Elite Beat Agents- A gone but not forgotten rythm game.

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I’ve been feeling very nostalgic lately, I honestly feel that the DS/PSP handheld era was the greatest time to own a handheld console. The staggering amount of games available for both platforms was simply amazing. One of those games was ‘Elite Beat Agents’ for the Nintendo DS

The ‘Elite Beat Agents’

‘Elite Beat Agents’ was a rhythm game that was available for the Nintendo DS, you would tap on onscreen prompts to the beat of a catchy song (ranging from Avril lavigne to Madonna ) As you tapped out the beats, the game would run a cut scene that usually told some kind of story that was not always relevant to the song but was usually pretty humorous.

The accuracy and timing at which you tapped the onscreen prompts played a part in the cut-scene as well. Let’s say you missed a prompt or two,the mess up would eventually translate to failure in the cut-scene(in the case of sk8er Boi) failure would mean that the taxi driver would not be able to get the pregnant lady to the hospital, resulting in a game over. Not only was there a cut-scene, but the eponymous ‘Elite Beat Agents’ provide their own brand of comedy by dancing and posing as you tap along to song.

Gameplay from EBA

The EBA are government agents who are tasked to help people in need, when you start a mission, a scene plays where someone in need and calls out for help prompting the Elite Beat Agents to show up and dance and cheer the player on as they play through the mission.Usually between each cut-scene, you’ll you have see an animation of the agents, dancing,posing or tapping along to the song that’s being played during the course.

What made EBA so much fun was the gameplay. As a kid that grew up playing ‘Stepmania‘ and ‘Dance Dance Revolution‘ playing a rhythm game on a small handheld touchscreen was completely foreign to me. However this didn’t take a from the franticness that I felt while playing the game. On higher difficulties the game would become manic, with many complex patterns that would pop up on screen faster and faster. In EBA and OSU! you can only mess up a total of three times before you were hit with a game over screen. ‘Elite Beat Agents’ was a game that was easy to pick up but difficult to master, especially on higher difficulties in later parts of the game.

The presentation and the fun of it all helped to belay the frustration and was more than enough to make you smile and hum along. The music selection was pretty varied as well, you had covers of aforementioned artists like Madonna and Avril Lavigne to music from the Jackson Five and Destiny’s Child. To my knowledge there was also a multiplayer component that I never got to experience for myself however from the videos I’ve seen on youtube, it’s really no different from the single-player section, the only difference being that there are different agents involved (one of them being a a trio of Charlie’s Angels look alikes)

EBA team2

Elite Beat Agents, in my opinion would be an excellent game to revive in this new era of touch screen capable mobile devices, though I’d be worried about people breaking their screens trying to frantically hit all the on screen prompts! On top of that it would be just plain nice to see ‘Elite Beat Agents’ revived again. From what I remember, EBA is related to a DS rhythm game that was only released in Japan known as ‘ Osu!Tatakae! Ouendan’ (Yeah! Fight! Cheer Squad) which was the same Idea but with music from Japanese artists instead of American ones. The premise for OSU was mostly the same, except instead of Agents, you have ‘Cheerleaders’ (Honestly they looked more like Yakuza if anything). Other than that the games are mostly the same. Osu even has it’s sequel in Japan in comparison to the one ‘Elite Beat Agents’ game that we received stateside.

This era of gaming in general has a dearth of quality rhythm games that are of notable mention. The only games I can think of off the top of my head is Hatsune Miku and The IdolMaster with the former being the more recognizable title that’s seen a deception here in America. We’ll have to see what developers might come up with. However right now? I wouldn’t mind some groovy government agents helping me jam out to ‘Sk8er Boi’!

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