"P to the A to the R to the A, PaRappa's the name. I rap everyday!"
The PaRappa series is a melting pot of contrasting elements: paper-thin characters inhabit a 3-D world, and the storyline zigzags between common and unusual situations. In this setting lives the eponymous PaRappa, a rapping dog with a wild imagination and an optimistic drive. He spends his days hanging out with his anthropomorphic friends, one of which, Sunny Funny, is the flower of his affections. In the first game, he competes with his rival Joe Chin to win Sunny's heart, and in the second game, he takes on many unrelated jobs in an effort to stop a noodle fanatic. What strings this all together, and has influenced subsequent rhythm games, is the series' core gameplay element: the rapping sessions.
To solve whatever problem the story puts forth, PaRappa faces off against a teacher or rival (sometimes they're the same) in a Simon Says-like duel of words and actions. Through alternating turns, the latter raps a line, and then the former repeats it, sometimes putting his own spin on the lyric. For the player, this equates to tapping the right buttons in tune with the beat, and "freestyling" (pressing buttons at extra moments to expand the beat) to up the number of points received and to unlock bonus content. Not surprisingly, many characters get in on the rapping craze. At the Fruites Dojo, Chop Chop Master Onion schools PaRappa in the art of karate. At Club Fun, MC King Kong Mushi hands him the floor to bust out his own danceable rhymes for the audience. Whether he's moving to the front of the line outside a public restroom, returning to normal size after getting shrunk by his father's shrink ray gun, or baking a cake for Sunny Funny's birthday, PaRappa raps to the rhythm of the story as smoothly as he follows the beat of his own heart, uttering his catch phrase, "I gotta believe!"
Selected game appearances
- PaRappa the Rapper (1996)
- UmJammer Lammy (1999)
- PaRappa the Rapper 2 (2001)
- PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (2012)