Vib Ribbon


Review by Roloff de Jeu



Graphics: 6

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8

Not really a “digging” or “going underground” game, but nevertheless a game you’ll really DIG. Yo the beat is strong, but the night is long.

Recently, I was interviewed for a big article on collecting in one of our national Newspapers here in Holland. Although the journalist was rather obsessed with my small collection of airsickness bags, my Atari 2600 collecting got some attention too. In the article I stated that one of the prime reasons for collecting and playing classic videogames was that the simplicity and gameplay really hasn’t been surpassed yet. “Cyberbabe Lara Croft is popular mainly because of her big tits” as I said in the article. To give the fine programmers at Eidos and the adventure/action part of the game some credit, I had the journalist replace ‘simply because’ with ‘mainly because’.

I found that not too much new stuff is going on in the land of 64bit gaming. But then I visited The Basement of Hunter Place, and got totally hooked on a recent game genre from the land of the Rising Sun. Take away a Japanese craving for fighting-madness, pachinko-craze and love for everything kawchien aaaiiii (cute), and only left is… karaoke!

A couple of years ago Dance Dance Revolution, Beat Mania and other music-based games found their ways to the Japanese arcades and took over the country. These games were then adapted to our favorite home-consoles (mainly PlayStation).

One very addictive game converted to the PS2 is Guitar Freaks. The game is played with a special Guitar-joystick, about the size of a ukelele. You play along with one of the many well performed tunes, as you hit the marks that fall along the sides of the screen, by hitting buttons on the guitar, as well as toggle a special knob. Other PlayStation music games that feature special peripherals are Beat Mania, Drum Mania (PS2), and Dance Dance Revolution. For the Dreamcast there’s Samba de Amigo (and a 2000 version), which is played with Maracas-controllers.

However, these fancy controllers come with a hefty price tag, and aren’t always as easy controllable as you’d hope. Luckily there’s karaoke & dance games that can be played with regular controllers. Bust-a-Groove by Enix is a great dancing game made for the PlayStation, Space Channel 5 is for the Dreamcast. A truly original wild karaoke based game that can be played with a regular controller is PaRappa the Rapper, which was released some years ago. Now, after a successful follow-up called Um Jammer Lammy, mastermind Masaya Matsuura gives us Vib Ribbon.

It’s incredible simplicity reminds you of the true old classics, and its vector-style graphics which haven’t been seen in computer games for a decade or so, add to that classic feel. You’d almost want to stick a colored sheet onto your TV to give the B/W game some color. Actually, the graphics look like they were scribbled by a kid with a crayola stuck to a vibrator. Nevertheless, it’s the most awesome game I’ve seen in years.

The goal is simple: you, being Vibri the rabbit, have to walk across this platform that looks more like a hot wheels track, with nasty pits and loopings and other obstacles. As you walk in tempo of the rhythm of the boogie, the beat, bobbing your head or taping your feet, you try pressing the right buttons at the right time. This gets harder as the music and speed of the track you walk on speed up, and advance to tougher levels. Also, when you take a wrong step, you and your vector world start to jitter and jiggle, which makes the timing harder.

How is this fun? The graphics are incredibly funny, as are the ridiculous songs and semi English-Japanese lyrics. And it is a touch game, but in all it’s simplicity daring enough to try and master The Vibri Walk. A couple of Asahis might help, as well as a bunch of friends. An added bonus is that you can load up your own favorite songs from your favorite albums. DP Staffers generally like to put in old ‘80s classics, but you might as well groove on the mellow tunes of the new Madonna album, or be the ultimate nerd in town and impress all your geeky friends by finishing all levels walking along the tunes of Andy & Garcia’s Pac-Man Fever CD. As long as there’s some good tempo to the songs.

In all, this will be the best and most addictive black & white game you’ll see in some time to come, something I haven’t witnessed in years. Unfortunately, the game is only available as Japanese or European import, and will unlikely ever be released in the U.S.

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Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:36 PM