as one of the most influential games off all time. On top of this DDR has since spawned tournaments, entered the Guinness Book of Records, and in 2006 the state of West Virgina added it to the gym classes of all 765 schools for a two-year period.
So that ends this list, but are there any music games that you feel should’ve made the cut? If so, then feel free to share them in the comments below.