SingStar 80s ReviewCain Dornan
Its somewhat difficult to write a lengthy, in-depth review of an expansion pack that does little more than offer a completely revamped list of songs to sing to. Essentially, SingStar 80s is identical to its predecessor titles, which include SingStar Party and SingStar Pop. Thats certainly not a bad thing, though, as the previous titles in the SingStar series have provided music enthusiasts with countless hours of enjoyment and humiliation, as your croaky voice or inability to hold a single not for longer than three seconds proving why you never released a single. Although its based on the simple concept of karaoke, the small gameplay alterations and the inclusion of an on-screen rating meter allows the games to be enjoyed for a surprisingly long period of time. But it ultimately burns down to what your tastes are; if you have any interest in music, youll likely find great enjoyment in Sonys unique series. Even if you would prefer to count the bricks on your house rather than listening to music, though, there is a likelihood that youll find yourself singing into the microphone when a few friends or family are around.
No matter what era you were born in, youre sure to find a fair number of classic songs in the list of thirty titles that Sonys London Studio development team have combined to form SingStar 80s. Theres quite an impressive collection of thirty songs from the golden era that covers virtually every genre available, allowing the game to appeal to a wider audience.
For those unaware of how the SingStar games work, allow me to explain. Each version of SingStar comes in two different packages, one containing two well-built, sturdy microphones that plug into a connector which, in turn, plugs into one the PS2s USB slots. SingStar works by capturing the tone of your voice and comparing it to a system that determines what tone of voice should be used during that particular part of the song. As such, it is possible to cheat simply by making noises in the right pitch, which can be used to cheat through battles. You receive points based on your singing skill, resulting in the central aim of the game being to achieve the highest score possible. Upon the completion of each song, you are ranked according to your performance, with comments ranging from tone deaf through to wannabe and even superstar commenting on your overall performance. Three difficulty levels, ranging from easy through to hard, determines how accurately the game will grade you, with hard requiring you to be quite a good singer or skilled at making noises at the correct pitch. Although the rating system is included in the majority of modes in SingStar, it is not used in the Freestyle mode, which does not rate your performance.
The game is divided into multiple sections that slightly alter the mode of play. Sing Solo, for example, allows you to sing till your hearts content by yourself. There are also a collection of multiplayer modes, which offer the most enjoyment that can be gained from the game, with such modes as Pass the Mic, which allows you to have as many players as you wish by simply passing on the mic once each player has had their turn. There is also Battle, which aims to determine which singer is the best and Duet, allowing you to team-up to create the next chart topper. For those who do not want their performance ranked, there is also the freestyle mode, which allows you to sing freely without the game rating your performance.
New to the SingStar series is the Sing-Song mode, which involves having a game of classic Pong using your voice. The aim of the game is to hit a ball between two paddles, each player on either side of the screen. To move to paddle upwards, you need to make a high tone, while making a low tone will make the paddle move lower down the screen. Its an interesting experiment that developer London Studio has included, possibly hinting at further little games making an appearance in future SingStar games.
Whilst you are mimicking one of the thirty songs on offer, the official film clip for the track is shown. While the lower quality technology from the early 80s has obviously effected select video clips, a majority of the film clips have been perfectly and clearly included into the game, adding to the overall karaoke experience.
The 30 tracks included in Singstar 80s are as follows:
Alice Cooper Poison
Belinda Carlisle Heaven Is A Place On Earth
Billy Joel Uptown Girl
Culture Club Karma Chameleon
Dexy's Midnight Runners Come On Eileen
Dolly Parton Nine To Five
Duran Duran Rio
Erasure A Little Respect
Europe The Final Countdown
Fairground Attraction Perfect
Foreigner I Want To Know What Love Is
Frankie Goes To Hollywood The Power Of Love
Kate Bush Running Up That Hill
Katrina And The Waves Walking On Sunshine
Madness Our House
Madonna Material Girl
Nena 99 Red Balloons
Run DMC It's Tricky
Simple Minds Don't You (Forget About Me)
Soft Cell Tainted Love
Starship We Built This City
Survivor Eye Of The Tiger
Tears For Fears Everybody Wants To Rule The World
The Cure Just Like Heaven
The Pretenders Brass In Pocket
Tina Turner Simply The Best
Vanilla Ice Ice Ice Baby
Wham! Wake Me Up Before You Go Go
SingStar 80s is a worthwhile addition to a collection that already contains previous SingStar games, and is also a great starting point for those who favour songs from the 80s. While it is nothing more than a simple expansion pack to increase your collection of songs, what is available is certainly a great collection that will likely please any karaoke fan. Wed still like to see more than thirty titles on a single disc though; maybe Sony could take that into consideration with any future SingStar instalments.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.