The Best Game Nobody Played: Elite Beat Agents

Before Guitar Hero came along and revolutionized the music genre with plastic guitars and rock anthems, the music scene was a very Japanese-style niche market. There were the well-known DDRs and Beatmanias, and then there was Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan, a rhythm DS game that had you play as a cheer squad that went around and cheered to save the world. Dancing to J-pop, the cheer squad would help a student pass an entrance exam or help people move on from their loved ones after they passed. It’s super quirky and tons of fun. So much fun that it was imported in great amounts, enough for Nintendo to work on an English version.

Elite Beat Agents, a more subdued version of Ouendan, launched in the US in 2006. It replaced the cheer squad with secret agents and Japanese songs for English ones. However, the core mechanic of singing to save the world remained the same. From heartbreaking to comedic, the Beat Agents met with all sorts of people to solve their issues. Few music games try to tie together a story and it’s amazing how much witty and interesting stories were crammed into the tiny DS cartridge.

The actual game mechanics were no slouch, either. Following a hitmarker with your stylus, it was a challenging but rewarding experience. It was engaging, but never grew tedious. Unfortunately, sales were lower than Nintendo had hoped for. While Ouendan received a sequel in Japan, there was no such luck here.

Go buy it now!

That is absolutely depressing. Elite Beat Agents is probably the best music game in recent history, and that’s coming from a hardcore rhythm gamer. As the owner of a DDR mat, Donkey Konga kongas, 2 drum sets, 3 guitars, 4 mics, and a DJ turntable, it turns out that a tiny, quirky title would end up being the best music experience.

Written by: Alex Wen

Find me on Steam, XBL, PSN as havoklegend. I'd give you my Wii friend code too, but nobody remembers those.

  • VampiricDragon

    I played it, and imported

  • haiby

    Diva Mode ~ that is all

  • Devin Hudson

    I like the game, but I’m just not very good at it. I couldn’t beat most songs on anything past easy, which sucks since I know you can unlock more songs by playing on harder difficulties. I definitely tried since I like the music and stories in the game, but having rhythm is something I can’t do no matter how much I practice.

  • Luke Frazier

    Just looked up some numbers…an 87% on Metacritic, yet only 179,000 copies sold in North America over two years afters its Stateside debut. The definition of a travesty.

    EBA was always on my To Buy list when I had a DS, but it was also always on my Easy To Put Off list of game purchases. Shame on me. And it’s only $10.24 on Amazon right now. $10.24! For one of the system’s all-time best titles! WHY! BUY!

    • VampiricDragon

      metacritic score means nothing, sales mean less about quality, I doubt those numbers are right

      the sequel is even better

      • Luke Frazier

        While not a perfect system, Metacritic still offers a rough indicator to the quality of a game.

        An 87%, for instance, should be high enough to at least spark some decent sales figures.

        • VampiricDragon

          i work for gamerankings, I know exactly how bad metacritic is. Its less than rough

          review score and sales arent corellated

          • Luke Frazier

            Elite Beat Agents has an 88.33% on GameRankings. How is that wildly different from Metacritic’s 87%?

          • VampiricDragon

            I know how gamerankings works too, they both need alot of work which is why I brought in

            Do you realize how many reviews are actually tracked percentage wise? the number would shock you.

            But its not about the score

            A score has no relation on sales.

          • Luke Frazier

            I wasn’t saying that a high score = high sales, rather that a high score should equal decent sales. In a perfect world, quality work would be rewarded.

          • Vampire Dragon

            perfect worlds……are dellusional worlds, A quote from someone I forgot

  • Jay Curtis

    This is one game that I’ve never played, but have been meaning to for years. Where do you rank it among the best DS games?