Even the fat lady won't want to stop.
In the Far East, people are nuts about karaoke. After a hard day at the office, the working stiff takes his band of associates over to the K-Club, where they all let loose their worries over soulful ballads."In these private rooms filled with smoke and drink, they unwind, and for a brief moment, become singing superstars.
Karaoke hasn't quite caught on in the same way in the States, but it might just get the jumpstart it deserves from Konami's new singing game for everyone, Karaoke Revolution.
Konami has made a name for itself by putting the "active' into "interactive entertainment' with the Dance Dance Revolution craze. But where that game stresses insane dance step memorization, Karaoke Revolution puts your money where your mouth is.
Like any karaoke machine, the game offers up a list of songs. Pick your poison and sing away. It effectively measures the pitch of your voice against the correct pitch, and scores points accordingly." The more consistent your voice is with the actual tone, the higher the score."In turn, the higher difficulty settings require more points to get the bonuses, thus you are pushed to maintain better accuracy.
Regardless of the octave in which you sing, the game automatically searches for the proper tonality, so guys can still sing the girlie songs at their normal baritones."The voice analysis is pretty darn accurate, but'the game doesn't listen much to what you are saying."You can just as easily sing a Weird Al remix of any one of these songs, and as long as you keep the pitch, you still get your points.
For a speedy song like the unlockable Bare Naked Ladies' One Week, you can just "la, la, la" your way through provided you keep your tone in check. It's a little annoying, but I imagine it would have been really hard to program the game to critique pronunciation.
Karaoke Revolution provides a good range of material, though I would have liked to see more of the oldies and disco favorites." Requisite karaoke songs like YMCA aren't in here, but the song list does include "80s classic Broken Wings alongside recent hits like fake-pop-punk Avril's Are You Happy Now and the hammy Wind Beneath My Wings." The full list is available here.
The graphics are actually pretty good. You select a singing avatar who goes through the on-screen motions of singing."The motion capture effectively pulls off the look of a performer."Little lighting effects in the background and crowds that build steadily as your character gains in popularity are an excellent visual match. The in-game animations do a good job of matching the tone of the song, particularly the playful pop antics of the female singers.
If you're not interested in being judged on your performance, Karaoke Revolution also includes a Free Singing mode." That way you can sing without getting scored, which is especially useful to the untalented or the wailers.
So it's a decent karaoke machine, but how is it as a game? Well, I guess that depends on how well you sing. Someone with good vocal skills can easily hum through this game in one afternoon."Yet most of us aren't that talented; much to my chagrin, I realized that I'm not the diva I thought I was."But you can actually improve your skills by singing alone, though that's not where this game shines brightest.
As you might have guessed, the multiplayer is where it's at, and it's just tailor made for a party because it courts casual gamers in a non-threatening way." Everyone can open their mouth and sing a little, though usually their inhibitions have been to be loosened up a bit with some drinks. Up to eight players can compete against one another in the multiplayer mode. The mic is passed around and scores are kept for each of the competitors." There is only support for one mic, though, so no duets.
Speaking of which, the game supports and requires any USB headset, including the SOCOM one or any third party set such as one made by Logitech. If you don't have one, you can purchase the game with the headset as a $60 package; otherwise, the stand-alone game is $30.
In a very smart move, Karaoke Revolution has the ability to accept planned add-on discs." How much these discs will cost is not yet known, but likely small packs of songs should pop up for a modest price."
Clearly, Karaoke Revolution isn't for everyone."Gamers intent on a traditional skill-based challenge might be put off by this more broad-minded approach." But for the many casual gamers wanting to subvert their non-gamer friends and significant others, Karaoke Revolution is among the best, edging out the Eye Toy and even the traditional Dance Dance Revolution. It's just about the best party game around,"decisively hitting the right note in a new genre of games for everyone.