Elite Beat Agents Are Go!


I had heard about how [s]Japanese[/s] odd this game was before I purchased it, but the full force of it doesn’t strike you until you’ve played through a couple of levels.

You’re an Elite Beat Agent. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to find people stuck in sticky situations – like asking the high school quarterback to go steady, or saving the world from an alien invasion – and cheer them on to victory. That’s right, no super weapons or outright ass-kicking, you’re a secret agent/cheerleader.

This is a rhythm game with a unique DS twist: Instead of tapping buttons, you’re tapping the screen and following patterns with your stylus. I was surprised at the number of licensed songs in the game as well. I didn’t think the tiny DS carts could hold nineteen songs plus a game and animations.

While the game play may sound simple, the learning curve on this can be brutal. You may find yourself struggling to complete the easiest difficulty of the game. There’s even a story on the Internet of a disgruntled gamer viciously dashing his DS against the wall and then impaling it with a screwdriver after being unable to complete the last portion of a song. Sounds like a big ol’ crybaby to me!

Each song is presented with its own story wherein a difficult problem arises for the protagonist. Of course, it’s too much for them to handle alone and the Elite Beat Agents arrive to cheer them on their way to success.

The stories are laid out in a comic format using both of the DS’s screens. The comic format continues along with the game play on the top screen while you’re tapping out the songs on the lower screen.

The songs are generally laid out in three acts. How well you do in each of these acts determines not only your score but how well your target does in getting out of their jam. For instance, instead of getting rich by digging a new subway tunnel for the city, you may be fined for wreaking havoc with the subterranean infrastructure.

How well you do is measured by the Elite-o-Meter at the top of your screen. Every time you tap out a series of beats well, the meter goes up. Miss a beat and it begins to fall; once the meter is empty, you lose and have to try the song again.