Elite Beat Agents rock Nintendo DS during trip
Many, many months ago, I wrote here about the game that lured me into caring about the Nintendo DS - a highly original, visually intense music title called Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! Illustrated with classic Japanese manga-style artwork, the game was half comic book, half rhythm and percussion, and 100% rockin. To this day, it’s one of the best titles to demonstrate the DS’s unique double-screened, touch-sensitive design and audio hardware.
It took more than a year, but Nintendo and original developer iNiS have just released Elite Beat Agents, a thorough remake of Ouendan designed to appeal - well, more - to American audiences. Elite Beat Agents (EBA) preserves Ouendan’s gameplay, art and storytelling styles, and even its key theme - various people in troubling situations call out a team of three guys to help rock them out of their blues. You use the touchscreen to tap your way through a number of songs, each increasing in number and speed of beats as you go along, and watch the scenarios play out on the top screen while you’re tapping or taking a breather. As a brief recap of our prior article, a number appears on screen with a concentric, ever-shrinking circle; you use the DS’s stylus to tap the number at the second the circle directly overlaps the number, keeping the beat. A mediocre but explanatory video can be found here.
During this trip to Japan, EBA has been receiving more than its fair share of attention relative to the iPods we’ve been carrying. It’s taken me several days worth of airplane, subway, and train rides to beat just the beginner level version of the game, which was more than modestly entertaining throughout its entire run thanks to both the scenarios and music. There was the babysitter who’s forced to take care of kids while on a date of sorts, the Paris and Nicky Hilton wannabes marooned on a desert island, the washed-out baseball player, and the bankrupt oilman with the big-spending wife - all short comic-strip presentations, set to songs recognizable by Westerners. David Bowie’s Let’s Dance, Jamiroquai’s Canned Heat, Avril Lavigne’s Sk8tr Boi, and The Rolling Stones’ Jumpin’ Jack Flash are just a handful of the tracks.
The nice surprise here: unlike Nintendo’s earlier Donkey Konga drum title, which used almost repulsively bad remakes of the featured songs, EBA’s versions are close enough to the original songs that you won’t mind any of them - they actually sound good enough to just enjoy while you’re tapping through the game. And even having finished the Beginners’ version of the game, complete with a real and exciting ending, there were tracks - such as one from the Jackson 5, and one from Madonna - that I hadn’t heard yet. All the more reason to replay, which I intend to do as we prepare to fly to Singapore tomorrow.
Elite Beat Agents is the sort of game the iPod needs if it wants to be a credible game playing device - a nice mix of music and art that takes advantage of a unique control scheme and keeps you rocking. It’s definitely one of my favorite DS titles, and hugely worth your time if you have a system - otherwise, a good wish list item for the holidays.
If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods or accessories, or if you sell or market products, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators. Wondering why we're talking about something other than iPods? Check the Archives: Backstage has been here and kicking it since 2004.
- Apps of the Week: SimCity BuildIt, Run Sackboy! Run!, Star Wars: Galactic Defense + more
- Trent Reznor working on Apple music project
- Magazine publisher Fleishman explains iOS Newsstand’s failure
- Jony Ive: Apple Watch was a ‘design challenge’
- Apple reverses course on iOS calculator widgets
- Tim Cook: ‘I’m proud to be gay’
- AT&T and Verizon tracking customer web activity
- iOS updates causing Mophie Juice Pack Air compatibility problems?
- FTC launches complaint against AT&T over unlimited data throttling policies
- Apple VP Joswiak testy at Code/Mobile event
- Rokform Crystal v3 for iPhone 6
- Uniq Bodycon, LifePro, and Helio for iPhone 6 + Bodycon for iPhone 6 Plus
- Trident Case Aegis, Cyclops, Kraken A.M.S. + Perseus for iPhone 6
- Incipio Stowaway Advance for iPhone 6 Plus
- Apple iPad Air 2 Smart Case
- Apple iPad mini 3
- Alpine Headphones
- Apple iPad Air 2
- Speck MightyShell for iPhone 6
- Misfit Flash Fitness + Sleep Monitor
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 8.1
- An Easy Guide To Setting Up + Using Apple Pay In iOS 8.1
- Ten Things You Didn’t Know About iPad Air 2 + iPad mini 3
- Mind The Gap: What’s iPad’s Role In An iPhone 6 (Plus) World?
- Editorial: Why I Switched To T-Mobile (And You Might, Too)
- The Early Guide To Apple Watch Apps
- iLounge’s Top iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 Plus Case Picks (Fall 2014)
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 8.0
- Multi-Editorial: On Apple’s iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus + Apple Watch
- What’s New In Apple TV 7.0