Elite Beat Agents
November 6, 2006 (NA)
May 3, 2007 (AU)
July 13, 2007 (EU)
Ouendan fans rejoice! Nintendo has heard your cry and localized the game for the US market. Now those who never imported the game can see what all the fuss is about, and those who are already fans of Ouendan have even more circle-tapping action to look forward to.
Elite Beat Agents has such a quirky premise: people have problems ranging from serious (a little girl’s father dying at Christmas time) to downright strange (a former baseball player taking down a lava golem in an amusement park). Who do they call? The Elite Beat Agents, of course! All it takes is a loud “HEEEEEEEAAAALLLLLLLLPPP!!” and the suit-clad agents appear, ready to tackle any problem through the power of music and dance.
Sure, it sounds strange, but it works. The various scenarios are downright hysterical at times, and they change depending on your progress in the song. There is a bar at the top of the touchscreen to monitor your progress, and if this bar starts dropping into the “No” zone, then things will start to get pretty hairy for the problem-ridden client. But if you keep the bar up in the “Yes” zone, then their problems will eventually be solved.
But how exactly do you keep the bar up? You’ll be doing that by tapping on hit markers in rhythm to the music. These markers have numbers on them which you must tap in order, and you earn points depending on how close you are to the actual rhythm. Occasionally you’ll have to deal with markers that require you to drag your stylus along a path or spin a disc around several times until the meters on the side light up. You earn points by creating chains (called combos) of perfect actions. If you screw up one single marker, especially in the later parts of a song in the harder difficulty levels, you can pretty much kiss your chance of a high score goodbye.
There are 16 different songs/scenarios in Elite Beat Agents, plus three bonus tracks. While that may not seem like a lot, you’ll constantly be replaying them at higher difficulty levels, trying to increase your score and rank, and striving to eventually perfect the song. It’s extremely addictive and fun, and even though the game gets excruciatingly hard at times, you’ll never feel like giving up until you’ve got the song beaten.
The songs themselves come from a wide range of genres, from Good Charlotte’s “The Anthem” to Chicago’s “You’re the Inspiration,” and of course, what rhythm game would be complete without the Village People’s “Y.M.C.A.” Each song corresponds to a scenario that pertains to the lyrics or theme of the song. The sound is almost CD-quality, and it sounds even better when you listen through a pair of earphones. While the songs aren’t by their original artists, the covers are really good and in some cases better than the originals. Some of the songs are just plain bad though (I’m looking at you, “Material Girl”).
The stories are presented in a bright, colorful comic-book fashion that really suits the entire atmosphere of the game. The drawing is superb, and the illustrations are hilarious to match the sheer insanity of some of the scenarios that you’ll be facing. It’s too bad that a lot of times you’ll be concentrating so hard on hitting the beats on the bottom screen that you’ll miss a lot of the comic book antics on the top screen.
Elite Beat Agents also has multiplayer in the form of co-op and competitive play. While it doesn’t have wi-fi capabilities, it does support local single-card download play as well as multi-card. Only five tracks are available for single-card, but if every player has a copy of the game, all tracks and difficulties become available for multiplayer. The game is also one of the few that supports the DS Rumble Pack, which really doesn’t particularly add much but provides a bit of feedback each time you hit a beat.
Elite Beat Agents will keep you occupied for hours a day. Its addicting gameplay, hilarious storylines, and creative concept will appeal to all except the most vehement haters of the rhythm genre. It is certainly one of the must-have titles for the DS.
Great art style.
Creative rhythm gameplay.