Friday, November 24, 2006

VG REVIEW: Elite Beat Agents

Hope everyone had a good turkey day.

Nintendo, for the Nintendo DS
rated E10+ for ages 10 and up (cartoon violence, crude humor, lyrics, suggestive themes), $34.99.

Young baby sitter Jane wants to go steady with star quarterback Don but — oh no — a carload of kids has just been dumped on her doorstep without warning!

Who can help her settle the brats down so she can declare her love?

Why, the Elite Beat Agents of course! And how will they help? By dancing!

Such is the premise behind one of the most adorably goofy games ever to come down the pike. As are “Guitar Hero” and “Parappa the Rapper,” “Elite Beat Agents” is a rhythm-based game, though its personality and style are utterly unique.

The Agents are like an impossibly coiffed trio who, through the power of fancy footwork, are somehow able to make a difference in various people’s lives, whether it’s rescuing someone from a desert island or defending the planet from aliens.

Success in the game depends upon keeping the beat to pop songs such as “Sk8er Boi” and “Jumping Jack Flash.”

You do this by tapping the DS stylus on colored circles at the right moment and in the proper order. Occasionally you’ll have to drag and spin the stylus, too, but tapping is usually the order of the day.

It sounds easier than it is, as the circles pop up fast and furious, and it takes only a few missed chances to get a “game over” screen. My advice would be to start out on “Easy Mode” first.

If all “Elite Beat Agents” offered was its gameplay, it would be an appealing title in and of itself. But the winning, silly story line catapults the game over the top into classic territory.

Hands down, “Agents” is one of the best games for the DS this year. It makes perfect use of the handheld’s capabilities and is funny and addictive enough to ensure you’ll be playing the game for weeks to come.

After all, someone has to make sure Jane hooks up with that quarterback.

Copyright The Patriot-News, 2006


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