Gitaroo-Man is one of the strangest rhythm games I have played next to Samba de Amigo. Maybe you have heard of it if you are really into rhythm games, but I doubt you have played this fantastic 2002 Playstation 2 game, unless you found out about it through a friend or are Jim Sterling. Developed by iNiS, makers of Ouendan, Lips and Elite Beat Agents, Gitaroo-Man is just so damn crazy and is unlike any rhythm game I have played. I really canít stress this enough. This is mainly due to the gameplay and general aesthetic of the game. I have never really seen anything like it.
For those of you unfamiliar with Gitaroo-Man, the best way I can describe is a Rhythm Combat game. There are two main modes: Charge and Attack. Charge mode gives you health; Attack mode, well, causes you to attack your enemy. If you miss notes you lose health. The gameplay goes back in-between two different types, one where you have to press a button and move the stick along a path and a crosshair with scrolling notes in the form of buttons needing to be pressed in time with the songs.
Every song in Gitaroo-Man is essentially a boss fight. You are trying to pass a song and at the same time drain the bossí health. The Bosses themselves are quite insane. Ranging from a man in a bee suit to being attacked by a hammerhead shark in space (No I am not making this up), there is no real way to predict what you are going to fight unless you have seen it before or told by someone in advance.
Like with any rhythm game, the music either makes or breaks it. In the case of Gitaroo-Man the music is really memorable and has a great variety. The songs range from jazz to rock and upbeat rhythms and are all great, my personal favorite being Born to be Bone. Itís the one song besides the Legendary Theme that really sticks with me even years after playing it.
While not entirely forgotten after getting a re-release on the Playstation Portable as Gitaroo-Man Lives! in 2006, I feel like Gitaroo-Man is one rhytmn game a lot of people missed out on. Whether you enjoy current rhythm games or not, you really owe yourself to at least try out Gitaroo-Man. Especially if you enjoyed other character rhytmn games like Parappa The Rapper or UmJammer Lammy. Itís a hard find, but its very much worth it if you can get your hands on it. It is one of the strangest, most memorable rhythm game experiences I have ever had, and I urge you to experience it for yourself.