Elite Beat Agents, The Power of Music.
Availability Nintendo DS.
Original release date November 6th 2006
Have you ever wanted to play a game where you help a man recklessly drive a pregnant women to the hospital, with the police chasing you, while three agents dance in matching suits to Avril Lavigneâ€™s Sk8er Boi.
Alternatively, do you want to play a game where you help an old man recover gold from the ocean, while agents dance to Y M C A by The Village People.
If the answer was yes, then you have been able to for over a decade. Elite Beat Agent as the name suggests is a rhythm/music game, where instead of being the ultimate rock star, you help people with various situations with the power of music and your skill with the Nintendo DS stylus.
The gameplay is simple but uses the DS capabilities well, by using the stylus to perform certain actions on the screen, such as tapping, spinning in circles and sliding the stylus in different directions to the rhythm of the music. The gameplay comes at four levels of difficulty, the easiest two already being unlocked automatically, they are â€˜Breezinâ€™ â€˜Cruisinâ€™ â€˜Sweatinâ€™ and HARD ROCK. Although the songs donâ€™t change, the extra difficulty offers more inputs to make combinations, and in general more difficult formations for you to mess up, which I feel is enough to keep the game enjoyable and stimulating, without feeling like it was just copy and pasted.Â
This game has an overall silly and somewhat bizarre nature, no doubt enhanced by the gameâ€™s graphical choice, opting for a comic book style. This was a great option, as it highlights the outlandish situations and expressiveness of the characters, from the use of onomatopoeia, speech bubbles and bright colours that present the light tone of the game.
The silliness is also prevalent in the overarching storyline, I will not spoil the details, but it's nothing particularly noteworthy, as it's not a huge aspect of the game, but the effort to have one at all is never the less appreciated.
As this is a rhythm/music game, you expect to be treated to a good track listing. Fortunately for everyone it does not only in a lyrical sense, hosting tracks such as Letâ€™s Dance by David Bowie and Jumpin Jack Flash by The Rolling Stones, but also from a gameplay perspective, as the stages songs have a diverse pace speed and overall difficulty throughout the game. This ensures you are not insulting the players on how easy it is, or making you want to throw your DS and detest the songs in the process on the difficulty levels you start with. I also feel there was some strategy in the order that the stages are played in, as often you are forced to play a stage with a large shift in terms of the speed and pace of the previous stage, hoping to trip you up knowing that you have been playing the last stage multiple times to improve your rank.Â Â Â
Admittedly it was satisfying to master stages and improve my rhythm skills, however something I took issue with, was the scoring system. At the end of the stage the game gives you a rank ranging from S to D, but also gives you a score. Your rank is determined by the ratio of perfect inputs during the stage, whilst the score is determined by a multiplier, as you get a certain amount of points based on the accuracy of your inputs (300 points 100,50,0). As a result of this scoring system, its completely possible to get a fantastic high score, but not get an equivalent rank. The main issue with this system is that the gameÂ will priorities your score over your rank, making it unnecessarily difficult to get the top rank, while also deterring you from playing certain stages when you have a rank you are happy with.Â
The game also offers some interesting little extras, the best one for me was being able to save my replays, which is a nice touch for bragging rights. You also have the ability to change the setup suited to you, depending if you are left or right-handed. Furthermore, you have the ability to review a stage, if you fail a stage, you can replay the section that caused you to fail, allowing you to know what went wrong and adjust it for when you try again.
Elite Beat Agents is a must have for any Nintendo DS owner or any fans of rhythm games, as it manages to have a distinct personality and addictive gameplay, that makes you want to continuously improve and offers a level of difficulty for all players. Despite the scoring system being flawed, it offers way to much charm to not give a recommendation.
Quote of the game 'Agents are GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!'
Written by Matthew BirkinshawÂ Â
MrBirky July 20th, 2020