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PS2 Review - 'Karaoke Revolution Party'

by Ricardo Chimal on Dec. 25, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m. PST

With over 50 songs, including all-new classic favorites and current smash hits, the fourth release in the incredibly popular series contains the largest library of music ever released in a Karaoke Revolution game.

Genre: Party/Rhythm
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Harmonix
Release Date: November 8, 2005

Buy 'KARAOKE REVOLUTION PARTY': Xbox | GameCube | PlayStation 2

Karaoke Revolution Party is the fourth installment in the Karaoke Revolution series, which has reigned the genre for years and is only now coming up against some viable competition in Red Octane's Guitar Hero.

Featuring 50+ songs across many genres, there is a tune here for just about everyone, although fans of upbeat and popular titles might not like this installment as much as previous versions. While there is a varied selection, there is no focus on a specific genre in order to appeal to all ages, but if you are fan of the '80s, you might enjoy offerings such as Cyndi Lauper's "Time after Time," Madonna's "Material Girl," and Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World." For the younger fans who might enjoy some faster tunes, current rock titles are also available, such as Beyonce's "Crazy in Love," Trapt's "Headstrong," and Tonic's "If You Could Only See."

As the title indicates, Karaoke Revolution Party has been changed to be more of a party game than a standalone karaoke machine. Gone is the single-player challenge mode in which you unlocked secrets, and in its place are several mini-games such as Yo! Dude! Rock! and Volleyball.

In Yo! Dude! Rock!, there are random characters that will run to the end of the stage. When they hit that spot, you must use your vocal prowess and timing skills to scream, "Yo," "Dude," or "Rock" to help the characters stage-dive. Yo is a low tone, Dude is monotonous, and Rock is a high-pitched tone. Over time, the random characters just start dashing towards the end of the stage en masse, and having to scream the appropriate tones at the right times can get quite hectic. It can also be quite fun to watch though, especially if you have a friend who can hit those vocals well.

On the other hand, Volleyball is quite mediocre. It's more like Pong with people as the paddles, a volleyball as the ball, and a net instead of the middle line. It plays a bit like Yo! Dude! Rock! in that it requires you to move the paddle with your vocals, so if you have good control over them, the game is a breeze.

There is actually a third mini-game that is found only in a two-microphone party, FanFare. This is where you and another player work together to try and pick up items thrown by fans. This requires some coordination and yelling at the teammate to tell him/her what type of pitch is needed in order to catch the items. It's actually a lot of fun to watch, because my friend and I would often yell at each other, screaming "No, too far!", "Go back!", and things of that nature.

These additions may have added a new flair to the party aspects, but what I feel is the best addition is Song and Dance, in which players can now sing while carrying out Dance Dance Revolution type moves on the dance pad. Just remember to start out with easy judging because on the harder modes (even if you are a DDR champion), it is quite difficult to process singing and dancing commands at the same time. After playing this mode, I feel so much more respect for the singers who can both sing and dance.

Well these mini-games and additional modes certainly signify a small change in the KR series, a small change, a few things have given Karaoke Revolution Party a new graphical step-up from the last. That is the ability to create your own characters, making them as ugly or fanboy pretty as you want. If playing with your own created character isn't enough, you can always plug in the EyeToy and have your own cameo on the video screen or set up yourself as a cameo character.

One issue that still hasn't changed is that if you're a guy and decide to do a song sung by a gal, the tune's supporting vocals remain female, which makes for quite the strange perforce. This can be changed by turning down the volume of the supporting vocals or pumping up the mic volumes.

Although the solo challenge mode is gone, other modes have been carried over from previous KR iterations, such as Duets. Variations on Duets include: Duets Medley, Knock-Out, Knock-Out Medley, and Sing -Off. In addition to these modes, Harmonix has also added in the KR Challenge to focus on the party aspect – it's essentially the entire game played against other friends, and boy does that get fun. It's pretty much an all-out battle to see who is truly the grand Karaoke Revolution Party master.

The audio for the Karaoke Revolution series has always been its strong point, and it still remains so. The songs, if not sung by the original singers, do a really good job of imitating them and are truly enjoyable to sing along with. When you turn down the vocals, the background music is enough to get you through the song, as long as you know it. Without this high audio quality the karaoke revolution series would have never reached the heights it has reached. The only thing I wish for is eventually they enable Dolby or DTS, like EA has done with Madden 2006.

On the other hand, the graphics have received small perks here and there, thanks to the ability to create your own character, as mentioned above. The characters now look far more normal than before and no longer resemble large Power Puff Girls; the stages have also been revamped, and in my opinion, the best stage would have be the Las Vegas venue.

Since the first volume of Karaoke Revolution, the series has been known as a great party game for the PS2, and the addition of this title just enhances an already astounding series. If you were a fan of the older KR versions, Karaoke Revolution Party will also make an excellent addition to your collection.

Score: 8.6/10

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