GAMECUBE REVIEW: KARAOKE REVOLUTION PARTY

Before you think I'm the biggest nerd that ever walked the planet let me explain that I'm just older and wiser and willing to accept more things than I did when I was a stubborn teenager. Yes, I did hate everything and I still do hate a lot of things, but I'm willing to be more open regardless of what my friends think about it - since I don't have many left.

I don't hate karaoke; only some of the people that take part in it. You see, besides being a game reviewer I'm also musician. Some of you may be sick of hearing this but we get millions of new readers every week that would otherwise think I'm an idiot. If that's the case, I will be the one to prove that I'm an idiot

Primarily I'm a guitar player first, and a singer second. Singing is not my passion as much as guitar playing is; it's basically a term of employment. I've worked with so many egotistical singers that it was much less of a hassle to just do it myself. For me, karaoke is the best way for me to practice my vocals. I don't think I'm great and I find it embarrassing for me to do it in public but I have to force myself to become a better singer and performer and that's what karaoke does for me. What really bugs my ass is people that can't sing and don't know they can't sing but think they can sing and annoy those that can. However, I have nothing but the utmost respect for those that can't sing, but know they need work, and are trying their best.

Karaoke Revolution Party is a step up from the rhythm/dance games like Dance Dance Revolution. Everyone can dance a little but if you can only sing a little, you are likely not to have too many friends if you continue to sing in their presence. Karaoke Revolution gives you and your friends an excuse to express yourself with a variety of songs in the comfort of someone's home where you're unlikely to offend a bar full of viscous drunks. You can also incorporate the DDR dance mat to get your moves down - but I have to draw the line somewhere, and I draw that line at dancing.

The main difference between Karaoke Revolution Party and a case full of karaoke CDs that can be played on your old Radio Shack karaoke machine is the pitch detector. I almost don't even care about the rest of the game. I can't say enough about the pitch detector. It's one of the most incredible tools available for potential musicians, and I don't say that lightly.

Thank God for the pitch detector. It detects one's vocal input and judges the accuracy of each individual note in the song and lets you know when you're singing off key and on key. No more arguments or hard feelings when you try to explain to your buddy that his rendition of Every Little Thing She Does is Magic is more reminiscent of the King of Pain. The pitch indicator is the denial crusher. It will either make a bad singer better, or better yet, make him or her quit singing altogether. The music business is probably one of the only businesses that you want to see a whole bunch of quitters. It weeds out the losers from the people that really want to develop their talent.

The pitch detector can be set to various degrees of scrutiny. There is an easy, normal and difficult mode. Work your way up as you learn. It only detects pitch and not words. So you can screw up on the words with no repercussion but if you go off key you're going to hear about it.

Obviously all of these songs won't be for everyone though it's good practice to attempt as many as you can stomach. The tunes are firmly rooted in the pop and rock category and range from Madonna to Aerosmith. Please, please, please under any circumstance, and that includes drunkenness, don't attempt any Aerosmith song. I've never heard one person that could sing one of Tyler's songs properly. It's doubtful that you can. But don't let me insult you, let the pitch indicator do it for me. Did I mention how much I love that pitch indicator?

Almost all of the tunes are unlocked at the start to accommodate those that only want to sing a specific style. There are some unlockable tunes to keep you motivated but they aren't going to be everyone's cup of tea. More tunes are available online and can be downloaded for a price. The tunes aren't performed by the original artists but the cover bands do a very good job of getting the tones down almost perfectly.

There is a decided lack of hip-hop, not that I'm complaining, but that stuff is really light on melody. It's more rhythm oriented and I'm sure that Harmonix will cover that genre shortly. Unlike Guitar Hero we also won't be hearing heavy metal covers of Ozzy and Priest. I would just have to repeat my Aerosmith plea should someone attempt to sing like Halford or Osborne. It might destroy the sensitive electronics that comprise the pitch detector.

Do you detect some pent-up aggression towards bad singers? Yes, yes you do. And lots of it. Keep in mind that this is only directed at bad singers with incredible egos. Although I would never resort to physical violence when encountering such people, I wouldn't mind watching someone else punch them out. Konami's next game should be a cross between a music game and a shooter. Instead of the audience just booing the moron, they could actually cut him or her to ribbons for a terrible performance. After you've bombed in front of a live audience there's no reason to go on living anyway - and I would feel a lot better for being able to release my rage with an Ak-47.

Speaking of on-stage, each singer will have an character that they perform through. You can unlock various costumes to wear for their performances which include a virtual, live backup band. The greatest animation sequences occur when your character is the object of a bad audience reaction which is directly related to your poor vocal performance as judged by the pitch indicator.

Now for the good news: If you don't have an ego you are more likely to practice, thus conquering the song and ultimately pleasing the pitch indicator and the audience. You can do it. All it takes is dedication and practice. You don't want to audition for American Idol before you can master Karaoke Revolution unless you want Simon to play the role of the pitch indicator as he assesses your lack of talent in front of millions.

Although it may not sound like it from my perspective, Karoake Revolution is a hell of a lot of fun. It will help separate the wheat from the chaff. It will make the weak, strong, and the strong, stronger. It's great for parties but it's also an incredible vocal tool that I would have killed to have 20 years ago. The Eye Toy (if you you're playing the PS2 version) gets you into the act literally, while the dance pad (again if you actually have one) will add some dance steps to the mix. With the right group of people in your house Karaoke Party could easily become the 'in' thing to do on a Saturday night.

So how did I do on this game? Let's just say that I still need some work.

Song List:

(I've Had) The Time Of My Life - Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes
(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman - Aretha Franklin
Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
Ain't Too Proud To Beg - The Temptations
Always - Bon Jovi or, perhaps, Atlantic Starr
American Woman - The Guess Who
Brick House - The Commodores
Call Me - Blondie
Crazy - Willie Nelson
Crazy In Love - Beyoncé feat. Jay-Z
Do You Really Want To Hurt Me? - Culture Club
Drive - Incubus
Dust In The Wind - Kansas
Endless Love - Diana Ross & Lionel Richie
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic - The Police
Everybody Wants To Rule The World- Tears For Fears
Everywhere - Michelle Branch
Fame - Irene Cara, or David Bowie
Fly - Hilary Duff / Sugar Ray
For You I Will - Monica
Headstrong - Trapt
Here I Go Again - Whitesnake
I Don't Want To Be - Gavin DeGraw
I Left My Heart In San Francisco - Tony Bennett
I Love Rock N' Roll - Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston
If You Could Only See - Tonic
I'll Be - Edwin McCain
Material Girl - Madonna
Me And Bobby McGee - Janis Joplin
Pain - Jimmy Eat World
Pieces Of Me - Ashlee Simpson
Play That Funky Music - Wild Cherry
Start Me Up - The Rolling Stones
Superstition - Stevie Wonder
Sweet Caroline - Neil Daimond
Take On Me- a-ha
Takin' Care Of Business - Bachman-Turner Overdrive
That's Amore - Dean Martin
The Game Of Love - Santana feat. Michelle Branch
The Greatest Love Of All - Whitney Houston
Time After Time - Cyndi Lauper
Truth Is - Fantasia Barrino
Turn The Beat Around - Vicki Sue Robinson
Unforgettable - Nat King Cole
Uptown Girl - Billy Joel
Waiting For A Girl Like You - Foreigner
What I Like About You - The Romantics
Who Can It Be Now? - Men At Work
You're My Best Friend - Queen

System: Xbox PS2, GC
Dev: Harmonix
Pub: Konami
Release: Nov 2005
Players: 1 - 4
Review by Cole
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.5
GRAPHICS
4.0
CONTROL
5.0
MUSIC/FX
4.5
VALUE
5.0