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Xbox Preview - 'Karaoke Revolution'

by Paul Reith on Sept. 5, 2004 @ 3:47 a.m. PDT

Karaoke Revolution features a number of exciting single and multi-player modes that support up to eight other aspiring pop stars. Showtime Mode lets players climb from the clubs to the ultimate arena, while Arcade Mode and Karaoke Mode let you sing and compete alone or with friends. In addition, downloadable song packs, several customizable characters and multiple venues make it even more fun to step up to the mic!

Genre: Simulation
Developer: Harmonix Music Systems
Publisher: Konami Digital Entertainment
Release Date: November 2004


One of the most unpredictable party themes to have is “karaoke night.” Depending on who shows up, the party has the potential to be entertaining, hilarious, or downright horrible! It must be the potential for disaster that keeps us coming back for more.

Konami and Harmonix brought this experience home last year through the PS2 console, making the perfect opportunity to invite friends over to act like they had talent! Indeed, the competition can get quite fierce, with each person trying to outdo everyone else for the top score on a song. Scoring is based on pitch and rhythm, anyone who can hold a tune and keep a beat has a chance to be the best in Karaoke Revolution. This is where the losers might get nasty – watch as your highly competitive friends argue about who sounds better, even though their performance was scored lower by the machine. Hopefully everyone remembers this game is all in good fun, and getting friends together is more important than who won Karaoke Revolution. If not, our only comment after the dust settles is, “This is karaoke, not American Idol!”

Unfortunately, if you are one of those gamers who got an Xbox but not a PS2 you were never the host for this party; until now! Karaoke Revolution finally finds its way to the Xbox, and the year-long wait has been somewhat kind, allowing for customization to the Xbox platform. Karaoke Revolution is ready for use with the Xbox Live communicator headset and Xbox Music Mixer microphone, or it comes bundled with a Konami microphone from Logitech. Word on the street is that getting the customized Logitech headset with the game is the best idea, so drop the extra cash, it’ll be worth it.

If you haven’t seen Karaoke Revolution on the PS2, here’s the basic premise: players are scored on how well they hit and hold the notes in each song. Showtime mode challenges players to go from rags to riches by starting in clubs and striving to make it to the success of stadium concerts. Arcade and Karaoke Modes support song-by-song competition to see which friend really can sing a tune and be the pop star of your group, while the varying genres of songs give almost everyone a chance to sing a song they know and trump the competition. Titles for your next party include karaoke favorites, rock, pop, dance and R&B songs by popular artists R.E.M, Avril Lavigne, Nickelback, Barenaked Ladies, and Michelle Branch. Toss in ten Motown classics and this game’s got soul.

With the game coming to the Xbox, there have been a few adaptations to improve the experience. Xbox Live has been integrated into the game to make the game more dynamic. If you are familiar with the PS2 version, Karaoke Revolution for the Xbox has ten more songs for players to compete with. These are original recordings of classic Motown hits, and are an exclusive offering for the Xbox platform. Perhaps in response to repeated demand for expansion packs by Karaoke Revolution enthusiasts over the past year, Konami will utilize Xbox Live to deliver additional titles as they become available for the game, letting you add to the 45+ titles already included. What remains to be seen is how large the list of downloadable songs gets. To get a song licensed for use is a very laborious process, but we hope the record industry warms to this idea as Konami invades more and more households with its Karaoke Revolution titles.

From our look at the game everything seems to stack up pretty similar to the original PS2 title, but remember, this is NOT the same game as Karaoke Revolution Volume 3. Also scheduled for release this November, it will feature new songs, duets and head-to-head competition for the PS2. Sorry for the confusion, folks, but remember it like this: Karaoke Revolution is basically last year’s PS2 game with ten additional Motown classics and the potential to download additional songs. Why not have duets and head-to-head competition for the Xbox? Look for the sequel to Karaoke Revolution in 2005 for the Xbox – it hasn’t been announced yet, but we’re sure it’s coming. After all, Konami needs profits to bring us quality third-party titles long into the future, remember?

On our wish list: Konami throws a black t-shirt in with the Logitech headset bundle. In bold white letters it says, “GOT VOICE?”

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