|System: PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Blitz Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Konami||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: January 2, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 - 8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: E +10||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Matthew Walker
It's an obvious pairing: the leading video game franchise for all the karaoke enthusiasts, Karaoke Revolution, and the number one television show in America for the superstars in all of us, American Idol. Blitz Games and Konami thought the same thing with this outing of Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol. Karaoke and PlayStation 2 fans, rejoice at the opportunity to be scrutinized by the judges without the embarrassment of being on national television. However, with five editions already out, is there any reason to add this latest installment to your karaoke collection? Let's look at the results and find out.
The basic premise of the game is just like the show. You compete with other star clamorers for the top spot without the record deal and superstardom of the nation, of course. The judges, Randy Jackson, Simon Cowell, and a character mockery of Paula Abdul named Laura, critique your singing voice by how well you are able to perform. You can choose from 40 popular classics and contemporary hits to exercise your vocal chords.
Raise your star through all 18 rounds of American Idol or do a short competition of just eight. Having this option is one of the many attributes of the game. While the American Idol mode is essentially the career mode of the game, you will compete against past performers like Kelly and Bo to name a few. You also can choose to do an American Idol quickplay in addition to the regular quickplay. The difference is that you can receive the judge's sarcastic, although sometimes positive, reaction on the songs you perform.
A lot of the Karaoke Revolution trademark features are present: Duets, KR Challenge, and Medleys. Like previous editions, strength lies in numbers. The party mode brings out the competitor in all of us. Adding the capability for multiplayer in the American Idol mode only adds to the antics your friends will go to win the game. The character creator has been refined and tweaked, adding more characters and accessories for you to pick and choose from. If you have the Eyetoy attached to your PlayStation 2, you can also take a digital mapping of your head to really put you in the game.
Like the other versions of Karaoke Revolution, the mechanics of doing well in the game are simple. Scoring is equally simple, achieving a gold record at 20,000 points and a platinum record at 50,000 points. Doing well on each song assists you in unlocking some cool features throughout the game such as video clips of past performances of the Idols themselves or even some of the laughable auditions from past seasons. You can also unlock certain songs, even "Straight Up" by Ms. Abdul herself. There are character models and other accessories to change the look of your characters, which are unlockable. Matching the note bars is as simple as raising your voice higher or lower. However, on certain songs, the words at the bottom streamline a little faster than the others do, making it nearly impossible to stay caught up with a song, especially if you do not know all of the lyrics.
The character models are smooth and are a small improvement from the previous installment, though the model for Randy Jackson looks a little contrived and blocky, which is a let down considering the other characters look pleasingly well. Background environments give the sense that you are actually singing on the final stage of American Idol. While watching your character dance and move to the music might make you laugh and break your concentration on the song, it is nonetheless believable.
While the voiceovers of Cowell, Jackson, and the Paula wannabe, Laura, quickly become trivial and bland, the real reason you will buy this game is for the song selection. With such great classics like "Can't Help Falling in Love," "Stand By Me," "Total Eclipse of the Heart," show favorites "Buttercup," "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me," and contestant achievements "Do I Make You Proud," "Flying Without Wings," and "Breakaway," Karaoke Revolution Presents; American Idol has a song for everyone. Unfortunately, the game will not assist you if you don't know the original artist of a song and, consequently, can't find the song you want. This is one aspect that should have been different. Even if Cowell and company become stale, you will still enjoy the flip-flop critique they will usually do. Therefore, if you moderately stink at a song, they will tell you did great and horrible at the same time.
Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol is a truly welcomed addition to the franchise. Incorporating several elements from the show, Simon's unabashed criticism being the best, and mixing it with the phenomenon that is karaoke makes this version a welcomed addition to your library, even if you do not like to sing. So, call your friends and family, and tell them it is time find the next American Idol.
CCC Freelance Writer
A match made in karaoke heaven and self-esteem hell by D'Marcus Beatty
Every year without fail, Konami has presented gamers with a new (but fun) opportunity to embarrass themselves. The Karaoke Revolution series has undeniably been at the forefront of music gaming since Parappa the Rapper retired. For their latest game, Konami has decided make the sensible and nearly inevitable union with American Idol, giving players the chance not only to embarrass themselves in front of friends, but in front of a virtual Simon Cowell as well.
The Karaoke Revolution series enables players to sing their way through the game. Using either the microphone or the headset, each game has judged the player/vocalist on their pitch and where their pitch should be, both of which are displayed on an onscreen indicator. The quality of the singing doesn't matter as much as the pitch, which makes for some interesting and humorous performances whenever a Karaoke Revolution game is played.
Karaoke Revolution has injected new life into the game by adding something new each iteration. Some of these include the ability to duel with another singer, the ability to perform a duet, and including a DDR dance pad to dance and sing simultaneously. This year, the addition of the American Idol theme seems to be one of the best additions to the gameplay formula as well as the most logical.
Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol makes the union between the pitch-based scoring of the Karaoke Revolution series with the auditions and performing of American Idol, giving the game a true venue and a story for the first time. Now, your player is (obviously) an aspiring singer trying to earn his/her celebrity by proving they can sing. The player begins the game in the American Idol auditions, and, based on your performance, can make their way to the television program, performing in front of millions of virtual adoring fans.
One of the best (and most expected) additions is the inclusion of the judges from American Idol. Although Paula Abdul won't appear, Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson both lent their voices and likenesses to the game, making the experience feel more authentic. Adding also to the authenticity, both of the judges comment on your performance, appearance, and overall presentation. Ryan Seacrest even hosts, providing his voice to announce the results of each round. Hopefully, Simon's characteristic sarcasm and snarky comments will make the translation to the game intact.
Playing through the game and performing songs well unlocks new costumes, songs, characters, and even video performances. New costumers, songs, and characters all help your scoring, as Randy and Simon judge you on appearance as well as performance, and the videos are past American Idol contestants' performances, from the stellar and greatest all the way down to Willy Hung's rendition of "She Bangs". Players can also use their EyeToy to place their own likeness in the game and personalize their character. Gameplay will also likely include all of the modes from the pervious games, including duets, head-to-head competitions, practice modes, and versus mini-games.
To create the authentic American Idol experience, the developers have re-created the competition round for round, going through 18 elimination rounds total. They've even re-created the actual venues as accurately as possible. By adding an actual story and goal to the game, Karaoke Revolution now has needed focus, as before there was no reason outside of just singing for the sake of singing.
The song list is as diverse as ever, comprising songs from all different genres and eras, including songs like "Saving all My Love For You", "More Than Words", "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", and even the William Hung mangled "She Bangs". There are forty songs included, with the possibility of more hidden tracks, ensuring that there will be songs to appeal to any gamer.
Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol seems to be shaping up nicely for fans of the genre. While the gameplay to all the previous versions was always fun, there wasn't anything to tie the gameplay together. Now, with an actual story and a goal combined with the American Idol theme, Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol should be even more fun. Look for the new Karaoke Revolution to hit store shelves in early January, at around the same time as the new season of American Idol.
CCC Assistant Site Director