Firstly, apologies for not having posted for so long. It's not entirely my fault, honest! I came on twice on Friday to try and post the weekly release list, but the servers must have been down so I couldn't get access.
This week I plan to post up another part to my Tis The Season strand, as well as actually getting this weeks new release up in time! With that out of the way, let's get on with this weeks Hidden Gem...
I recently got a chance to play a little game on the PS2 by the name of Gitaroo Man, and boy am I glad I did. I've long been a fan of rhythm action games, from Parappa the Rapper, Space Channel 5, Rez and more besides. If I had to compare Gitaroo Man to any of these, it would have to be Parappa, but it's much better than that game. It has a similar off the wall Japanese sense of humour, and vaguely similar graphics and art style, but it's much more fun to play and it will take you longer to finish.
The idea of the plot is that you are the last in the line of beings that are able to wield the Gitaroo, a guitar shaped weapon. Aliens have obtained all the Gitaroos except yours, and you must protect it from them by beating 10 of their best warriors. By day, your character is a rather sad individual, unlucky in love, lacking in self confidence and bullied by his "friends". When his talking dog gives him the Gitaroo however, he's transformed into Gitaroo Man, the superhero charged with saving the universe!
Basically each song is made up of several parts - Charge, Battle and Final. In the Charge phase, you play along as best you can in order to build up energy in your electric guitar/weapon hybrid, and you can't actually be hurt here. In the Battle phase, you take turns attacking and defending whichever enemy you're battling against, and here mistakes will cost you energy. If you manage to survive this phase, you enter the Final, and a bit of good playing here is enough to see of your opposition.
The guitar playing itself is deceptively simple, but can get very tough indeed after the first few songs. In the Charge and the attacking part of the Battle phase, you will see a dot in the middle and a wavy line protruding from it. You have to move the left analogue stick in the same direction as the line and keep it on there. While doing this, you also have to press and hold the circle button as indicated. Later, when you're defending, a barrage of button symbols head towards your dot in the middle and you have to press them as they reach the dot. It can get very tough very quickly, which is one of the main drawbacks of the game as you will probably have to try some of the songs dozens of times before you succeed.
It's worth practicing until you get it right however as the completely bonkers story, settings and graphics will keep you entertained from start to finish. The music styles are suprisingly different from one track to the next considering they all involve guitar, and vary from Rock, J-Pop, Reggae and many others. There are about 10 different stages altogether, and two different difficulty levels.
Gitaroo Man should be fairly easy to find in the shops, both preowned and new. For a new copy, your likely to have to spend around £15, and a little bit less for a preowned copy. If you like this sort of game I heartily suggest you give it a try, it's up there with the best the genre has to offer.