Reviewed: December 2, 2005
Released: November 8, 2005
I think that just about everyone has entertained the idea of becoming a star at some point in their lives. There is a definite fantasy revolving around the idea of becoming a pop star, especially after four years of American Idol. If nothing else, we grow up with the notion that rock stars are the epitome of cool. Granted, that notion tends to wear thin after we get older and find ourselves embarrassed to admit that at one point, we owned an album from, you know, that one band. Still, it is fun to imagine being a star.
Karaoke Revolution Party allows you to play with that fantasy (a little bit, anyway.) While it does take a certain amount of moxie to play this karaoke game even in the privacy of your own home, there is a lot of good silly fun to be had once you’ve shed your stage fright. Can’t sing if your life depends on it? Don’t worry, that’s not really an issue. Just be conscious of your neighbors and other members of your household while you play.
Karaoke Revolution Party is pretty much like your own personal karaoke booth with a few extras that make it all the more fun. While I can’t say that I’ve personally been in a karaoke booth or bar, I can say that I now understand why the Japanese practically consider karaoke to be a national pastime.
In this game, there are several modes of play. With just one microphone (included with the game), up to seven other starry-eyed singers can battle you for a shot at earning coveted gold, platinum or diamond records. In One Mic Party, you can play arcade mode, and challenge other players to sing songs you can select from a list of fifty. The song selection ranges anywhere from seventies and eighties hits, to ballads, standards and more, so there should be enough variety for anyone who hasn’t lived away from a radio or television for the past 30 years.
Customize a character to act as your personal avatar, choose an arena, and sing your heart out. The words to the song pass along the bottom of the screen along with an arrow that gauges how well you hit the pitch of each word. Players gain points on how well they can hit the pitch through sections of the song, and the crowd in the game reacts accordingly. If you do well, the crowd will love you, and you will gain extra points.
If you’re like me and don’t have a good singing voice to speak of, no worries. As long as you can eventually hit the note correctly, then you will get those points. If you have a limited vocal range, you can certainly sing an octave lower or higher and get just as many points if you sang the song exactly in pitch. You don’t even have to know the lyrics to the songs. If you felt like singing, say, a Weird Al-like parody to the tune of “The Greatest Love of All,” then you most certainly could and without penalty. In fact, it might be even more fun.
Players can also challenge each other by singing medleys or playing the mini-games. The min-games had me rolling with laughter. In one, you must yell out the words “yo,” “dude,” and “rock” at three different pitches. Three different types of characters walk defiantly out onto a stage in front of a cheering crowd, and depending on the word designated to each character, how close they get to the end of the stage, and how well you hit the note, they will perform a stage dive. Hit the right note at just the right time, and they will dive into the audience and crowd surf. Hit the wrong note or get the timing off, then they face plant. Since I had a lot of trouble finding the correct pitch (I’m a tad tone deaf, I’ve found out) and the characters start to approach the stage at an alarming rate near the end of the challenge, needless to say, the cartoony face plant was seen a lot, much to my amusement.
Another mini-game allows players to use their voices to move a beach volleyball team up and down the court and hit the volleyball back and forth to the opposing player, kind of like Pong. This one isn’t quite as fun in my opinion, although it is easier and definitely helped me find notes and pitches, which help with the rest what the game has to offer.
If you have a dance pad, then the more coordinated amongst you can get a combined score through both singing and dancing. This mode of play takes even more guts than it takes to unabashedly belt out Gloria Estefan’s “Turn the Beat Around,” but you are now one step closer to becoming that pop star.
There are a few other modes as well, such as in two mic mode where players can either play on teams or sing duets if there is a second mic available. There is also the good old-fashioned karaoke mode, where the words are highlighted when they are to be sung if you just want to sing without worrying about being scored. I definitely recommend this mode if you want to get more familiar with the songs.
One thing to pay attention to in Karaoke Revolution Party is that the songs are graded for their level of difficulty, and it’s pretty accurate. For example, my limited singing abilities did not hinder me from kicking butt on the very easy “Material Girl,” but when I attempted to sing “That’s Amore,” well, that was a different story. Start out with the easy stuff, get used to it, gain a little skill, and then tackle the harder songs. Otherwise, you could get booed off the stage.
Overall, Karaoke Revolution Party runs smoothly enough, although I did notice that the mic didn’t always register my voice at the beginning of the songs. It was a small and rare problem, but annoying nonetheless. Still, gameplay is smooth, easy, and just a lot of fun.
Karaoke Revolution Party is a bright game, very bright. Ravers should be mesmerized by it, and epileptics should stay far, far away from it. Colors are vibrant and flashy, and fun to look at. However, the rest of the graphics are so-so. The characters in the character creator look a bit frightening at times. If you want to create someone with a freakishly large, square head and an emaciated body, look no further! I hope you like cartoony styles, because that is what you are going to get from this game. The crowd is usually made up of clones of about three different characters, all more or less dancing, swaying, and cheering in unison. It’s not a big deal, since graphics aren’t the point of this game, although it’s definitely no masterpiece in the looks department.
I did, however, enjoy the dancing that the singing characters do throughout the song. If you are singing something particularly heartfelt and romantic, they sway from side to side with very serious expressions upon their faces. When they really start getting into the song, they sweep their arms out flamboyantly, throw their heads back, and do all those other emotional gestures divas like to do as they perform. If they are singing a rock song, then they strut their stuff across the stage and rock out. It’s actually quite charming, and quite amusing if you are playing as one of the more ridiculous looking characters, such as Junior, the fat Elvis impersonator. Overall, looks aren’t everything in this game, but they get the job done.
Sound is obviously quite important in a game like Karaoke Revolution Party - probably the single most important aspect of the whole game. Karaoke just wouldn’t be as much fun if the music you’re singing along to sounded like some cheap knockoff of the real song. Well, I’m happy to say that the covers in this game are very, very good. Listening to Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock and Roll” or Incubus’ “Drive,” it’s hard to believe that these aren’t the original songs by the original artists.
While a few songs are more noticeably covers than some, the differences are at worst minor, and virtually unnoticeable during play. Although, having grown up with Aerosmith, I did notice that the song “Crazy” in the game changes one lyric, “making love” to “hanging out.” Come on, guys. Since when was the term “making love” offensive?
That being said, players do have some control over the volume of the music and whether they would like to have the song’s prerecorded vocals guide them along, or if they’d prefer to attempt it alone. If you want to drown out your voice a bit on a tough song - say, “Brick House“ - let the suspiciously white sounding cover artist sing those lyrics at full volume. If you’d rather show off your own skills to your nervous roommates at the top of your lungs, that‘s easy to take care of too.
Best of all, you aren’t bound to doing just one or the other each song - if you change your mind, simply pressing a button and moving a slider on the regular ‘Cube controller (the mic goes into one of the memory card ports) lets you adjust instrument and vocal volumes on the fly.
When you are not in the middle of a song and at the menu screen , then the game simply plays one of the 50 selectable songs sans words. Simple enough, and often times, the familiar strains of music are just enough to get you in the mood to sing one more song, and then one more, and one more, late into the night. As an interactive karaoke machine, Karaoke Revolution Party does an awesome job. The only thing really missing from the game is more songs. Fifty tunes just isn’t enough!
I suppose the value to be had from Karaoke Revolution Party depends on how well you enjoy singing and how open you are to looking a bit foolish. If you are Joe Cool and just cannot allow yourself to be silly, if you are painfully shy, or just a stick in the mud, then I guess this game doesn’t have much to offer.
If not, Karaoke Revolution Party has a lot to offer indeed. It’s a great party game for people of all ages, fun to try on your own, and can even help players become better singers through playing it. With 50 songs to sing, several different modes, and dozens of ways to customize a character, it’s a pretty hard game to get bored with.
There are unlockables too, depending on how many gold, platinum, and diamond records you get through your scores. I was a little disappointed that there are only a handful of unlockable songs, since I think it would have been more fun being surprised by discovering the next song you can sing next. Most of the unlockables are accessories and faces to add to your character customization, which just isn’t as fun. Still, 50 songs in total should give you plenty to work with either way.
Karaoke Revolution Party does accomplish what it obviously aims for: it’s fun. It isn’t difficult. It isn’t even very niche. It’s just fun. I would even recommend this to the more shy amongst us (and I’m in this crowd) to help us come out of our shells and just let loose.
And for those of us who couldn’t sing to save our own lives (I’m with you guys on this one too), this game actually does help improve that department a bit. So plug the mic in and have a blast. If I can do it, just about anyone can.