Reviewed: October 12, 2008
Released: September 23, 2008
NIS has a known reputation for making some of the best RPG and Strategy RPGs on the market. One of those titles that have slipped into the cracks of gaming history is a little known title called Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure. Back before NIS became well known for the Disgaea series, they released Rhapsody on the PlayStation. Over 8 years later, this little known gem resurfaces on a whole new system and not one that you would expect. Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure returns on the DS and is just as fun as now as it was then.
Rhapsody for those not already acquainted with the title, the story of a young girl, named Cornet, who wishes nothing more than to be whisked off her feet by a certain Prince Charming.
Cornet however is a humble peasant girl that must go up against some pretty tough girl competition, especially from the brat of child Etoile, who cares for nothing more than being the richest girl in Marl Kingdom. But despite being a charming girl, Cornet has one major quirk... she can talk to puppets. To make a long story short, Prince Ferdinand Marl E. is turned to stone and captured by the witch Marjoly. It is up to Cornet and her band of puppets to save him.
Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure is every bit the JRPG that I remember it to be with a few notable exceptions. The most noticeable change in this 'port' of the original, and I use the term loosely, is that they changed out the battle system. I will also mention that this title is extremely easy in almost every way as far as RPGs are concerned. This title was originally geared to young girls and it shows in all the little details, but that shouldnít be a determining factor as rhapsody is just plain fun.
The original version of Rhapsody featured a 3D grid based tactical battle system. For whatever reason, the developers over at NIS choose to replace original battle system with the classic 2D turn based battle system. Perhaps it will help gain a better fan base for the title since tactical based titles are not exactly favorable on this side of the ocean.
But whatever the reason the new system works nicely so no complaints here. Combat is simple and you can utilize both the standard button controls and/or the touch screen to issue commands. Players can even move Cornet around in the world by dragging the stylus tip across the screen in the desired direction. Kururu, a puppet and Cornetís best friend, accompanies her on her mission to save the prince and is even a playable character this time around. To say the least Cornet has an interesting band of travelers to accompany her since they are all usually some sort of puppet or another.
The World & Field Maps for Rhapsody are amazing simple to use and the Top screen of the DS is utilized very efficiently to show these aspects. The top screen shows the overview of the current map you inhabit with the specific area highlighted in bright pink. Your current character roster is also shown here as well as your total cash and a timer showing how long youíve been playing altogether. So like I said this title is very easy to pick up on and even easier to master.
Character development is simple as you gain new abilities naturally as you gain levels. The Items for Rhapsody are also very simple, consisting of your basic health and magic potions and the bare minimum of armor to purchase and use. Also, while it is a good idea to stock up on health items and the likes, pretty much every statue in the title will restore you teamís HP and SP. To but it simply Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure is highly suitable for players just starting to try out the RPG genre.
The one thing that you must understand about Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure is that it is a light-hearted RPG. This is not a title for the more veteran players of the genre as it will probably offer very little challenge or enjoyment to some players. Personally I love most RPGs and I think that sometimes you need to step outside of the norm and try something different. There are several musical segments where the main characters, especially Cornet, will burst into song at any random moment which honestly may get annoying to some. Players can skip them with a push of a button, but that kind of defeats the point of a ďmusicalĒ RPG.
Graphically Rhapsody has transitioned well over to the DS. Everything is vibrant with color and the character models look like they havenít suffered a bit. It may not be the best looking title on the DS but it is definitely up there. NIS and Atlus take pride in giving players good quality looking games and they have yet to really disappoint.
The sound department of Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure is actually one of my favorite parts about this title to quite honest. Rhapsody is a one of a kind title and for that I give NIS praise for attempting something different, no matter how old this titleís roots may be. The sound effects in battle are very basic, with simple thumps and other noises so nothing spectacular in that regard.
But where this title truly shines is the musical numbers. Keep in mind that if you pick up this title that they are all sung completely in Japanese. There is actually not English voice track what so ever in this title, which is perfectly fine by me. Some RPGs lose something in translation when brought to the States and Iím glad that they didnít alter this title a bit in this regard.
Value wise, Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure is a great starter title for any young one to start out with in the RPG genre. Just keep in mind that this title is mainly geared for the younger female audience and perhaps older fans of the title as well. This title is a fairly short but light-hearted tale, which sad to say there are very few of these on the market.
Rhapsody proves that you can make a good RPG title that doesnít heavily on sword fights like most titles in this genre. The ability to save anywhere outside of battle, makes this title perfect for any gamer who wants to play something in their spare time or on breaks. You can pick this title up for $30 bucks at most retailers, making it a perfect gift for any young gamer looking to get into role-playing games.
All in all, Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure is a fairly enjoyable title that is full of humor and memorable characters. Cornet is the kind of character that every can relate to, one way or another. NIS proves once again that more RPGs need a bit more humor sometimes.