You gotta believe that PaRappa the Rapper is one of the most memorable music and rhythm games of all time. That’s why it ended up inspiring not one, but two different anime series: one with the same name and this season’s PJ Berri no Mogu Mogu Munya Munya.

You may remember that series from last week, where I ran down the reasons why it’s such an awesome choice for hardcore Parappa fans to watch, despite its silly storylines and zany premise.

Parappa the Rapper was the beginning of my descent into a deep and passionate love for music and rhythm gaming, and though it was the game I exhausted thanks to Pizza Hut’s demo disc before I played the full adventure, it was Um Jammer Lammy I ended up mastering. Still, Parappa will always be one of my first gaming loves, and I surmise it was for many other players as well.

The game took the concept of timed button presses and finessed it down to an art form. It also featured some of the catchiest tunes this side of Dance Dance Revolution. The game follows young pup Parappa who’s trying to find a way to tell the anthropomorphic sunflower Sunny how he feels about her.

That’s where you come in. You’ve got to play through the game and find different ways to impress Sunny–cutting loose with your feelings before rich, narcissistic dog antagonist Joe Chin whisks her away.

The game features six stages, ranging from the flea market over which Prince Fleaswallow presides to a funky groove about how much Parappa needs to use the restroom. Chickens in the kitchen, moose driving instructors, and, of course, Chop Chop Master Onion are also par for the course. But the final stage serves up a rollicking stage production during which Parappa affirms his life motto over and over: “I gotta believe!”

With each stage you get a “teacher” who raps to the beat. Symbols appear above the screen that prompt you to copy them with the face and shoulder buttons of the PlayStation controller. Depending on your skill and how close you get to the beat, the “U Rappin'” meter at the bottom of the screen measures your ranking, ranging from Awful to Cool. If you can perform well enough to reach the “Cool” rating, you can break away from Parappa’s predetermined rapping and you can freestyle on your own. Do well enough, and you can even unlock a special stage at the end of the game. 

The original game performed admirably in Japan–and the first game did well enough in the west. Unfortunately, the game seemed to languish in obscurity after its spinoff Um Jammer Lammy and followup sequel Parappa the Rapper 2 hit store shelves: There hasn’t been a sequel since excluding the PlayStation Portable version.

While Um Jammer Lammy–the guitar-focused mirror to Parappa the Rapper–is one of my favorite games of all time, the sequel’s tunes aren’t as catchy and the game seems a bit worse for the wear. But nothing will ever be able to overtake Parappa‘s sensation as one of the cult hits on the original PlayStation when it made its debut. You owe it to yourself to give it a try.

If you do play the game or any of the other spinoffs, you’ll definitely want to check out PJ Berri no Mogu Mogu Munya Munya to see what Easter eggs you spot as well as the other surprises planted in the series for massive fans of the game series. And remember… “You gotta believe!”

Top Image Credit: Twitter

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