Gitaroo-Man is a rhythm action game produced by KOEI for the Sony Playstation 2 console. Not quite a popular game, though it does have a few impressive elements.

Plot
The player takes control of U-1, a kid who seems to be picked on by everyone. His dog, Puma, seems to be his only friend, and proves to be the key to his becoming the Gitaroo-Man! He finds out that he is a descendant of a hero by the same name, who, at one time, saved his home planet of Gitaroo. If you actually play the game, there's relatively little discernable plot, so you can tell I just went to the official website to figure this junk out.

As the plot progresses, U-1 plays his Gitaroo as Gitaroo-Man in attempts to earn other Gitaroos from foes that he comes across. A little flying demon with an AXE has the Axe Gitaroo, a man dressed in a bee suit with a TRUMPET has the Trumpet Gitaroo, et cetera... (All characters will be introduced later in this node, as well as their accompanying Gitaroo -- OH BOY!)

Gameplay
As with most rhythm action games, music plays while the player is expected to match the rhythm. The interface to the game is rather original compared to some that I've seen (Parappa the Rapper/Um Jammer Lammy, Bust A Groove, BEMANI series), and relies mostly upon the PS2 Dualshock analog controller. For most of the parts, a line streams from various directions based around a circle, and one must point an arrow in the general direction the stream is coming from using the left analog stick, then press any of the four buttons found on the face of the Playstation controller (Triangle, Circle, X, or Square), and hold the button until the line ends. Rather easy early on when the line is straight and long, but as with most video games, gets tougher as the game progresses when there are multiple direction changes in lines. It is not necessary to hold the button down for the full line, but more bonus is given if this is done.

The gameplay is divided into four phases:

  • Charge Phase: Both players charge by doing "attacks" to build up energy. Normally an attack is what is described above and does damage to the enemy, but in charge mode, all it will do is heal the player.
  • Attack Phase: Exactly what is described above.
  • Defending Phase: This is for who is on the receiving end of the attack. Instead of the stream thing with the analog stick, the player must "dodge" by hitting one of the four buttons found on the right side of the pad in tune with the music. Any misses with this will result in a loss of health for the defender.
  • Final: Just another attack phase, but there is no dodging by the defender - just constant WAILING as a ninja enthusiast would put it.
Each attack will have a rating of "Great" "Good" "OK" or "Miss," all having different point values (With "Miss," obviously, giving no bonus to the player) to be tallied up at the end of the stage.

Characters
The following will be copied directly from KOEI's official site for the game. At the time of the writeup, http://www.koeigames.com/Gitaroo/Gitaroo_Man.htm is the site and OMG, it's in FLASH!

  • GITAROO-MAN- He is the successor to the legend of the accursed Planet Gitaroo. It is said that when he collects 8 Gitaroos, he will change into his true form.
  • U-1- The legendary hero of Planet Gitaroo. Just look at the confidence on his face! (Note: PICTURED IS A VERY WEAK LOOKING KID) A worthy adversary, for sure.
  • Kirah- A shy and reserved girl with the heart of a warrior. She excels at baking Gitaroo Apple Pies (Note: WTF. And Kirah is the possessor of the last Gitaroo)
  • Puma- (Normal Form) This infernal dog is Gitaroo-Man's partner. His on-the-surface cuteness quite nauseating. By aiding Gitaroo-Man, he hopes to back us Gravillians into a corner.
    (Battle: AC30) The insufferable mutt's true form. He has fused himself with the Last Gitaroo for safekeeping.
  • Panpeus- He chops through space and time with his Axe Gitaroo. He may have a baby face, but he doesn't have baby skills!
  • Zowie- The shining prince of the Gravillians. Nobody has ever seen his Gitaroo. It is probably unwise to attempt to see it. (Note: His name is pronounced the same as "Zoe," that is, pronounced as "ZOEY"
  • MOJO KING BEE- He reigns over the darkness with his Trumpet Gitaroo. No one has ever seen the man behind the shades. (Note: THIS IS THE COOLEST CHARACTER IN ANY VIDEO GAME)
  • Kazuya- An alien who transports himself with a device known as a "skateboard." According to data, he is an only child who lives in a high-class mansion. His skateboard is a limited edition model.
  • Pico- An alien who is the object of Gitaroo-Man's desire. She is, by all accounts, quite flaky, but maybe that's what he likes.
  • Flying-O- A loyal soldier of the Empire, his built-in Synth Gitaroo shoots "dance-until-death" rays. His underlings, the Little-O's, are pretty tough, too.
  • Ming-Ming- Lord Zowie's cat is a little hard to handle...
  • Miranda- He is the leader of the Gitalline people of the planet Gitaroo. It was said that back in his day, nobody could handle a Gitaroo like him.
  • Ben-K- He is a shark who chases after you, OH MAN. In later stages, he is seen wearing some kind of giant robot suit, which Gitaroo-Man matches with his own. This all happens in SPACE, because, well, all crazy things happen in space. He gives you the TURNTABLE Gitaroo.
  • Sanbone Trio- Three skeletons who play their ... bones ... as various percussion instruments. They are found terrorizing a town when Gitaroo-Man and Puma get ambushed by them. Crazy characters! They give you the Xylophone Gitaroo.
  • Gregorio Wilehem III- Some people are surprised that this is a guy, but I have watched anime many times in the past. This guy battles with Gitaroo-Man in a huge cathedral, which is his Gitaroo somehow. He doesn't really serve much role in the plot, though he dose seem to be an interesting character. He is the one that narrates in the Collection mode.
And I think that is all. There's also a few recurring characters in the background, including Gitaroo-Man's backup band consisting of people dressed in animal suits. Indeed, this game makes no sense.

Game Modes
The main part of the game is single play, though there is option for multiplayer mode. It's not the best in two player, and I could not imagine how multiplayer functions (I think it's teams attacking rather than individuals), but it is rather fun when two people of equal skill play.

After normal singer player mode is completed, the player can choose to go into MASTER PLAY mode. Imaginably, this is very hard. I've never got past the second stage.

Music
As with most rhythm action games, Gitaroo-Man has a rather good soundtrack (IMO!) The following is a list of the songs, which you will see is a nice little mix.

  • Twisted Reality- A simple rock tune. Not very impressive, but a favorite among beginners. Theme of Panpeus.
  • Flyin' To Your Heart- A Japanese pop song. Fast-paced beat, neat song. Probably the one that stands out the most out of all the songs. Also one of the most played, at least amongst my friends! Theme of Flying-O.
  • Bee Jam Blues- A blues song with some soul singing in the background. Somewhat weird, but the wailing at the end is well worth sitting through the song. Theme of Mojo King Bee.
  • VOID- A Drum & Bass track. Really short, not too memorable. First theme of BEN-K.
  • 'Nuff Respect- Aghhklj. 'Nuff Respect is a very slow reggae-ish track. I like reggae, but they could have shortened 'Nuff Respect by about two minutes. The track is about three minutes long, but it feels like seven. Second theme of BEN-K.
  • The Legendary Theme (Acoustic)- A love song using an acoustic guitar. U-1 originally plays this song to win Kirah's heart, AND BOY DOES HE EVER! In my opinion, this is one of the best songs in the game. It makes me happy whenever I hear it.
  • Born To Be Bone- Samba-ish song. A lot of percussion in this song, all of which sounds neat. Theme of the Sanbone Trio.
  • Tainted Lovers- Rather hard to place this track into a genre. There is an organ playing while Gitaroo-Man plays his guitar. Kind of weird, but it is rather neat. Theme of Gregorio Wilehem III.
  • Overpass- More rock. This song does not last long, and transitions into the second form of The Legendary Theme in the game. Not too special, IMO. Theme of Kirah.
  • The Legendary Theme (Electric)- Same as the earlier Legendary Theme, but with drums and an electric guitar, with a pinch of synth. Still a beautiful song.
  • Resurrection- Metal. There is a lot of impressive guitar work in this song. Half of it sounds really nasty (Zowie's), and he other half is rather neat. Fitting for a final theme, this one rocks. Theme of Zowie.
There are various other songs included in the game, though these are the only ones that are actually playable.

This is mostly all there is to the game. If you do really well on a song in Single Play mode, you will get something to add to your collection. After various pieces are gathered, a figure appears in your collection, which will give a little bit of information abotu various characters.

So give this game a chance. Currently, it's available at Best Buy in America for $10, which is a small price to pay for so neat of a game. I like.

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