Karaoke has existed for over 10 years, but even now it still is a great way to spend quality time with your friends and/or family. It’s easy to pick up and you can forget the dullness of life for some time. Your average Joe (whose voice usually can’t be compared to Celine Dion’s -not by a long shot-) gets the opportunity to sing and amuse himself. Some people over at Sony thought that their PlayStation 2, being the number one mainstream console, should have something comparable in its line-up. That’s why they ordered the London Studios, creators of the brilliant Eye Toy, to come up with something like it. A year later, they bring us Singstar. If you thought coming up with something original within 12 months was impossible, think again!
As you might have guessed, Singstar is a somewhat modernized form of karaoke. For once you don’t have to break the bank, because 55$/55€ will get you a disc with 30 tracks ànd two mics of outstanding quality. I was amazed by their sturdiness (nice and heavy -but not too heavy-). The easy installation of Singstar also deserves recommandation; you simply put the red and/or blue mic into the convertor and you jack everything into a free USB-port. Afterwards you just have to put the Singstar-DVD into you PS2 and you’re set.
After a funny intro, you end up in the main menu, where you get a shitload of different game modes. A short summary:•Quick Game (1 or 2 players): no nonsense, you just have to pick a song, start singing and try to get a great score. With two players, you can battle each other or sing a duet.
•Best of 3 (2 players): as the name implies, 3 tracks are played. Whoever wins 2 of them wins the match.
•Pass the mic (2-8 players): MAGNIFICENT mode in which 2 teams try to best each other. Each team member has to sing several lines and then give the mic to the next contender. The team with the highest score wins (obviously ). Get 7 of your friends, don’t be greedy on the alcohol, add some snacks to the mix and prepare for one hell of an evening!
•Freestyle (1 player): just sing, no scoring is involved. Somewhat useless, but hey.
•Star Maker (1 player): in Star Maker (a.k.a. Career Mode), the only thing that matters is collecting “buzz” (fame). At the start of your career, you’re only allowed to sing in small, sleazy bars, but as your reputation starts to rise, you get invited to the hottest clubs in town. You might just grab that record deal you’ve always wanted! You see, there’s even a lot of fun to be had in singleplayer. Of course, the game is based around multiplayer, but for shy people, this will certainly do.
As said, most game types involve scoring and ratings. This is done with a very nifty system. Next to the videoclip, the music and the lyrics of a song several bars also appear on your screen that represent tone heigth. If you sing more or less correct, the bars fill up and you score points. If you manage to sing a line almost perfectly, you get bonus points and a “star meter” gets filled, which makes it easier to score large bonuses. You really learn to sing with this game. Even someone who sings as bad as Britney Spears (or god save us, worse) will improve his or her singing within days. Furthermore, you can even put the Eye Toy into your PS2 to see yourself in action. It’ll make you realise how stupid you look when you’re yelling into a mic, drunk as a skunk.
The only thing that couldn’t always appeal to me was the tracklist. A lot of well-chosen songs are included (like Complicated from Avril Lavigne or Jamelia’s Superstar) and several golden oldies (Elvis’ Suspicious Minds or The Village People with the Y.M.C.A) really spice up the cake, but there’s also a lot of crap that made it onto the final release (Lamar, Dee-Lite, Busted, Blondie,…).
Westlife – World of our own
Lamar – 50/50
Atomic Kitten – Eternal Flame
Blue – One love
Good Charlotte – Girls & Boys
The Darkness – I believe in a thing called Love
Jamelia – Superstar
S Club – Don’t stop movin’
Ricky Martin – Livin’ la Vida Loca
Avril Lavigne – Complicated
Busted – Crashed the Wedding
Village People – Y.M.C.A.
Sugababes – Round Round
George Michael – Careless Whisper
Blondie – Heart of Glass
Elvis Presley – Suspicious Minds
Daniel Bedingfield – If you’re not the One
Carl Douglas – Kung Fu Fighting
A-ha – Take on Me
Liberty-X – Just a Little
Dee-Lite – Groove is in the Heart
Roy Orbison – Pretty Woman
Rick Astley – Never Gonna Give You Up
Madonna – Like a Virgin
Petula Clark – Downtown
Mötörhead – Ace of Spades
Mis-Teeq – Scandalous
Pink – Get the Part Started
Dido – Thank You
Sophie Ellis Bextor – Murder on the Dancefloor
Everyone looking for a party game, look no further, because Singstar will keep you busy for days on end. For just 55 bucks (or 55 euros) you get a collection of 30 songs and two well-crafted microphones. A lot of value for your hard-earned cash, if you ask me. And boys: Singstar is THE ideal way to get your girlfriend into gaming! And who wouldn’t want that?