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June 5, 2006
SingStar Rocks! - PS2 Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
13/4/2006SonySony Europe1-8PGMedium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen

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Look, it's Nirvana.
Sony are pretty regular with their releases of new SingStar titles. The karaoke series has been a sensation for the company - so much so that it was one of the games presented at the E3 conference as a 'key' Playstation 3 title as well (the preview of which you can check out here). Last November saw the release of arguably the best title in the series to date SingStar 80's, one of the most impressive packs with a great variety of music including pop, rock and rap.

For those of you unaware the SingStar series is basically karaoke, however rather then just singing to lyrics on screen the games also show 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! It's also possible to set up battles between two players, or party styled events for up to 8 players at a time.

Sony's latest pack follows a theme again with SingStar Rocks! unsurprisingly concentrating on rock music. So here we are, another disc, another thirty tracks. Does it work? Of course it does. But let's look at the list of tracks available - obviously one of the primary issues when considering if this is a worthwhile purchase.
GANGgajang - Sounds Of Then (This Is Australia)
The Killers - Somebody Told Me
Bowling For Soup - 1985
The Church - Unguarded Moment
INXS - Never Tear Us Apart
Thin Lizzy - The Boys Are Back In Town
Hole - Celebrity Skin
The Veronicas - 4ever
Grinspoon - Hard Act To Follow
Stereophonics - Dakota
Jet - Are You Gonna Be My Girl?
Powderfinger - These Days
Killing Heidi - I Am
Scorpions - Wind Of Change
Nirvana - Come As You Are
Powderfinger - (Baby Iíve Got You) On My Mind
Men At Work - Down Under
Deep Purple - Smoke On The Water
The Swingers - Counting The Beat
The Screaming Jets - Better
Rolling Stones - Paint It Black
Coldplay - Speed Of Sound
The Exponents - Why Does Love Do This To Me?
Gwen Stefani - What You Waiting For
Dragon - April Sun In Cuba
The Offspring - Self Esteem
Blur - Song 2
The Cardigans - My Favourite Game
End of Fashion - Oh Yeah
Franz Ferdinand - Do You Want To?

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Is that Ski! (another inside Joke).
Unfortunately I found some of the songs to not be 'rock' as I understand it. Sure, Nirvana, Rolling Stones, Killing Heidi, Franz Ferdinand and Grinspoon will be known by most but I really did expect more 'hard rock' music - where's Guns N' Roses, Metallica, Queens of the Stone Age, Alice Cooper (whose track Poison was on a previous disc - and is more 'rock' then anything on this compilation) or any number of other major bands? Perhaps the cost of licensing was too expensive, but even one or two stronger tracks could have pulled this compilation up a couple more notches - as it is, SingStar Rocks! track list sits in the middle of the pack.

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Playing with one player.
Looking at the package there's nothing we haven't seen before. Naturally the rap battles (which we still want to see turned into a pack of it's own) are gone due to the rock based tracks while the singing mini-games have also gone. Remaining however are all the single player and party game modes which are always entertaining. I guess one issue I have is that unlike many slower songs many of the rock tracks don't allow for as much variety in pitch and tempo meaning 'lesser' karaoke singers can do a bit better with this game - as was the case with my brother in law who strugges to score 2,000 at the best of times. In this title he scored over double that on several occasions.

Graphically SingStar Rocks! remains consistent with previous games in the series. The interface is clean and all the songs come with the original video clips, which are in remarkably good form given their age on occasion.

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Franz Ferdinand's song.
Audio in this game is, as with all the previous discs, quite good. It's only in Stereo sound, however the lyrics are clear, the game includes the volume control to turn up or down the mics, however there still isn't an option to remove the original singers voice. I would love to see the developers push the game with some new effects, the ability to a capella, or possibly push the games into ultra clear surround sound for a bit more effect.

Although this game doesn't include any new game modes or features (we suspect they're holding a bit back for the PS3 version) it's still tremendous fun especially if you like rock music. As with previous releases SingStar Rocks! is available in two flavours, one for $99.95 for those needing the microphones, or $49.95 for the standalone software. Now, if you'll excuse me I have to get back to competing against some mates for shots of Rum.*

* - Please note: Rum is not included in the SingStar Rocks! pack and should only be consumed if looking for a good time, or if you want to get your mates smashed...

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version).
GRAPHICSYet again everything is presented cleanly, fairly good video clips.
SOUNDIt's only Stereo, but the sound quality is good overall.
GAMEPLAYNo new game modes is a bit disappointing, but still tremendous fun.
VALUE30 tracks, but there aren't as many 'classic' rock tracks as expected.
OVERALLSingStar Rocks! is another great title in the franchise, and an essential purchase for rock music fans. Nothing overly new has been added, and needed some better tracks, but still worth a purchase.

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