I tell you, these Japanese are absolutely bonkers. And I mean that in a good way. The delightful company NanaOn-Sha has made three of the catchiest games I've ever played. Parappa the Rapper, Um Jammer Lammy and Parappa the Rapper 2. Today, I'll take you through Lammy and Parappa 2.
And oh my, what a trip these two are.
Let's start with Um Jammer Lammy. Lammy is, oddly enough, a lamb (a completely un-lamb-like lamb - the kind with teeth). She's always nervous and quiet, but put a guitar in her hand and she'll rock your world. Unfortunately, she's also constantly late. Lammy is one third of the bizzare band 'MilkCan' - her friends Ma-san and Katy Kat make up the rest.
On the day of her big performance, Lammy is, as usual, running late. She'll encounter various useless spanners who've got nothing better to do than get in her way and keep her from getting to her gig. Firemen, Pregnancy nurses, dual-personality pilots, a demonic diva - they're all inconsiderate bastards who demand that you stop and PLAY YOUR GODDAMN GUITAR before you can move on.
One of the more bizzare levels in Um Jammer Lammy is the nursery. After saving the Pizza store from a fire, you're given free pizza and of course, you pig out. Naturally, a giant procession of mothers and fathers appears, singing about having children. The nurse, Cathy Pillar sees you, and thinks you're pregnant. Of course she whips you off to the nursery for child birth preperation. Oh, and did I mention that whenever Cathy Pillar is talking to you, she randomly vomits up pink bile with toys and candy in it?
Who says video games don't teach people about real life?
Another fan favourite is Captain Fussenpepper. He's a dizzy pilot with false teeth and the most terrifying case of Jekyll-and-Hyde schizophrenia you've ever seen. You make it onto the plane, but the Cap'm conveniently informs you that he's forgotten how to fly. After getting hit on the head, he turns into this snarling maniac who has visions of Charlies attacking and demands that you fly the plane - using your guitar. Naturally. The stage's music suits Fussenpepper's personality, switching between hyper eletric thrash and metal guitar wailing. Fussenpepper's lyrics include You think I'm old now, I've got the skills to beat you and knock you out! and the vague sounding "Did I eat my drink? ...I thought milk was pink?.
Then there's the stage where Lammy plays the guitar in hell. Yes, at one point Lammy dies, wakes up in hell and comments that the game's over, so it must be a pretty crap game. Then she gets dragged onto stage to jam with a diva who can resurrect her with a fax machine (I swear I am not making this up).
If you perform poorly, and you will, you'll get electrocuted repeatedly and the hellish crowd will begin to swell like choppy waves. Do worse, and a giant crack will appear between the crowd. Fail, and a massive version of the diva will burst from the crack, shouting at you "...START ALL OVER. You shoud be banned from EVERY game."
In comparison to Um Jammer Lammy, Parappa the Rapper 2's storyline is tame. Parappa wins a lifetime supply of noodles, and he's sick of them - when he visits his girlfriend Sunny Funny's house and is greeted by MORE noodles, he just can't 'stomach' it (sorry) and runs off for something different to eat. This would probably be the best time to point out that Parappa is a dog, Sunny Funny is a Sunflower, and Sunny's Dad has a FLOWERPOT FOR A HEAD.
Parappa and his friend PJ head off to the local burger joint, Beard Burger, to have something different. But something strange is going on - all the burgers are turning into noodles! So, of course, the former store owner resurrects from the dead to teach Parappa how to make burgers. He'll comment on how they taste better than wine because he's not only a ghost, but a (possibly) Scandanavian ghost with a serious drinking problem. He also possesses all of his machines such as the grill and the salad slicer so that they can sing along and dance with Parappa.
No really - this all really happens.
Other levels in Parappa 2 include practicing Romantic Karate with recurring character Chop Chop Master Onion (Romantic Karate being a mix of love and punch, HAI!), Moosesha, a Military Moose in a tutu with a passion for all things sports, such as an automated dual skipping rope, with the ropes coming out from robotic breasts, and Hairdresser Octopus, who is so goddamn bizzare that he deserves a new paragraph.
Hairdresser Octopus has a master plan. His master plan is thus: he's holding all his patrons hostage, and giving them all afros. Yes. MASSIVE AFROS. He's got them all strapped in this whirly-belt-thingy and won't free them until he's given every last person an afro. Unfortunately, Lammy and her friends were also in the hairdressers at the time, and are presently sporting fancy afros. To solve this hairy (ack!) issue, Parappa needs to rap with Hairdresser Octopus until everyone's hair is back to normal. Call me crazy, but this just doesn't seem like a brilliant master plan. Oh well, it's no worse than a bomb that simultaneously makes everyone in the world nude.
Parappa also gets to battle it out with an old school video game called Food Court. No-one was able to beat this game, and it was taken off the market, because it also had the bizarre side effect of making anyone who failed it able to eat nothing but noodles! Their body would reject any other type of food! Wearing a VR headset similar to something like a Virtual Boy that you can strap to your head, Parappa dukes it out, 8-bit style, by firing cakes and cookies against the noodle assault. After discovering the perpertrator of the noodle assault (did I mention that Beard Burger's current owner is turning all the food in the world into noodles? Well, he is.), it's time for Parappa to settle this mess once and for all with a rap explaining that all types of foods are cool, not just noodles.
I love Japan.
Here's to another Parappa and Lammy game - and let's hope that NanaOn-Sha take all the LSD and Marijuana required to make them just as insane.