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Gitaroo Man Lives!(PSP)

October 2, 2006

Rhythm action games rarely see variety in their new titles, with most enthusiasts forced to be content with the latest dance mat game while waiting for one of the many different titles that try to carve a niche in the genre. Most of these games require a new peripheral, and can often be unfulfilling answers to the best Konami has to offer. Fortunately, Gitaroo Man is a rhythm action title that does not demand anything but the PSP’s basic controls, and is genuinely good fun.

Gitaroo man lives! Is a port of a rare PS2 game that was released to resounding praise, but with a lack of copies to go around, so it is with welcome arms that lives! Has been released on the PSP. All the content from the original game is present, with vs. and duet modes to attract fans of the original release.

The basic idea of Gitaroo man is based around creating a combat situation using rhythm action gameplay, this is achieved through attack and defence phases; the first requiring you to follow a line with the analogue nub while pressing a button to strum the guitar while defence requires you to press one of the four action buttons in time as they move towards the centre of the screen. As can be assumed of the genre, these sections boarder on insane when the difficulty is racked up, but through perseverance you will conquer them, and with this comes a large sense of achievement. Unfortunately for this version however, the developers have removed the requirement for pinpoint accuracy on the nub (when following guitar riffs), which makes the guitar sections easier than their PS2 counterparts, however the songs still get hard, and lives! Has more content to make up for this.

So, this game is far from a traditional rhythm action title, and as such the track selection is far from predictable. While only ten songs long, they link into an amusing story and so give the game a definitive sense of progression, these tracks also encompass a large variety of styles, from drum and bass to rock to soothing acoustic guitar, all of which sound brilliant coming from the PSP.

Lives! Also contains a duet and vs. mode (as mentioned prior), both of which were missing from the original PS2 version. Duet is, as can be guessed, a two player song in which you and a friend try and defeat the computer opponent, the two songs available come complete with multiple difficulties and a player specific rank, enabling bragging rights for the winner. The vs. mode takes the concept of the single player fights and turns them into a human affair, which can become extremely heated and are genuinely fun between players of equal skill. All the single player songs are available for this mode.

While it lacks the intense difficulty of the PS2 original, lives! Should not be regarded as an inferior port. Sporting new vs. and duet modes this is a more complete package than the original, and portable to boot. However, buy it quickly this time, you wouldn’t want to miss out again if it goes the way of its predecessor.

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