As we mentioned in the introduction, this is the first Singstar title to be specific to a genre. It is difficult to produce a compilation disk and keep everybody happy, and Studio London appear to have given up and just produced a music disk on one of the most popular decades of music around. Yes, the 80's were the time of Duran Duran, Vanilla Ice and Wham. If you don't know what i'm talking about here then it might be advisable to stop reading the review now, as the game is unlikely to appeal to you.
In terms of gameplay modes nothing has really changed from the previous game; the single-player mode is still extremely lackluster, and even a recycle of the first game's single player mode would be better than nothing. There are also only a few rap battles; we assume this is because back in the 80's Eminem was considered a tasty chocolate to eat while you were watching Back to the Future rather than an artist.
Studio London have also included a novelty "Pong" game (Called Singsong) that utilises your voice to control the paddles. It's nothing more than a little diversion, but if Studio London could put some more effort in and create some more of these little mini games it would add at least something new to the series.
The gameplay in the game remains pretty much the same as Singstar's predecessors. Even after our previous comments, it is still possible to just hum your way through the song, which can kind of defeat the purpose of singing. The technology behind the game just hasn't evolved either, which is disappointing, and until this happens the game won't be able to truly measure the real Singstars in comparison to the pretenders. However, at least if someone is humming in a multiplayer game they are likely to be persecuted by the other players.
Once again the gameplay is highly addictive, and the game remains one of the most addictive titles on the Playstation 2. No matter what type of person plays the game, it is likely that you'll see them act in a way that you've just never seen before. Seeing one of your traditionally masculine friends belt out Nena's 99 Red Balloons is the pinnacle of multiplayer gaming entertainment.
The video clips are a little grainy, but this is to be expected considering they are over twenty years old. It's also humorous to look back on just how average and basic video clips actually were in the 80's.
Some of the songs in the game are brilliant, and are likely to be sung a lot more than others. Some songs may sound good to sing, but in reality when you get up to sing them they aren't as easy or enjoyable as you would think. 99 Red Balloons is one title which comes to mind. More so than in any other incarnation, some of the introductions to the songs are long - Survivor's Eye of the Tiger is one such example, with the introduction going for about a minute. If you select a short version of Eye of the Tiger you get about a minute and a half's worth of singing along with a minute-long introduction, which barely makes it seem worth the effort.
The tracklist is really one of the best in any of the incarnations yet. Those who are not fans of the 80's may have a few problems, but a lot of these songs are instantly recognisable even if you don't consider yourself a 80's music fan. We think that Studio London should keep releasing genre-specific titles as these appear to work well, and there are more hits on this compilation than misses.
The full tracklist for Singstar 80's is:
- Alice Cooper: Poison
- Belinda Carlisle: Heaven Is A Place On Earth
- Billy Joel: Uptown Girl
- Blondie: Atomic
- Culture Club: Karma Chameleon
- Dexy's Midnight Runners: Come On Eileen
- Dolly Parton: Nine To Five
- Duran Duran: Rio
- Erasure: A Little Respect
- Europe: The Final Countdown
- Fairground Attraction: Perfect
- Foreigner: I Want To Know What Love Is
- Frankie Goes To Hollywood: The Power Of Love
- Kate Bush: Running Up That Hill
- Katrina And The Waves: Walking On Sunshine
- Madness: Our House
- Madonna: Material Girl
- Marillion: Kayleigh
- Nena: 99 Red Balloons
- Run DMC: It's Tricky
- Simple Minds: Don't You (Forget About Me)
- Soft Cell: Tainted Love
- Starship: We Built This City
- Survivor: Eye Of The Tiger
- Tears For Fears: Everybody Wants To Rule The World
- The Cure: Just Like Heaven
- The Pretenders: Brass In Pocket
- Tina Turner: Simply The Best
- Vanilla Ice: Ice Ice Baby
- Wham!: Wake Me Up Before You Go Go
All of the expansion disks help to extend the lifespan of the game, but after a while these songs become repetitive. At the very beginning it is very simple to think you won't get tired of the songs, but when you've sung the songs a few times they do become repetitive, and singing some of the songs may feel more like a chore than a fun game. It is important to note that players who normally play games alone will definitely not get as much enjoyment out of this game, as it is geared primarily for multiplayer.
Singstar 80's isn't anything new, it isn't breaking any ground, and the novelty of using a microphone to play a game just isn't there anymore. However, if you're a fan of the series and a fan of the 80's then this game is definitely worth picking up. We're a little disappointed that Studio London seem reluctant to try anything new; the technology is becoming a little out of date now and the option to hum is always there, but as it stands this game offers one of the best tracklists. The only way to judge if you want to pick this game up is if the track list appeals to you, and thankfully it appealed to us.
Singstar 80's will be available exclusively on the Playstation 2 on the 10th of November, 2005. The game is available for $99.95 with the microphones bundled, or $49.95 as a stand alone game.
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