Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure
Reviewed: 12/25/2003


When first holding a copy of Rhapsody, one might be expecting the play to be humorous in that silly child-like way, while perhaps also getting in touch with the feminine side. What the holder probably can’t see coming is how painfully uninspired the gameplay really is.

The game centers around a young lady named Cornet who is in search of her own Prince Charming. She also likes singing at completely random times, for no particular reason, as is the trend in this “musical adventure.” Regrettfully, the larger part of gamers out there will find the music a bit too kiddish for their liking and a tad on the corny side. I can’t really deduct many points for this, because I’m apparently not part of the game’s target audience. The said audience is likely to be girls of ages 5-12 who have never played an RPG before. So, like I said, I can’t take too many points away for the bad music, cheesy characters, or extreme lack of challenge.

I can, however, freely slam the dungeonplay. The castles, caves, and other places Cornet must find her way through are poorly laid-out, and demonstrate no imagination with their dullness. Every screen looks like a different jigsaw puzzle piece–very standard, and lacking in variety. On any given screen of a dungeon, you’ll feel like you’ve been there before, because they all look the same. For example, the inside of the Fire Cave looks exactly like the Ice Cave, except with a red tint in the background instead of a blue tint. Take away colored tint altogether, and you have a regular cave. Essentially, players are forced to play the same dungeon 50 times, but with their “pieces,” rearranged. This kind of gameplay causes boredom and aggrivation, and shows that this game’s makers didn’t care about the quality of their game.

One of the very few redeeming qualities of Rhapsody is the graphics. The game does look very nice, and possesses a very “Legend-of-Mana-type” feel. So while you’re wishing there was an actual challenge in front of you, you can feel minor joy in admiring the nice visuals.

Sceen Shot
Oh, it looks fun in the screenshots, but…

The battle system is unique, but that can’t save it from its own mediocrity. The party takes on enemies in a grid-based system, but not one like tactical RPGs. Other than the fact that certain special attacks have a limited range, the grid and your location on it have no effect on the battle. Unlike RPGs that used thought in the battle system, no increase in power or hit rate is given to those who tactfully move behind their enemies. The only thing the battle grid is good for is wasting your life. Even Cornet’s humorous specials can’t overpower the low quality of the battle system…

This is sad, because Rhapsody‘s interface is actually good, and could perhaps have been a big redeemer if the battle system hadn’t sucked so much, and if the game hadn’t been unrealistically easy. That said ease also means you’ll never really have to go into the menu anyway, so this well-organized interface goes unnoticed–trampled down by an army of screw-ups.

It hurts to see games like this hit the market. Rhapsody is a unique game whose target audience doesn’t get many RPGs on a non-handheld machine, and seeing the one game they do get this century play so horribly is disappointing and frustrating.

-Heath Hindman

Score Breakdown
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Horrible
Story Bad
Graphics Very Good
Sound/Music Below Average
Replay Value N/A
The Verdict: Bad