Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Great Gaymathon Review #5: Rhythm Tengoku (GameBoy Advance)

Game: Rhythm Tengoku
Genre: Rhythm
Developer: Nintendo SPD Group No.1
Publisher: Nintendo
System: GameBoy Advance
Release date: 2006

As good as Rhythm Tengoku Gold (aka Rhythm Paradise in Europe and Rhythm Heaven in the States) is, its predecessor is that much better. The series' first entry features the same wacky--and wonderful--WarioWare-esque graphics, Simon-ish gameplay and toe-tapping music as its DS-based successor, but it also does a few things better than that 2008 release. For starters, Rhythm Tengoku is simpler, as nearly every mini-game is controlled by pressing the GameBoy Advance's A button (a couple require you to use the directional pad, but they're few and far between). An added benefit of this minimalistic control scheme: Rhythm Tengoku is, by and large, more enjoyable--due to it being a lot less frustrating--than its stylus-focused sequel. Finally, although both of these Tsunku-backed titles offer players a bevy of extras to toy around with when they're not working their way through the main game, the GBA version is home to the best of the bunch--a "drum mode" that allows players to add percussion, using the system's A and B buttons as well as its directional pad, to each of the title's earworm-worthy backing tracks.

See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts


Marcus said...

Rhythm Tengoku! This is most assuredly one of my favorite GBA titles and I'm in total agreement with you that the DS version wasn't as good. It's still neat that people outside of Japan finally got to experience some of it though :).

Also, I see that you're playing Rakugaki Showtime currently. How is that? I've been dying to get my hands on a bunch of doodly cute games for a while but can never seem to find them at the perfect price point.

Bryan Ochalla said...

It is a great game, isn't it, Marcus? I definitely wouldn't say the DS sequel was bad -- it's one of my favorite games for the system -- but it wasn't as pick-up-and-play as the GBA game, at least IMO.

As for Rakugaki Showtime -- well, I'm playing it again so I can review it here. I have kind of a love-hate relationship with it, honestly. I love how it looks and sounds, and I love that it's wacky as hell, but it's also a bit lacking in depth. Also, it's unbelievably expensive these days. I bought my copy (sealed at the time) when it first came out for $75. Today a sealed copy can go for nearly $400! Really not worth that, IMO. Is an opened copy worth $150 (the going rate these days)? It all depends on how big of a Treasure fan you are, I guess...

Marcus said...

It's fantastiiiiic. For some reason, I felt like the DS game was a lot harder. Either that or I'm just getting worse at games as time goes on lol.

Hmm... well I suppose depth isn't a necessity all the time. Ugh, why is it so expensive?! I wouldn't pay over $100 for it but with that attitude the opportunity will never come for me to own it D:. Do you happen to have Rakuga Kids, by chance? It's another game high on my list for eventual purchase.

Bryan Ochalla said...

I thought the DS game was harder, too -- esp. the damn Moai stages! -- but I still liked it quite a bit.

Anyway, you're right that depth isn't always a necessity, but with Rakugaki Showtime I think it's a bit of a problem since it keeps me from playing the game for very long or from coming back to it very often -- both of which should be required of games that cost over $100, IMO.

BTW, as far as I know, it's so expensive because it's rare -- and it's rare because Enix pulled it from stores shortly after it was released (supposedly due to some sort of disagreement with Treasure). So, few copies + Treasure fanboyism = $$$ :)

One cheap way to play the game, other than through emulation, of course -- is to buy it off the Japanese PSN store for something like $6. Of course, you have to have a PS3 and a Japanese PSN account to do that, but if that's the only option open to you...

Honestly, as much as I love the game's graphics (which really are to die for, IMO), I only think it's worth $150 or more if you're a huge Treasure fan or if you really like obscure Japanese games. Otherwise, I'd save my money.

Oh, and no, I've never played Rakuga Kids. That's a PS2 game, right? Made by Konami or something? I've heard of it (I think) but never played it.

Marcus said...

Darn few copies of games plus fanboys making game prices skyrocket! It's no fair lol. Honestly it just makes me wish I were more into the import game scene sooner rather than later.

Oh yeah, totally forgot about it being available on the Japanese PSN. Recently I made a list of all the games I wanted to grab from the JPN, EU, and US stores so I'm surprised how quickly that slipped from my mind. I'd prefer the actual copy, but I'm NOT a huge Treasure fan or anything so this will suffice.

There are some doodle-style games on PS2 but Rakuga Kids is a N64 title. It is by Konami though so you got that part! Okay, I just wondered since you seem to be pretty knowledgeable about Japanese titles. Do you by chance have any sort of lists/pictures of your collection?

Bryan Ochalla said...

Yeah, I'd definitely say that if you're not a hardcore collector or a huge Treasure fan and if you have access to the Japanese PSN, I wouldn't buy an actual copy of Rakugaki Showtime. Buying it via PSN would more than suffice for most folks.

Ah, yes, Rakuga Kids is a N64 title. I knew it was from that era, at least :) It's a more straightforward (like, Street Fighter II-esque) fighter, right? I remember being interested in it at some point long ago, but that's about as far it went with me.

I don't have a list of all of the games and systems I own -- probably because I don't want to know and I know it would scare the crap out of my husband if he ever saw such a list -- but I have taken photos of a lot of them. Here's a link to a Flickr set of them --

Most of my systems can be seen there, although I don't believe I've taken photos of my PS2, GameCube or Wii. Also, most of the game photos are of Euro and Japanese imports. I don't usually take photos of my American purchases, for some reason. (Probably because they're a lot more common.)

Linnea said...

Oh, I've looked for this for years. I have found it in a couple of internet stores, but it has never been affordable.

It looks so silly and cool. I tried the DS version but I couldn't for my life make the ping pong stage. :(

Bryan Ochalla said...

Yeah, this game is a bit rare, too, Linnea, although not as rare as Rakugaki Showtime for the PS1. I think it's rare because it came out near the end of the GBA's lifetime. Still, I think it's worth $50-60 -- if you have that kind of money and if you're willing to spend it (and if you like this sort of game, of course).

Like I said in my mini-review, this game is a lot less frustrating than its DS sequel. There are still a few hard mini-games, but they don't seem as "cheap" to me.

Marcus said...

Yup, Rakuga Kids is a 2D fighting game. It looks pretty cute and I really like unusual fighting games so it'd be nice to pick it up someday.

Haha, I see where you're coming from about not keeping a list. I do keep lists but that's because numbers and statistics are a little obsession of mine. However, if it had prices or something associated with all the stuff I'd probably pass out.

Thanks for the link! I love how clear and crisp the images are. I tried taking pictures of all my stuff sometime 2 years ago or so and it took too long and they didn't look very good. But maybe I'll try taking some photos of the import games, since there's a lot less of those under my roof. It's a good way to go about photographing collections :).

Bryan Ochalla said...

I think Rakuga Kids' status as a 2D fighter is what eventually turned me off. I'm really not a big fan of 2D fighters. I like watching people play them, but I don't really enjoy playing them myself.

One thing that is interesting, to me, about my "Great Gaymathon" is that not only will it force me to play every game I own -- and, sadly, there are a few I've NEVER played -- but it will force me to realize just how many games I own. I'm not sure I really want to know that, but what can you do?

You're welcome for the link, BTW. I'm glad you liked the photos. As I'm sure you can tell, I'm a bit anal about such things just like you are anal about numbers and stats :) I like everything -- photos, etc. -- to be "just so." That's probably why I prefer complete-in-box games whenever possible.

Anyway, regarding taking nice photos -- it definitely helps to have a shiny white table (which is where most of my photos are taken) and nice wood floors :)

Marcus said...

I'm not very good at 2D fighters (or any kind) myself but it's not enough to stop me from adoring them. :) If nothing else, they're often very pretty.

Well, at least the Gaymathon will get you into playing everything, even if it does show you there's a lot of games in the collection. Since I have a terrible amount of unplayed games I can only try those out for now... such a bad habit it is to buy a group of games and then end up only playing one of them!

Agreed about CIB photos. Any games that are in rental cases, for example, gross me out too much to take pictures of haha. That and also cases with price stickers everywhere. Stickers are terrible!

Viewtiful_Justin said...

I never made it all the way through Rhythm got crazy hard. I'd love to try this one!

Bryan Ochalla said...

Marcus: Do you have games that you bought from rental places? That's smart! I've yet to buy games that way, for some weird reason.

I don't mind stickers on Japanese games all that much, to tell you the truth, although they'd bother me on a US game. Double standard! ;)

Bryan Ochalla said...

Justin: Some of the latter levels (and early levels, for that matter) are wicked hard in Rhythm Heaven. Like I said earlier, the Moai game has always given me fits, as has the damn fill-up-the-robot game. Ack!

Anyway, should you ever see this game on the cheap somewhere (like, say, $30), I'd highly suggest buying it. It's *well* worth it.

Marcus said...

Yeah! See, since a lot of rental stores are and have been closing over the last couple years I am able to swoop on by and pick up lots of unbelievably cheap games. Often there's a lot of fluff, but for some reason sometimes they have brand new (sealed!) games hidden away too. It can be pretty exciting to go and see if there's any treasures hidden away. :)

Bryan Ochalla said...

Oh, I've got to try that sometime. I can't remember the last time I went into a (movie) rental store!