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The Rundown: Are you in a snag? Have you hit your breaking point? Just scream for help! That’s when an elite government agency lead by Commander Kahn dispatches his three agents to motivate and encourage you to overcome those obstacles through their song and dance. It doesn’t matter if you are the lost puppy or the desert-stranded popstars or even a pirate trying to find the treasure, they will be there for you. There will be a time when you can turn around and help them when music-hating aliens invade Earth and it’s up to you to back them up.
Impressions: I’m a huge fan of Musical games. Something about them are upbeat and fun. They are also really simple and the best way to relax even when you have to try and try and try to pass a level. Its pretty much based on a quick reaction time to the music that is being played. What does make Elite Beat Agents different is the various stories for each mission that the agents embark on. It is portrayed in a little comic strip intro before the agents arrive in their various creative forms of transportation and jump on scene to help out with their positivity. This is when the gameplay starts as it depends on the player being accurate on hitting the markers.
The markers themselves have various features which may be rather common. The first is the simple touch and let go one which could be in rather quick succession in the higher levels. The second type is the drag markers where it prolongs a note and you have to follow the line that it sets out (or in some instances, a shape). The third type is the spin marker which is essentially used mostly at the end of a sequence or story to give a boost and bonus points to the player to push them from a “no” territory to the “yes” territory.
This is where the difference happens for Elite Beat Agents from other rhythm games and also the heart that it has. The Yes and No zone on your life meter determines what ending you will get for the various obstacles that you need to accomplish for your character based on whether they succeed or fail. Regardless of which ending, it is always fun to watch in a wacky and silly way.
The last part that I would like to look at is the multiple difficulty levels and what you can unlock.
We start a brand new game with only the first two levels and the last two are unlocked when the previous difficulty is completed.
The difficulties are done well to help you build you skills for the next one if you want to go back. However, the final difficulty Hard ROCK! will take time to master. I found the difficulty a little unreasonable at times but its doable with many attempts as it requires close to perfection. While most people might not want to keep beating different difficulties, the completionist in me always does, especially when your status increases with the cumulative points and the unlockables include new bonus stages. And if you finish all the stages in all the difficulties, go back to Hard ROCK! and you’ll see a little bonus that makes it completely worth all the perseverance.
Elite Beat Agents is a Nintendo DS gem especially for its rhythm/musical features. It has multiple difficulties to keep up the challenge. At the same time, there are many unlockables from stages to characters to keep it engaging. Not to mention, the songs span from popular hits to some not quite as known (to me at least). At the end of it, you can’t help but yell “Agents are…GO!”