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November 8, 2005
SingStar 80's - Review
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My god, Alice Cooper karaoke!
It's well know how popular Sony's SingStar titles are in Europe and Australia. Any new release typically heads straight for the charts and manages to linger there for considerable amounts of time. We've already seen three releases, and now we have Singstar 80's, the fourth title and one which focuses on the 1980's. With chart topping hits from the likes of Survivor, Madonna, George Michael, Run DMC, Simple Minds, Alice Cooper and Vanilla Ice there's plenty of variety, and you're sure to find numerous songs to your liking - even if you weren't born back then!

For those of you who are unaware SingStar is Sony's very impressive spin on your typical karaoke. Rather then having to go to some smoke filled bar this game allows you to play in the comfort of your own lounge room, and even provides two USB microphones to use with the game. Unlike normal karaoke where you only get the lyrics on screen this game also shows you via bars on the screen what pitch you should be singing at, and with a small marker, what pitch you are currently singing at. It works remarkably well and at the end of your song you receive a score so there is no debate with your friends who is the best singer!

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Legendary Duran Duran.
As with previous titles the game SingStar 80's is split into Single Player and Party modes. Single player is pretty standard stuff. After selecting your song, and either a long or shortened version, it's your chance to do your best. If you want to practice without scoring you can enter the Freestyle Mode. The meat of this game, and the most fun, is found in the multi-player Party mode.

The Party mode includes four main games. The Pass the Mic is for up to 8 players and is a party styled game with a variety of challenges to be performed. This is tremendous fun and perfect for large groups. Next up is a battle mode for 2-players. In this mode both of you sing the same song and the person with the highest score is deemed the winner. A 2-player Duet Mode enables two players to each sing one vocal part of a duet, competing for the highest scores. The developers have also included a Pong styled mini-game where the pitch of your voice moves the paddle. Sadly this isn't anywhere near as entertaining or accurate as it should be and won't be something you'll play often. Once again the game includes support for the Eye Toy so you can photograph yourself for your profile or, if the need arises, video yourself singing the song.

I guess the one area you're dying to know about is the track listing. Tracks in SingStar 80's include:
Alice Cooper - Poison
Belinda Carlisle - Heaven Is A Place On Earth
Billy Joel - Uptown Girl
Blondie - Atomic
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
Marillion - Kayleigh
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

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The rap meter is great.
I have to say that there are some real surprises in this pack. Only a couple of the songs were little known to us but what really impressed were the very different songs such as Alice Cooper's Poison, Starship - We Built This City and Billy Joel - Uptown Girl which aren't your usualy karaoke songs by any stretch of the imagination. Now, if they'd included some Metallica or Guns N' Roses (where is that damn Singstar Rock Sony?) then we'd have something very different.

Some of the songs in this packages such as Run DMC's It's Tricky or Vanilla Ice's Ice Ice Baby are actually a little different in that the use a Rap Meter to gauge your accuracy to the music. This is actually tremendous fun, and for some people that aren't into normal singing so much you'll probably enjoy this more. Unfortunately there is only those two songs that make use of this feature on this disc, let's hope more are included in future editions. Oh, and before you groan at the thought of Ice Ice Baby it was actually one of the most entertaining songs to perform in this pack.

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This is a classic song.
Yet again our biggest complaint with this game is that you can simply hum at the correct pitch, or scream, or make a buzzing noise to get a great score. The game still has no speech recognition, only pitch - although the rap songs seemed to be affected by what you say, so maybe it is partially included. It's a shame, it only takes one moronic friend (I won't name anyone!) to spoil the fun. Other then that there isn't really anything else to complain about at all.

Graphically Singstar 80's remains faithful to previous versions of the game. The menus are clean and easy to navigate while the interface remains almost identical to other titles. The video clips are pretty good quality, given that many are over 20 years old, and from an era when video clips were only just becoming an integral part of the marketing machine. The only disappointment in terms of video clips is that Survivor's Eye of the Tiger doesn't include the actual video clip. As one of the most iconic songs of the 1980's its inclusion was almost mandatory, but the clips abscence given it's Rocky heritige is a little disappointing. I guess there were licensing issues.

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Bad song, but great karaoke fun.
In terms of audio this game is as solid as expected. Unlike Sony's recently released Buzz: The Music Quiz this game includes all the original licensed tracks. The sound quality is pretty good but once again the only complaint that we can level at the game is that you can't mute the original singers. Yes, you can increase the microphone volume, but that also drowns out the background music. Perhaps it's too hard, or impossible, to get the original instrumental versions without vocals.

Yet again this game is being released in two flavours. It's possible to buy this game for $49.95 without the microphones, or with microphones for $99.95. If you also pick up the three other titles then you'll have a track list of 120 songs, very impressive. A essential addition to any karaoke fans PS2 library.

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version).
GRAPHICSThe video quality is average, but it's easy to see menus and lyrics.
SOUNDGood quality audio, one of the better selections of music too.
GAMEPLAYNothing too different from previous games, so similar scores here.
VALUEFantastic value, $49.95 for disc only or $99.95 with mics. Great fun.
OVERALLSingStar 80's is one of the better games in terms of song selection, and while there's almost nothing new in terms of game mode's it's an essential purchase for fans of the series.

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