• Gitaroo Man Lives! Review - Sony PSP

    During the early days of the Japanese PS2, a game called Gitaroo-Man surfaced from little-known developer INIS. A rhythm-action title casting the player in the role of a guitar-wielding superhero out to save the world, it captivated gamers with its looks and gameplay, but it was a tricky beast. Giving even the most agile gamer sleepless nights thinking of how to get past a certain stage, even on the lowest difficulty setting it could present a formidable challenge. Over time, the game has grown a cult following, gathering much praise and a recent re-pressing in the USA to underline its considerable status. And now it's been ported over to the PSP under the title Gitaroo-Man Lives!
    Anyone familiar with the PS2 game will feel right at home from the intro screen onwards. Compete through 10 levels, with each split into 3 sections comprising: Charge - (Intro & Charge), Battle - (Attack & Guard) & Finish - (Harmony & End). With Gitaroo-Man PS2, the controls could throw a giant spanner in the works. A player would swear they aced a section, only to find the spongy Dual Shock 2 analogue sticks had let them down once more. With this in mind, the PSP version is approached with trepidation...
    ...which is unfounded. The first round was always fairly straightforward, however the following levels seem more balanced now, not because they are too easy, but as a result of how well the nub works on the PSP. Sure, targets will still be missed, but this time it feels like it's the fault of the player, not the controls. To its credit, the much-derided analogue nub on the PSP feels delicate and responsive to the on-screen prompts. The button-press segments, which run through the Guard sections of a battle, are handled with ease too. The response you get from the game is now so much better, that levels already cleared are re-run to improve ranks, whereas before just clearing them would be a massive achievement in itself. For example, the now infamous Shark level, while still presenting a challenge, doesn't feel such a nightmare as it was previously.
    The game also looks crisp and sublime on its new home, so full of detail and colour. INIS have delivered a excellent conversion, making full use of that wonderful screen on the PSP. It's quite something when a portable version is just as good, if not better, than it would be on a giant TV in the living room. A real fly in the ointment is the loading times. It's not unusual to wait up to 50+ seconds for a level to load up. Although loading is finished after this, and if you were to fail, you're returned to the action instantly, it does test the player's patience a bit too much at times.
    All the original levels are present, with two new additions in the Multiplayer mode. This new section can be either VS or Duet Mode, both of which are joinable via Ad-Hoc or against the CPU. They are a bit of a cheat however, as although they are new stages, the songs are recycled from the original game. It's a shame there isn't a great deal in the way of new content, but in the end, it is just a port. The music is exactly the same as the original. Also, the mix is quite low unfortunately, which is probably due to the nature of the PSP's tinny speakers, making it essential that headphones are used while playing.

    For all these slight problems, there's something to be said for the game on the PSP. It feels fresh for some reason, the controls, screen and buttons all working in glorious harmory to create something very enjoyable indeed. It just feels like it's perfect for the platform.

    If, like many others, the original PS2 game gave you much pleasure (and pain), then Gitaroo-Man Lives! probably isn't worth buying due to this version bringing nothing new content-wise. However, for those who were put off by the difficulty of the original PS2 release, this could be the version for you.

    Score: 8/10
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. bhama's Avatar
      bhama -
      Nice link............
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