Superb handheld rhythm-action game Elite Beat Agents is finally set for release in Europe, with Nintendo confirming a 13th July date this morning.
Often when it comes to assessing the cross-Pacific paddle of a treasured Japanese videogame - particularly something of a musical bent - it's a case for us of bemoaning the inevitable infusion of Western cultural icons. Like Avril Lavigne. Worse, you're forced to note that even lifeless, incomprehensible babble in another language, or happy cartoon scrawls with outsized heads and mental flapping arms, sweep you along on waves of sympathy far greater than any of those inspired by the phoned-in nonsense scraped from the reels of an LA recording booth, or squeezed from the underpaid pencil of whichever intern's borrowing the "artist" credit that morning.
But in the case of Elite Beat Agents - the Western reinvention of cult sensation Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan - there's no need. After all, thanks to the DS' multi-region sympathies, you can simply play through Ouendan in Japanese, as we're so fond of pointing out, and indeed any inexplicability there only adds to the fun. Elite Beat Agents is merely a second serving for people who don't do imports. At least, that's the theory - but, as we discovered when we danced through it earlier this month, the biggest surprise is that you can happily own and love both. EBA is just as ace.
Rather like Harmonix' rhythm-action games FreQuency and Amplitude, and even Guitar Hero, neither Ouendan or EBA really owes its brilliance to the specific music. You may snottily declare that it's Asian Kung-Fu Generation and Yaida Hitomi or nothing for you, but those of a slightly more open mind will discover that levels featuring Madonna's Material Girl, and Jumpin' Jack Flash, are every bit as good. Even the awful Lavigne is palatable and - I'm not even sure my Word processor will accept these words - Cher's Believe is surprisingly playable.
Elite Beat Agents - the Western take on brilliant Japanese DS rhythm-action import Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan - is due out on 6th November in the US and finally we have the track-listing.
Nintendo's finally talked about a Western version of cult DS title Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan at this year's E3 - although it got a bit lost in all the excitement.