This rhythm game's placement might surprise you.
Elite Beat Agents/Ouendan
Music can be a very powerful thing in our lives. Video games can be a very fun and addicting diversion. If you combine the two, you can create a video game experience unlike any other in the market. Video games allow players to become everything from rock stars to master dancers. The DS was no slouch when it came to rhythm and music games, and one of its crowning achievements in this genre is Ouendan/Elite Beat Agents.
If you are a long time reader of the site then you know that Ouendan has been one of Nintendo World Report’s favorite import titles for the DS. When the original Ouendan was first released, it surprised gamers with its unique take on the rhythm game genre. You play as the Ouendan, a group of Japanese male cheerleaders whose goal is to save the day with the power of cheer. Each song tells a different story, ranging from hilarious to very sad and heartwarming. The soundtrack is a very eclectic selection of songs that span Japan’s rich musical history, featuring everything from 1970s classics to modern J-Pop.
But what made the game an import star was the gameplay. Ouendan was one of the first music games, alongside Jam with the Band, to use the DS’s touch screen as a major gameplay component. On the bottom screen, dots would appear. Outside of the dots, a shrinking circle would appear. Players have to hit the dot just as the circle appears within its range. As simple as that sounds, the dots would appear in rhythm to the music, making it a very fun growing challenge.
The catchy music, the engaging gameplay and the fascinating story made Ouendan not just one of the best DS imports, but one of the best games on the system. Such was the success of the title as an import game that iNiS, the game’s developers, and Nintendo decided to bring the game over to North America. But with the original game being a very Japanese-centric title, they decided to revamp the game so it would feature a more American aesthetic. That game became Elite Beat Agents.
The gameplay concept remained the same, but the whole theme was changed. Rather than playing as male cheerleaders, players controlled the Elite Beat Agents, a secret government agency dedicated to solving the world’s problems through music and dance. Even when the stories took place in situations common in North America, Elite Beat Agents retained the same quirkiness that made Ouendan such a fun title.
Most gamers criticized the soundtrack for being filled with too much pop-rock, but iNiS used the songs wisely, creating really fun stories and very lovable characters. Elite Beat Agents received a lot of praise during its release, and it became a DS cult classic.
In 2007, a sequel to the original Ouendan was released. It featured many of the improvements seen in Elite Beat Agents while adding a second cheerleading group and even more songs to the Ouendan mythos.
The captivating nature of music combined with the ease and appeal of the DS made Ouendan/Elite Beat Agents one of the games to own on the DS. Whether you went through the trouble of importing the original Ouendan or preferred the American version, there was a guarantee that you would be enthralled by it all.