|Are you like this man?|
Gameplay in Karaoke Revolution is simple and sweet. After choosing a song, the player sings it. All the words to the song you’re performing appear at the bottom of the screen as they are needed, making it easy to sing something you might have only heard once, or even not at all. Above the words are blue bars that represent the pitch you’re supposed to hit on each word. If you sing the tune as it was originally recorded, the pitch arrow turns green, skidding across the blue bar. Sparks start flying off of it and you earn a high score. The more you mess up, the less green the arrow becomes, and the fewer points you’re awarded. High scores unlock secrets, including extra singers to choose from, new backgrounds and more songs.
Speaking of the song selection, unfortunately, every tune in this game is a cover. That said, there are some truly great tracks you’ll want to sing over and over again, like “Billie Jean,” “Wind Beneath My Wings,” “Smooth Criminal,” “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” “Like a Virgin,” and “Hey Jealously.” There’s also “Ladies’ Night,” but my therapist told me not to talk about that song anymore.
|Yeah, I "borrowed" this shot from IGN. I'm telling you, but I still removed the watermark. I'm so vain, I think this song is about me.|
There are only two real problems with Karaoke Revolution: The first is that the mike has trouble picking up low notes, making it harder for someone with a deep voice, like Barry White or Dr. Girlfriend from the Venture Bros., to score points. This can be solved by singing an octave up, but that tends to make you strain your voice and sound like a Alvin and the Chipmunks. Secondly, just like in Rock Band, it’s really easy to cheat. If you know the tune, all you have to do is hit the correct pitch. The words you’re saying really don’t matter as long as it sounds right, just like when you’re dealing with you irate wife after forgetting her birthday.
With a group of friends playing along side me, the first time I fired up Karaoke Revolution, it lasted for hours. I sang (screamed?) so hard, my throat was sore for the next day and a half. Later on that week, someone called security on us for nearly taking down the walls with our shrill, shrill voices. But everything, even the misdemeanor charge, was worth it: Just like Dance Dance Revolution before it, Karaoke Revolution was a surprise hit from Konami. Seven years later, games like Rock Band, Super Smash Bros. and several other titles have surpassed it, but in the pre-Wii era, Karaoke Revolution was greatest causal party game ever.
It might be difficult to find now, but if you see it on the cheap, go out and snag a copy of Karaoke Revolution, gather some friends around the PS2, and sing ‘til you can’t sing no more. Don’t go and make things complicated; celebrate good times with Karaoke Revolution before it’s the end of the world as we know it.