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November 2006



- Pick-up and play

- Ramping difficulty levels and unlockables

- Eclectic mix of songs supports the eclectic mix of "missions" for the Agents

- Fun!



- Slightly scratchy sound

- Some songs won't rub everyone the right way



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Elite Beat Agents

Score: 9.0 / 10


Lets just drop-kick an objective evaluation of Elite Beat Agents right out the door.  Up until I put stylus to touchscreen, my only understanding of the game came from Kurtís effusive praise of the Japanese version at E3 Ė he was giddy.  And after five minutes of the North American version, I was hooked.


elite beat agents          elite beat agents


Elite Beat Agents has just about everything you could ever ask of a game, nevermind that itís on a handheld.  Itís great in either long or short bursts, great music (mostly), a test of skill and occasionally endurance, and a straightforward gameplay concept thatís couched in maybe the most likeable environments since the original WarioWare Mega Microgames.


From what I can gather, the Elite Beat Agents are kind of like the Three Fates (read a book!), influencing outcomes by cheerleading (honest), with Commander 




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Kahn digging up the missions to send them on.  The missions are almost as varied as the eclectic mix of tunes that accompany them, which include Sk8ter Boi, YMCA, Brown Sugar, Walkie Talkie Man, Believe and Youíre The Inspiration.  The Agents are sent to help get a pug home, help a white blood cell (represented by a nurse) fight a nasty virus, restore confidence and 


swagger to a down-on-his-luck ball player by helping him defeat a rampaging fire golem, help a treasure hunter find treasure, and eventually save the world with the power of music.


Gameplay boils down to tapping and drawing the stylus across the touchscreen in beat with the music and as indicated by the onscreen cues.  Successfully matching the beats allows you to string combos along, and keep the ďbeat meterĒ in the yellow, which is constantly running down and takes an even bigger hit when you fail to match the beats. (On the higher difficulties, missing even one beat almost forces a restart.)  And it completely and utterly drew me in, even if I didnít particularly like the song, like Material Girl or Canned Heat.  Iíve run down the battery on my DS three times (in almost as many days) playing Elite Beat Agents!


As important as audio is to Elite Beat Agents, the actual quality of the audio isnít awesome Ė but it does mask the fact that each song is a cover sung by names you wonít recognize.  Though slightly scratchy, it certainly doesnít detract from the experience.


Not content with having varying levels of difficulty for the single-player campaign, the developer also included a variety of multiplayer modes, including the ability to battle yourself using ghost data from the single-player levels.  The only way to have access to all the modes is to play against someone that also has Elite Beat Agents, but you can also utilize a limited download option, which should be enough of a taste of the game to encourage Agent-less DS owners to go out and buy a copy.


If you only buy a handful of games each year Elite Beat Agents should be among them.  Itís fun, plain and simple.  And really what price can you put on fun?


- Omni

(December 22, 2006)


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