Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure
|Rhythm Thief & the Emperor’s Treasure|
|Platform(s)||Nintendo 3DS, iOS|
|Genre(s)||Rhythm, puzzle, adventure|
Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure, known in Japan as Rhythm Thief R: Emperor Napoleon's Legacy (リズム怪盗R 皇帝ナポレオンの遺産 Rizumu Kaitō Āru: Kōtei Naporeon no Isan), is a rhythm puzzle adventure video game co-developed by Sega and Xeen for the Nintendo 3DS. It was released worldwide in 2012. An abridged port for iOS devices, titled Rhythm Thief & the Paris Caper, was released in Japan in October 2013, and in North America and Europe in January 2014.
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In the game's prologue, the casket of former French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte is mysteriously stolen from Les Invalides in the city of Paris, and as a result, Napoleon is resurrected. Three years later, in present day, an 18-year-old boy named Raphael is leading a double life as an art thief named Phantom R, searching for the whereabouts of his father who disappeared around the same time Napoleon's casket was stolen. Phantom R steals works of art, and returns them a few days later for reasons unknown to the public.
After stealing a bracelet from the Louvre that bears the same symbol as a coin left behind by his father, Raphael encounters a girl named Marie who possesses a violin bearing the same symbol. However, she is being chased by a man claiming to be Napoleon, who demands an item known as the 'Dragon Crown.' Phantom R saves Marie and they visit Notre Dame where they recover the Dragon Crown for themselves. Phantom R also meets Jean-François, who serves as Marie's guardian at her convent. Phantom R visits Napoleon's underground hideout where he learns of someone working for Napoleon referred to as 'Graf' who Phantom R believes is his father. In order to further find clues about his father, and Napoleon, Phantom R visits the Paris Opera, and steals the 'Queen's Pendant' from Duchess Elisabeth. Marie also visits the opera, as Jean-François believes that Elisabeth is her mother. However, Elisabeth promptly denies this, and Marie runs off crying. Phantom R narrowly dodges arrest and takes Marie back to his flat where he reveals the true reason behind his acts of theft. His father, Isaac, was a forger and Phantom R was returning the true paintings hidden in his apartment.
Marie is invited to perform in the orchestra during an event in Versailles, and Phantom R takes the chance to investigate. However, Marie is kidnapped by Napoleon. Napoleon offers to exchange Marie for the Dragon Crown. Phantom R accepts the deal, and visits the Eiffel Tower along with help from his nemesis' daughter, Charlie. On the platform on the tower, Phantom R meets with Napoleon and Marie. Phantom R gives Napoleon a fake sabotaged Dragon Crown which releases gas obscuring Napoleon's view, and runs off with Marie. However, Jean-François prevents their escape from the tower by firing upon Phantom R with a handgun. Marie is taken back by Napoleon's troops and Jean-François removes the true Dragon Crown from Phantom R. Jean-François then reveals that Marie is the true key and that he was the one known as 'Graf.' Phantom R narrowly escapes being fatally shot as Charlie swoops down in a hang glider and flies off with Phantom R.
After a crash landing, Phantom R makes his way across Paris to put a stop to Napoleon's plans. Napoleon threatens Marie with the life of her mother (who turns out to be Duchess Elisabeth) and forces her to play her violin. As she finishes the song, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon emerge from the ground and float over the city. Napoleon declares them his "greatest possession, most powerful of all weapons." The Gardens create a huge storm which begins to destroy the city.
Phantom R climbs the Eiffel Tower and boards the hanging gardens along with the Paris police force, who arrest Jean-François. He enters the heart of the Gardens and has a swordfight with Napoleon. Phantom R brings Napoleon to his knees, who then explains his plot. He admits his true name is Leonard Bonar and that he is merely standing in place while the true emperor's body is restored. Their plan was to destroy Paris and allow Napoleon to rebuild it under his rule. Bonar believes they have triumphed, and allows himself to fall to his death in the Gardens feeling his work is done. Phantom R and Marie destroy the Gardens and barely escape as it collapses in the Champ de Mars. The city celebrates and Duchess Elisabeth explains how Marie shares the bloodline of France and Babylon. Phantom R promises her he will find his father and dances with Marie before they part. After the credits, Phantom R's father is seen talking to the real Napoleon.
The game's main action takes place in the Story Mode, where players follow Raphael as he investigates the mystery surrounding his father's disappearance and the resurrection of Napoleon. Throughout the story, players will navigate various areas across Paris, conversing with NPCs and solving puzzles to progress through the story. By touching various areas on the touch screen, players can find medals, people to talk to, and hidden music scores. Certain areas will also record sounds, which can be used to solve puzzles or construct the Master Instrument. Careful exploration by the player can reveal hidden rhythm games and story branches. Medals earned from rhythm games and found in areas can be spent in a shop to unlock additional minigames and movie clips.
During the story, players will encounter a series of rhythm games which are controlled by using the Nintendo 3DS's touch screen, face buttons or gyroscopic controls. Types of levels featured include swiping the stylus to match up with other dancers, tapping the touch screen to hide behind statues, pressing buttons to fight off groups of enemies and tilting the console to dodge attacks. The game also features tributes to past Sega rhythm games such as Space Channel 5 and Samba de Amigo. Additional medals can be earned depending on the rank players receive. The game also features wireless multiplayer for up to two players to compete for the highest score and Streetpass functionality where players can challenge others to beat a high score.
Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure was officially announced by Sega on August 30, 2011. In the Japanese version, the opening theme is "Clair de Lune" (クレアデルネ Kurea de Rune) by Miwa while the ending theme is "Story" by Ai. In the Western version, the ending theme is "Je te dis au revoir" (I say goodbye) by Kahimi Karie. The official soundtrack was released on February 15, 2012. In June 2012, the game's director, Shun Nakamura, stated that he was interested in making a sequel for the Nintendo 3DS or Wii U.
A spin off of the game, titled Rhythm Kaitou R Premium Live, was released in Japan on October 30, 2013, for the iPhone and iPad. It adds new social elements and music not present in the original 3DS version. An English version of Premium Live was planned for release in early 2014 under the title Rhythm Thief & the Paris Caper. Whilst initially planned as a free app with additional paid content, the game was released on January 9, 2014, as a priced title. On January 10, 2014, the game was pulled from the App Store due to bugs, although it returned shortly after.
Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure received mostly positive reviews, possessing a score of 76 on Metacritic. Famitsu scored the game 32/40 with four reviews of 8/10. IGN gave the game a score of 8.0, praising its delightful tunes and gameplay, although criticising the inclusion of gyroscope controls. GameSpot gave the game a score of 8.0, calling it "an enchanting rhythm adventure that really brings the funk." CVG gave a score of 7.6, praising its rhythm gameplay while criticising its puzzle elements. Official Nintendo Magazine gave the game 88%, calling it "a brilliant adventure whose shortness is its only drawback." Eurogamer gave the game 8/10, calling it "stylish, personable and effortlessly idiosyncratic." GamesRadar gave the game 4/5 stars, praising its variety of games and innovative use of the controls whilst criticising some forgettable songs.
- "Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure Announcement". Sega. 30 August 2011.
- East, Thomas (26 June 2012). "Rhythm Thief developer would like to make Wii U version". Official Nintendo Magazine. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
- "iPhone、iPad向け『リズム怪盗R プレミアムライブ』配信決定!". Sega-Net.com. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
- Gera, Emily (10 January 2014). "Rhythm Thief pulled from the App Store over bugs after one day". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved 10 January 2014.