RPG Review #84: Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure

NuMetalManiak And so we come to...wait what is this? This was created by Nippon Ichi and Atlus USA for the Playstation and as it turns out is a very easygoing RPG which clearly was designed to fit with the younger audiences. It is part of a short-lived series of games known as Marl Kingdom, of which there are only three games and Rhapsody was the only one to ever make it outside of Japan. This game even got a remake for the Nintendo DS, but why should I bother. I liked the way this one played here.

Gameplay: Now when I looked at the overall difficulty of Rhapsody, I was shocked. This is the 160th hardest RPG game on the Playstation. Out of 161. Therefore, Rhapsody is the SECOND EASIEST RPG for the system according to these rankings. Well, seeing how it is, it's somewhat standard. The battles in this game are a mix of tactical role-playing and turn-based. You actually only have one actual character, and up to three "puppets" in the battle party. There's barely any tactics to speak of, enemies are easy, bosses a little harder, but no biggie. And level-ups are standard.

Hey did you know this game has difficulty settings? Well, they only really change the amount of money or experience you get, and hard is pretty much optimal for a seasoned RPG player. But even on Hard the game is STILL easy. Level-ups are pretty easy to get, and by the end of the game my main character was level 84, which is way higher than it really needs to be. Other than that, well the battles are over before you know it, and the encounter rate isn't a whole lot. Apparently the DS version of this game takes away the tactical RPG stance entirely and makes it completely standard for an RPG. Boo. Grade: C

Characters: Though I will admit this game does a good job with its characters.
Cornet Espoir: The game's main heroine, dreaming of her prince in a typical Disney fashion. In battle she's gaining the most experience, but she gets the most options. Her horn can be used for attacking, or she can blow it to increase puppet abilities and gain musical notes for rewards, which are really powerful attacks.
Kururu: She's the fairy-like puppet who's always with Cornet. Actually, she's not playable except in the DS version, but she's always there.
Etoile Rosenqueen: Cornet's main rival and one who's always in the fancy dresses. She's way too rich and spoiled for her own good and even wields machine guns in battle for whatever reason. She is still an ally in comparison to the main villains.
Ferdinand Marl E. He's the prince that Cornet fawns over.
Cherie: Cornet's mother, who died long before her adventure.
Marjoly, Crowdia, Gao, and Myao: The main villains, a group of powerful sorceresses. Marjoly is the leader, Gao is a werewolf of sorts who is mistaken for a guy, Myao is a cat girl, and Crowdia is the token smart one. They all can't be taken seriously.
Minister Golonzo: Did someone say Snidely Whiplash? In addition to looking like the character this minister is another token evil guy.

And there's all the puppets Cornet can have, including Sharte and Terra (two angels); Billy, Kid, and Tell (egg knights); Duke, Chiba, and Albatross (fancier-looking knights); L-Kun (a huge bear thing), Ledgem (a floating rabbit), Koro (a deceased dog), DarkKnight (a different kind of knight) Michael and Caroline (two frog lovers), and Flare (a baby dragon). Did I mention Cornet can talk to puppets? This ties in with her mother. Grade: A

Plot: Well I did mention the main character is somewhat of a Disney princess. This whole game in fact feels like you are playing something straight out of a Disney movie. So yes, expect the cliches and everything. Main character dreaming of meeting her fancy prince, she gets into some trouble and said prince decides to save her, only for her not to spit anything out. Then she gets into a beauty pageant for marrying the guy, which is in three parts. The first is the dress to impress, and Cornet utterly fails because she decides to go in L-Kun as a freakin' costume. Seriously? Next is a battle segment which is fine until she loses to Etoile. After the final round of singing, both Cornet and Etoile are declared winners and will have to dance with Ferdinand. Then in comes the evil four witches, in which Marjoly completely falls head over heels upon looking at Ferdinand. She turns him to stone, wait, she didn't want to do that? Either way, bad guys win this round and take prince away.

Cornet of course, is gonna be the one to get him back. The first part of the second half of the game is getting five stones for getting him back (by the way, the true love's kiss cliche is in play here, and naturally Marjoly fails in curing the prince). Going all over the Marl kingdom to get them, having to decide whether to kill a guardian or keep it safe will earn stones either way, but may have different results on the neighboring places. Also Cornet frequently runs into the henchmen at times. Just after getting all stones and after a fight with Myao, something happens to Kururu and some explanations need to be done.

So Cornet and Etoile are whisked to the past, meeting their younger selves as well as Cherie, who's Cornet's mother. The mischievous younger Cornet gets lost and finds an Ancient Weapon (made by Minister Golonzo) and unfortunately this is how Cherie was killed. Cherie transfers her soul to the puppet Kururu and that was the explanation behind that. Anyways, place stones on altar then journey up to Beauty Castle (they went with that name) to confront Marjoly and her group. Also Golonzo is here and has another Ancient Weapon, which Marjoly somehow fails to defeat. It's up to Cornet, as well as Kururu and Etoile, to win this one. While Marjoly's group takes Golonzo away, Cornet kisses the statue of Ferdinand, curing him. And yay, an actual happily ever after where Cornet marries Ferdinand. So many things here that are reminiscent of a Disney story. Sorry, I really don't give this that good of a ranking despite its heartwarming ending. Grade: C

Music: READ THE TITLE. It's musical adventure. In fact, you're treated to actual music numbers in which the characters in-game actually are singing. There are even lyrics at the bottom of the screen. Gotta give this game credit for that. Other music tracks in-game are decent but nothing too exciting. It's all in the vocal tracks. Grade: B

Overall Grade: C+

Overall, Rhapsody is certainly a beginner's RPG, mostly pertaining to females or those who find old Disney movies fun. You've got a plot involving a prince, jealousy, satire, and overall nothing really can be taken seriously although the story does try to do so at times. But it's way too easy to beat this game and it is really short. Worth it? Not entirely sure.