SingStar 90's Review (PS2)

Karaoke has taken some time to really take hold over here. For years it was simply the but of many a joke or simply a diversion for weddings and bahmitzvas. Now however, it is becoming cool to fire up a console plug in a microphone and sing (in questionable tones) in full view of those you love. Nothing has shown this more than the rising light in the games industry that is Sing Star; Sony’s Karaoke darling on the PS2. Along with their Buzz controllers and the wonderfully imaginative Eye Toy they are unquestionably edging the hard-core PS2 console into the casual family market. Watch out Wii!

Singin' with New Kids on the Block..

...and Radiohead, there’s something for everyone from rap hits to rock-ballads

Having had an initial popular release that bundled a microphone, SingStar has followed this up with a variety of games with a loose music genre; needless to say that Sing Star 90s is themed around a set of classic tracks for the 1990s. You have the option of buying it with a microphone if you haven’t already got one, or saving some money and just buying the game on its own if you purchased the earlier title. As its name suggests, this release provides a set of songs from the 90s, whilst we can obviously discuss other aspects of the game a lot of your enjoyment will come down to how appealing the 90s track listing:

1. ALL SAINTS - Never Ever
2. AQUA - Barbie Girl
3. B-52's - Love Shack
5. BILLY RAY CYRUS - Achey Breaky Heart
7. DIVINYLS - I Touch Myself
8. EMF - Unbelievable
9. GIN BLOSSOMS - Hey Jealousy
10. LISA LOEB - Stay
11. MC HAMMER - U Can't Touch This
13. M PEOPLE - Movin' On Up
15. NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK - Step By Step
16. NICK CAVE & KYLIE MINOGUE - Where the Wild Roses Grow
17. POISON - Unskinny Bop
18. RADIOHEAD - Creep
19. REM - Everybody Hurts
20. ROACHFORD - Only to be with You
21. SAVAGE GARDEN - I Want You
22. SEAL - Kiss From A Rose
23. SIR MIX A LOT - Baby Got Back
24. SPICE GIRLS - Wannabe
25. SPIN DOCTORS - Two Princes
27. THE CARDIGANS - Lovefool
29. THE CURE - Friday I'm In Love
30. WET WET WET - Love Is All Around

The same familiar SingStar structure is present and correct. It provides a video game version of Karaoke. A number of visual cues are provided on screen, in addition to the words, to help you sing in time and keep on pitch. You then get a score as to how well you performed the piece that is based on how close you tied your performance to the visual guides.

If you are of an age to remember some of the musical highlights of the 90s you will see from the track listing above that not all the songs in the list are AAA releases. Whilst there are some classics present such as the Spin Doctor’s Two Princes, others are less well known and not so welcome, such as the Spice Girls Wannbe. As mentioned before the quality of the song selection could be endlessly debated, but at the end of the day is a matter of taste.

The game scoring system is the same as previous outings and therefore suffers from the same limitations. It is obviously a difficult technical task to consistently score someone’s voice performance and at times it seems that the poor old PS2 misses a beat. They do manage to squeeze over ounce of processing out of the old girl but we expect to see a much more accurate system in place for the upcoming release on the PS3.

Overall, this is a competent release, one that stands or falls on the quality of its track listing. If you like the songs on offer this represents excellent value for money, if they are not all your cup of tea then you should probably think twice before splashing out.

Top Game Moment:
When you discover that favorite old 90s track from your youth, slam it on and belt out the lyrics thinking no one can hear you, only to discover that your friend was sitting quietly behind you. The most embarrassing fun you can have on a PS2.

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