Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Jan 222024

When discussing the 25th anniversary of the Rhapsody series, I mentioned that I had started playing Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure.

I played it as part of the NIS Classics Volume 3 collection and finished it on the weekend.

Rhapsody is a cute, charming game. You play as Cornet, a girl who has the ability to talk to puppets and recruit them to join her party. You can also befriend monsters to use as party members, although I mainly stuck with the puppets once I had a few good ones.

Cornet dreams of winning the prince’s heart, and all looks like it’s going well… until he’s kidnapped. Cornet then sets out on a quest to save him, no matter what obstacles stand in her way. The premise feels almost like a fairy tale, although the writing also has a good dose of humor that kept me smiling throughout it.

And while it’s fairly straightforward, there are also secrets and side quests related to the puppets you recruit, which made it feel like I was regularly discovering new things despite it being pretty short for an RPG (it took me 12 hours).

Battles play out similarly to a strategy RPG, with Cornet and her party on a grid to fight the enemies, although I’d say it feels more like a regular turn-based RPG with movement. It’s also easy. Very easy. There was a slight difficulty spike at the end of the game, but until then I rarely had to worry about anything.

Now, you might be wondering about the “musical” part of the title. Does that just refer to the horn Cornet plays to recruit puppets? No, not at all. It is literally a musical. At key points in the story, characters break out into song (fully-voiced, too, despite the game’s age).

As an example, here is the antagonist’s musical number:

The musical aspect adds even more charm to what is already a charming game, and it makes me wonder what they could do with a modern sequel.

While I’ve praised it a lot so far, there is one thing I have to criticize it for, however – the dungeon design. Rhapsody has some of the most mind-numbingly boring dungeon design I’ve ever seen. Not only does it employ the “maze full of identical rooms and dead ends” approach, but there are exactly two visual styles that almost every dungeon in the game falls into. A new dungeon will be either a dungeon-like room with stone walls or a cave. That’s it. I can only think of two dungeons that had different designs, and they were also much shorter. The one saving grace is that since combat is so easy, at least getting lost in a maze of identical rooms isn’t too dangerous.

With that gripe aside, I quite enjoyed Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure. I’m happy they released it as part of NIS Classics Volume 3 for new players like me, and I look forward to trying the sequels!

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  4 Responses to “Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure is a Charming RPG”

  1. Having a musical game like that sounds really charming! I’m interested just from listening to the music alone. Are all the games in the series musicals like this, if they continue to be translated?

  2. The description of the combat makes me think it’s probably like Disgaea in terms of gameplay? The game sounds really cute. I never heard of it before.

    • Yes, I think it would be similar, although Disgaea focuses more on larger-scale battles from what I’ve seen of it (although I could be mistaken). I believe it’s considered a predecessor to Disgaea, too, since the store description says “experience a game that laid the foundation for the beloved Disgaea series with Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure.”

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