Karaoke Revolution Party
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2005-12-19 Xbox Music/Rhythm E (Everyone) Konami / Harmonix

I've wanted a Karaoke game for so long, but the shyness would always get in the way. I kept thinking, "I'm not going to play this, everyone will hear me!" So this is it, my singing debut.

The first thing that caught my attention was the character customization. It's quite nice and detailed, with lots of options for clothing and hair. Except you can't really create your own face from scratch, there's a number of ready-made heads instead. However, I really liked being able to change the body shape. Now I actually know how big my butt looks on TV! PS2 players have the advantage of importing a model of their own head with the Eye Toy and feel like they truly are in the game.

Seeing how a character acts on stage is a real treat too. They clap, dance, run, jump and get the crowd going. They sure have some cool moves! More impressive than the moves themselves, is watching them lip synch while you play in Karaoke mode (which has no judging). I really enjoyed that little detail.

The song list is composed of 50 tracks (not all available right away), ranging from oldies to cool hits from the 80's and today's hits. The songs include Aerosmith's "Crazy", A-ha's "Take on Me", Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl", Madonna's "Material Girl" and one of my favorites, "Pain" by Jimmy Eat World, plus hits by Blondie, Sting, Tears for Fears, Dean Martin, Neil Diamond and many more.

The songs can be played in short or full versions - short being the way to go if you plan to have several friends joining in on the fun - or even in medleys which you can customize to your liking.

The game checks your voice for pitch and rhythm, and it's interesting to see how it works. Although I ran into problems using the Xbox headset not recognizing high pitch notes (especially in A-ha's Take on Me, the highest note might as well not have been there), pitch recognition using the microphone was spot on. It doesn't matter if you sing the lyrics though, you can "la la la" or hum the entire song and sometimes get better score results that if you were actually saying the words. Judging can be set in a number of difficulties ranging from easy to expert.

Actually, since I don't have a dance mat, I was forced to use the headset to have my hands free to play "Sing and Dance" with the controller, which made up for some crappy scores. I nearly had to eat the damn thing for it to register the pitch properly and it still wasn't working on really high notes and some low notes. Seeing text and arrows scroll at the bottom of the screen makes me quite dizzy, so my "Sing and (finger) Dance" experiences are cut short after a couple of songs.

There are also a couple of competitive modes with duets where two people sing simultaneously but are judged separately, as well as two-microphone gameplay.

KRP also offers you a couple of mini-games. The beach volleyball game is not all that interesting. It's just like Pong, but you use your voice and pitch to command your team to move up or down on the screen and bounce the ball back to the opponent.

Yo! Dude! Rock! makes up for the volleyball game though, ranking high on the hilarious list. The purpose of this mini-game is to help the runners stage-dive onto the crowd by saying the words "yo", "dude" and "rock" in the right pitch and at the right time. As they start running across the stage faster and faster, you'll find yourself blurting out a non-stop torrent of "yos", "dudes" and "rocks". Unfortunately, I can't keep up with the runners since after just a couple of "yos" I'm already laughing myself to tears.

Tons of unlockables are waiting to be discovered: new characters, extra clothes and accessories, more songs and even trophies. If you want to increase your song list considerably, you can check out the available downloads on Xbox Live. There's a free download pack with a few songs, and the remaining 20 cost $5 each. If you are really a Karaoke nut or if your money grows on trees, you can download all the song packs for about $80.

Overall, I'm really enjoying Karaoke Revolution Party even if I don't know half of the songs in it - my musical tastes are basically stuck in the 80's (no wonder I unlocked that trophy right away). I'm sure the musical diversity in this title will appeal to some as it will disappoint others.

KRP has given me a very good excuse to go out and buy a dance mat. Add a few bottles of wine to that, since you won't catch me dancing unless I'm drunk. Then I can make a complete fool out of myself in my room and be blissfully ignorant the next day. Until then, I'll be singing Uptown Girl, Take on Me and Pain until I can master them on Expert.

Now if only I had friends to invite over for a sing and dance party...

Special thanks to Marisa Gross, Tracy Rosenthal-Newsom and Konami for providing a copy of this title.