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Gitaroo Man Lives Review
Posted on December 09, 2008 by Oscar Gonzalez

Up next is Gitaroo Man. Like Rez, the game came out and provided a fun experience but was overlooked by many. When it was released in the US in 2002, rhythm games were not popular in the US. With the success of Guitar Hero, rhythm games found a fanbase and these rhythm games are now a popular genre for the first time.

The game's protagonist is U-1 who's a little dorky kid that likes a girl. U-1's talking dog, Puma, helps U-1 with his problems, and also helps transforms U-1 in his heroic alter ego, Gitaroo Man. Gitaroo Man is the last of a line of legendary heroes of Planet Gitaroo that wields the legendary "last Gitaroo". The game starts with U-1 learning about being Gitaroo Man then saving the Earth and eventually saving the universe.

What makes the game so much fun is the use of music in the gameplay. Basically, as Gitaroo Man, you're in a battle with an enemy using your Gitaroo to defeat the enemy. When fighting the enemy, the battle is split into five different sections: Charge, Attack, Guard, Harmony, and End. The Charge, Attack, and Harmony sections require you to follow a line while pressing the O button when a phase bar shows up. These phase bars can be very long and require you to move in a variety of directions, or very short to correspond to small notes of the song that's being played. While in Charge phase, your goal is to increase your life bar to the max. In Attack, well duh you're attacking your opponent. The Harmony phase is just like the Attack phase, and in both cases, if you miss a phase bar, you will take some damage. The Guard phase is when your opponent starts attacking you. To avoid attacks, you will have to press a specific button when it passes the center of the screen. The buttons go along with the music and can be pretty frantic as some times. If you miss a button, you'll take damage. When you reach the End phase, you'll have to play the final piece of music in hopes that you have enough life till the end of the song. This can be really frustrating because in some battles, the End phase is the toughest part causing you to fail and then start all over again.

I can't give enough praise to the music of the game. It's not from any well known bands and is full of different kinds of music. Yet the real joy comes with the flow of the battle in the songs. They have this great dueling guitar sound to it that reminds me of the guitar duel between Ralph Macchio and Steve Vai in the movie "Crossroad"(pfft I know that reference went over everyone's head). As for the graphics, they make use of a deformed type look for the characters thus making them one of a kind. It won't blow you away but it will help entertain you.

With Guitar Hero and Rock Band making rhythm games more mainstream rather than a niche genre, a game like Gitaroo Man should be definitely played. It received its second life on the PSP with Gitaroo Man Lives, and had a second printing on the PS2 making it somewhat easier to find. Both of these games were going for $60-80 easily on ebay at one time. Now there's no reason to pass them up.

Oscar Gonzalez - Editor-in-Chief og (@) | all author's articles

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