Singstar Rocks Review
Singstar Rocks box art
System: PS2 Review Rating Legend
Dev: SCE 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Sony 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Nov 2006 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 - multi 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
Review by Cole 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
What key is this song in? Off-key!
by Cole Smith

This guy is singing in his apartment. There’s a knock on the door. He answers it. A man says that he’s his new singing teacher. The guy says he didn’t order singing lessons. The mans says, the neighbors did.

SingStar screenshot

Thanks to American Idol every tin-eared wannabe that has nothing else going on in life feels it necessary to expose their horrifyingly undeveloped talent to the world. Thankfully Singstar Rocks will either get rid of the dead wood for good or tune them in and up quicker than a room full of Simons. All thanks to the no-lie pitch detector system which boldly displays to the perpetrator what other people’s ear have known for years.

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The U.K. version of Singstar Rocks was released in the Spring of 2006, and we reviewed it then and found it to be a really great package. This American version still features plenty of British artists but there are some different tunes. Mostly the format is rock but there is some adult contemporary artists featured as well including Elton John and Aretha Franklin. Good luck attempting an Aretha Franklin song. Try not to damage the pitch meter.

Singstar Rocks is more than just a novelty karaoke game. It’s actually an incredibly useful singing tutorial if used properly. First of all you have to make sure that you’re comfortable singing a lot of these songs. They should be in your range and proximate your singing style. It doesn’t matter if you’re a guy singing a woman’s song as you can dip an octave lower and you won’t adversely affect the pitch meter. The same goes for high-pitched singers that want to cover songs recorded in a lower register. The two greatest features of Singstar Rocks are the pitch meter and the ability to record your performance and listen back to it. There’s nothing better, or more ego-shattering, than listening to a recording of your own voice. It will either make you a better singer or force you into an early retirement.

SingStar screenshot

If you’re not concerned about becoming the next Clay Aiken that’s fine. This game is actually designed to be fun, first and foremost. It’s just great to have access to these features if you are serious about becoming a better singer. There are single-player modes and multi-player modes which can accommodate up to eight players, or singers I should say. The multi-player modes will elicit a party atmosphere with singers performing co-operatively or in head-cutting sessions where the best singer wins.

So how do you win these singing bouts? By getting the best score. The lyrics appear at the bottom of the screen, with the line that you should be singing highlighted. Each song will feature a video of the actual band or artists that had the hit with that particular tune. Some of the older bands such as the Stones, that didn’t do videos back in the day, will include live performance footage. These video backdrops may be a little distracting at first, but the more that you see them the less you’ll pay attention to them. It also gives other people playing or watching something to look at other than you. Keeping the pitch meter happy is how you’ll score points. Block lines will appear on a staff that will indicate the relative pitch of each note. These blocks fill in with specific colors, different colors for different singing partners. Other lines will appear to display your pitch accuracy. Lines that appear above will indicate that you are sharp and lines that appear below will let you know you’re flat. The longer that you stay on pitch, the more points you'll receive. At the end of the song you’ll receive an overall total. For the love of those around you, you’re goal is to strive to improve that score at all costs. You can hate any person that you want that criticizes your singing talents, but you can’t argue with the pitch meter.

SingStar screenshot

Pick a song from the list. They are all unlocked at the outset so you don’t have to play some silly game to access them all. There are short and long versions of these songs. The artists range from the White Strips to the Scorpions and although this is supposed to be a collection of rock tunes, there are some questionable inclusions such as D.J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince as well as Gloria Gaynor. I’m willing to accept a lot of things but as long as I live I will never recognize, I Will Survive, as a rock tune.

In the party mode you will pass the microphones around to accommodate up to eight singers as they participate in a variety of singing mini-games. One features a rapid fire snippet of tunes called a medley which will have you changing songs and styles in seconds. The object of another mini-game is to see who can stay in the perfect pitch zone the longest. These games are a lot of fun if not taken too seriously. You can do your serious practicing in private. In the duet mode, two singers will perform a selected song co-operatively as there scores will be combined. Another mode lets you battle against another singer as you both take different lines of the songs and receive a score based on your performance.

SingStar screenshot

At just under fifty bucks this game can be seen as a bargain if you’re serious about improving your singing. Not to mention that it comes with two microphones compete with USB port cables so that you interface them directly into you PS2. The mics aren’t professional quality but they do sound pretty good. Certainly good enough for playback on the average TV set speaker. If you have an Eye Toy you can even import your image onscreen to gauge your visual performance.

This is a great package but the song list is always going to be a bone of contention with singers as the variety of songs is too wide to please everyone. There are already five different variations of this game released in Europe and we should see more focused song lists in the future.

Song List: 1. Gwen Stefani – Cool
2. Fall Out Boy - Dance, Dance
3. The Killers - Somebody Told Me
4. Coldplay - Speed Of Sound
5. KT Tunstall - Black Horse And The Cherry Tree
6. Aretha Franklin - Respect
7. Elton John - Rocket Man
8. Marvin Gaye - I Heard It Through The Grapevine
9. The Cure - Friday I'm in Love
10. D.J. Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince - Summertime
11. The White Stripes - Blue Orchid
12. Naked Eyes - (There's) Always Something There To Remind Me
13.B-52s - Love Shack
14. Dusty Springfield - Son Of A Preacher Man
15. Joss Stone - Super Duper Love (Are You Diggin On Me?)
16. Blur - Song 2
17. Gloria Gaynor - I Will Survive
18. Jet - Are You Gonna Be My Girl?
19. Hole - Celebrity Skin
20. Thin Lizzy - The Boys Are Back in Town
21. Scissor Sisters - Take Your Mama
22. The Rolling Stones - Paint It, Black
23. Bloc Party - Banquet
24. The Police - Every Breath You Take
25. The Offspring - Self-Esteem
26. Lynyrd Skynyrd - Sweet Home Alabama
27. Keane - Everybody's Changing
28. Scorpions - Wind Of Change
29. Good Charlotte - Girls & Boys
30. The Hives - Hate To Say I Told You So

Features:

  • The only singing game that incorporates actual songs and videos from chart topping artists.
  • Includes two custom, high-quality microphones and the SingStar™ USB converter.
  • Multiple gameplay modes, including Solo, Freestyle, Pass the Mic, Battle and Duet, create a highly interactive social experience.
  • Choose from a track list of 30 songs across a variety of hit artists and genres including rock/alternative, pop, hip hop/R&B and legendary favorites.
  • SingStar technology recognizes pitch, tone and rhythm to accurately score performances.
  • Record your favorite performances onto Memory Card for future playback. Customize and enhance playback with numerous audio effects.
  • Features a sophisticated, high-quality game interface, similar to mainstream music channels.
  • Multiple difficulty levels and selectable song lengths provide customized gameplay for all-ages and musical abilities.
  • Includes EyeToy USB camera compatibility: players can snap photos and alsosee themselves singing in place of the artist’s video.

    By Cole Smith
    CCC Senior Writer

    Rating out of 5
    Rating Description

    4.5

    Graphics
    The videos of the bands' tune appear in the background but you can always see the lyrics and the pitch meter.

    4.8

    Control
    Much to my dismay the pitch meter, I mean bitch meter, seems to be much too accurate.

    4.8

    Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
    The tunes sound just like the real band performed them. To bad my singing doesn't.

    4.0

    Play Value
    This makes a great party game as well as a serious practice system for budding singers.

    4.3

    Overall Rating - Great
    Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
  • Screenshots / Images

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