theuselessgod's Elite Beat Agents (Nintendo DS) review

One of the best music and DS games.

The Short


- Excellent Western interpretation of Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan.

- Keeps the same addicting gameplay of the original with a ton of Western songs

- Genres range from rock to pop to punk to...Jackson 5.

- Sixteen missions with three secret missions add up to a lot of content

- Keeps the same goofy premise, hilarious cutscenes, and absolute weirdness of the original


- Songs are all covers, and some sound pretty bad

- Sound quality over the DS speakers is a bit lame. Use headphones.

- Once you master it, you are sad because there isn't an Elite Beat Agents 2


The Long

It's no secret that I loved Osu! Tatake! Ouendan. However, I was a bit sad the game never saw a US release. I mean, the game is so addicting, so well crafted, and just so much fun it would make sense to bring it over here, right?

Well, yeah, actually, because they did just that. Elite Beat Agents is Ouendan, but for the West. And guess what? It's fantastic too.

I love that the director looks like Peter Jackson.

Similar to Ouendan, the plot of Elite Beat Agents revolves around an elite government society that is there to help you get your groove on. Under-motivated? Depressed? Upset? Simply call for help and the Elite Beat Agents will break into your house and start dancin' until you are motivated to get done what needs doin'!

While Ouendan was absurd because these were a bunch of male cheerleaders (which, in my opinion, is funner than a government agency), Elite Beat Agents is not going to be outdone for weirdness. While the scenarios in Ouendan were over the top, EBA takes it to a new level. What, a Pug trying to get home to the tune of Highway Star isn't funny enough for you? What about a baseball player who is washed up, working at an amusement park, when a FIRE BREATHING GOLEM attacks for no reason? What about a zombie outbreak where a trucker equips a gun that shoots bitter peanuts at said zombies, turning them back to normal people? What about aliens invading and banning music so nothing but literally the power of rock can create a giant music rock laser and blast them from the skies?

Yeah, and that ain't even the half of it. Elite Beat Agents makes Ouendan look downright subtle.

This game is surprisingly heavy on the cultural jokes.

The gameplay remains the exact same. You have a bar at the top that is constantly draining, so to keep it from running out and the music from dying forever you gotta dance. And by "dance" I mean "tap or slide or spin the buttons to the beat." As before there are three tiers of scoring, each giving more life (and I guess "miss" and "bad" but getting those just sucks so I never counted them) as well as points. Combos are imperative for high scores, as well as staying alive. It's still extremely addicting, very fast, and really fun.

Also as before we have the same four levels of difficulty, with Insane being Hard with smaller buttons and the stages reversed. It's a downright dexterous challenge, so be sure and take a break or your stylus hand will start cramping up. The final song (Jumping Jack Flash in sort of a weird, rockinger cover) is absolutely absurd in its level of difficulty on Insane, and beating that will make you feel like a downright rock god.

Peter Jackson's Cat Kong.

The game looks identical to Ouendan, all the way down to the art style. You have the same 3D models on bottom with animated scenes on top, all over the top and absurd. I'll admit Ouendan is a bit more flamboyant in its overacting, but Elite Beat Agents manages to fill its own unique space with its stupid premises, so the games are distinct but still very similar.

The soundtrack really makes or breaks this game for some, and it's...a mixed bag. As much as I hate Skater Boy, playing You're The Inspiration by Chicago in a game like this is just awesome, as well as Bowie's Just Dance and the Stones' Jumpin' Jack Flash. There's a good deal of modern rock as well, such as Good Charlotte and Hoobastink, weirdly enough. It's worth noting, however, that these are all covers, and not the Guitar Hero 2 kind where they actually tried to pick singers that sound like the originals: these are very obviously covers. It didn't bug me much (though their version of Jumpin' Jack Flash, as I said earlier, is way heavier on the drums and guitar) but some purists might be annoyed.

The only true defenders.

Elite Beat Agents is one of my favorite DS games, if not my most favorite (it does have to compete with the Pokemon games). Fast, furious, and with tons of difficulty options and songs, Elite Beat Agents knocks it out of the park. Considering the game can be grabbed for under $10 easily from any used game store, you really should check it out. You will be pleasantly surprised, I assure you.

Tinny music and weird cover choices aside, Elite Beat Agents is a fantastic music game.



(Five out of five stars)

(also, this.)

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