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October 11, 2004
SingStar Party - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
26/11/2004SonySony Europe1-8$49.95 stand alone
$99.95 with mics

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Is that Ski? (Inside Joke).
It's amazing when you look at the performance of SingStar to realise that it was released in May 2004, some five months ago, but that it is still 5th on the Playstation 2 sales charts here in Australia according to GFK. Obviously the broad appeal, much like Eye Toy Play which is also in the Top 10 still, has ensured that it would remain a big seller to families, pub crawlers and casual gamers alike. It comes as absolutely no surprise then that Sony are preparing a sequel with new songs, but are also improving the gameplay with new modes, and the ability to use songs from the first SingStar.

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A great duo karaoke song.
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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One player singing.
SingStar Party builds upon the concept of the first game, adding a wide variety of multiplayer game modes for between two and eight players. A new competitive Duet Mode enables two players to each sing one vocal part of a duet, competing for the highest scores. New “Pass The Mic” team games, featuring a variety of different singing challenges – solo rounds where players take it in turns to sing with the highest score winning, combined duets where two players team up to sing together and try to outscore other teams, random battles where two players from opposing teams sing together and the better singer wins and surprise singer selections which ensures that everyone at the party has a chance to show off their superb singing skills. Pass The Mic also includes a new “Shuffle Token” feature, which allows players to spin the carousel again if they have randomly been allocated a song they don’t like. Obviously much emphasis has been placed on the party element and game modes which, given that karaoke is typically a group event, is most welcome.

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The legendary Bob Marley.
To compliment the new multiplayer gameplay modes, SingStar Party features many traditional duets, such as “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” by Elton John and Kiki Dee, but every song in the game has been split into two parts so that it can be played as a duet, if desired. In solo mode, the player can sing a duet with the original artist, for example, if you’re singing as Elton John, Kiki Dee will join you.

And now for the track list. Fortunately Sony have provided a wide range of tracks from modern to classic so you're bound to find a couple of tracks to you liking. As with the original game the tracks also come with their original video clips, but it will also be possible, with the Eye Toy, to put yourself onto the screen. Fans of the first game can take advantage of a special cross-disc compatibility feature that allows them to insert the first SingStar disc at the carousel screen and automatically update their collection with the 30 songs from the original, increasing their SingStar jukebox to 60 songs and also allowing players to sing all of the old songs as duets. The tracks in SingStar Party include:
Alicia Keys - Fallin’
Ashford & Simpson - Solid
Bill Withers - Ain’t No Sunshine
Blu Cantrell - Hit ’Em Up Style (Oops!)
Bob Marley - No Woman No Cry
Buggles - Video Killed The Radio Star
Busted - Year 3000
Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
Destiny’s Child - Survivor
Dido - White Flag
Duran Duran - Hungry Like The Wolf
Elton John & Kiki Dee - Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
Elvis - Way Down
Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out
George Michael - Faith
Jamiroquai - Cosmic Girl
Javine - Real Things
Kylie Minogue - I Should Be So Lucky
Little Richard - Tutti Frutti
Maroon5 - This Love
Natasha Bedingfield - Single
Pink - Just Like A Pill
Scissor Sisters - Take Your Mamma
Sonny & Cher - I Got You Babe
Spandau Ballet - Gold
Spice Girls - Who Do You Think You Are
The Beautiful South - A Little Time
The Foundations - Build Me Up Buttercup
The Police - Every Breath You Take
Tiffany - I Think We’re Alone Now

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Faith...
With SingStar Party due in late November it comes as little surprise to see Sony offering a range of bundles to cater to everyone. Owners of the original SingStar will be able to buy the software only for $49.95. Those who don't have the original title, and as a result the microphones, will be able to buy this game and the microphones for only $99.95. The first SingStar software will be available for only $49.95 while the 2 microphone and USB adaptor will be available for $69.95 - perhaps for those who get either of the games, but forget to get the microphone bundle as well. Expect a release on November 26. In the words of Chris Tucker from Rush Hour 2... "Shamon Lee".