Rhapsody: ~A Musical Adventure~ (DS)


Cole Jones
Interaction Specialist

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Frogs hate downward wind.

Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure is one game that I've never taken the time to try and fully appreciate. As a nauseously cute title that opted for musical numbers instead of FMV cutscenes, Rhapsody certainly stood out among the legions of similar JRPGs during the first PlayStation's reign. With little luck tracking down the title locally, I was extremely excited when I heard that a DS version was in production and on its way over to America. After spending a good amount of time with the game at NIS' press event last Thursday evening, I can say that even though a few things have changed, series fans and newcomers alike should find much to enjoy in Rhapsody DS.

Even though I entered into the game a little after the first or second story event, Rhapsody DS was immediately easy to pick up and play. I was pleased to notice that the core story remains relatively unchanged, as the game still stars the puppet-speaking Cornet Espoire as she searches for love. After gathering my bearings in my starting bedroom, I explored the first town to find out all kinds of juicy gossip about the town and Cornet's love interest, the Prince.

Throughout the small starting town, I switched between the d-pad and the stylus to move Cornet around, both of which worked great. Practically everything in the game can be done with the stylus, from moving the character around the screen to selecting battle commands and managing inventory. Speaking of inventory and menus, one of Rhapsody DS's biggest improvements is the inclusion of a map that appears on the DS' top screen to help players find their way around any area. While it may feel a little bit like having your hand held, it's a nice addition to any game where searching every corner for a treasure is practically necessary.

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Might you be my puppet?

After tapping my way down to the bottom of the screen, I was taken to the "area select" map where I chose to enter a nearby forest to forage about. Within a screen or two I was already in a battle, and noticed that things looked much different than I remembered from what I saw of the original Rhapsody. To begin with, the entire battle system is completely revamped and made much simpler than before. Instead of issuing commands or moving around tactical-RPG style, Rhapsody DS uses a much more straightforward turn-based battle system with three basic battle choices: Fight, Run, and Autofight.

For my first few battles I chose "fight" to see how the battle system worked. After selecting which green slime-like monster to attack, the action took place on the top screen and I emerged victorious. Feeling a little confident, I chose to "autofight" the next round and dominated. With little resistance, I ventured off into the next cave area where I fought a few evil rats and was able to find the treasure I had been sent to collect. Success! Back to the town I went, and so ended my playtime with Rhapsody DS.

In the end, I felt rather pleased with my time spent playing Rhapsody DS. Even though the simplistic map and battle system initially made the game look like Fisher-Price's "My First RPG," the changes are actually welcome upgrades that make the game run much more smoothly. I have to admit that I walked away a little sad that I didn't get to hear any voice acting or beautiful melodies, but the NISA staff assured me that both were dutifully ported over to the DS. The music that I did hear sounded surprisingly clear for the DS, but its hard to tell how well the main songs will come through. Either way, Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure DS is certainly a title to check out come September 2008.

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