SingStar Legends Review
Despite hitting it big on the PlayStation 3 already, the SingStar franchise will continue to live on the PS2 for quite sometime. In fact, there's no doubt in my mind that there are still a number of SingStar games to look forward to following the release of SingStar Legends and Country. Of course this should come as no surprise, as the rhythm genre is one of the fastest growing genres in videogaming today, largely thanks to games like Guitar Hero and Singstar. And while the aforementioned two made the appeal of rhythm games much more mainstream, they're far from being the pioneers of it all.
Singstar's success comes with good reason too, as Karaoke Revolution often uses poorly done covers of songs, as opposed to licensing the actual tune. Sony's Singstar is so popular in Europe that its spawned close to 20 titles in a brief four years! Just about half of those releases have arrived in the US, but as I mentioned earlier, things are changing; more and more SingStar games are on their way here. The PlayStation 3's SingStar Vol. 2 and PS2's SingStar Pop Vol. 2 are the most recent games American gamers have been given, and it features a wave of tracks, many good, many I'd prefer to have never heard again. Here we have the PlayStation 2's SingStar Legends, and as you can tell, this one's all about the classics.
If you're not familiar with SingStar, here's quick crash course. Singstar uses a very clean user interface, one than even a five year old can navigate. You can either play a practice session, or play for points and attempt to score the best record. Because, karaoking is an activity that you don't normally do alone, feel free to call over another seven friends and compete in an eight-player activity. If you're wondering how SingStar games work, the game's superb voice recognition system will measure the tone and pitch of your voice, and instantly display your performance on the screen, as the vocal bars scroll along.
The object is to fill the bars on screen with accuracy by singing as accurately as possible. If you go flat, you'll get color below the bar; likewise, if you go sharp, you'll get color above the bar. It's a very intuitive system, and figuring out how it works doesn't take any longer than 10 seconds. Legends boasts a collection of 30 tracks from a wide assortment of incredible artists. Unlike other SingStar games where I didn't like every song, finding something I don't like in Legends would be nit-picking. The most notable artists to me in Legends are: Black Sabbath David Bowie, Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Nirvana, Joy Division, The Polices, Ray Charles, Rolling Stones, The Smiths, Tom Jones, and a few others. The entire soundtrack looks like this:
Barry White - "You're The First, The Last, My Everything"
Biz Markie - "Just A Friend"
Black Sabbath - "Paranoid"
Bonnie Tyler - "Total Eclipse Of The Heart"
David Bowie - "Life On Mars?"
Dusty Springfield - "Son Of A Preacher Man"
Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong - "Let's Call The Whole Thing Off"
Elton John - "I'm Still Standing"
Elvis Presley - "Blue Suede Shoes"
Grateful Dead - "Touch Of Grey"
James Brown - "I Got You (I Feel Good)"
John Lennon - "Imagine"
Johnny Cash - "Ring Of Fire"
Joy Division - "Love Will Tear Us Apart"
Madonna - "Papa Don't Preach"
Marvin Gaye - "What's Goin On?"
Michael McDonald - "I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)"
Nirvana - "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
Patsy Cline - "Crazy"
Ray Charles - "Hit The Road Jack"
Sam Cooke - "Wonderful World"
The Jackson 5 - "I Want You Back"
The Monkees - "Daydream Believer"
The Police - "Roxanne"
The Righteous Brothers - "Unchained Melody"
The Rolling Stones - "Sympathy For The Devil"
The Smiths - "This Charming Man"
Tina Turner - "What's Love Got To Do With It?"
Tom Jones - "What's New Pussycat"
Whitney Houston - "I'm Your Baby Tonight"
Me personally, the only songs I'd prefer not to sing are Tina Turner, Bonnie Tyler, Madonna, and Whitney Houston, for obvious reasons. But hey, I'll admit to loving "Son of a Preacher Man", Pulp Fiction has made that particular song a guilty pleasure. And still, the songs I wouldn't sing are still great songs, so it's not a slight against them. Ultimately, I am not the decider of what's right and wrong, so take a look at the list of songs and decide for yourself if Singstar Legends' assortment of tracks is worth your dollar. The bottom line here is that if you like what you see, this is a very well done and fun game with a solid voice recognition system.
Visually, Singstar features a very simple interface. Everything is neatly laid out, and the music bars scroll across the screen horizontally and smoothly. Unlike, say, Rock Band or Guitar Hero, you won't experience dizziness from following the scrolling notes, and that's a plus. Additionally, the colors are easy on the eyes, too. Lastly, most of the songs were also given their respective music videos, which are played in the background - a definite plus over Singstar's competition.
The audio is crystal clean, as you'd expect. Naturally, because size limitation isn't a concern, the songs are all well represented and come through the speakers with pristine clarity. But it is the pitch recognition that really shines here, as the system does a solid job of recognizing every little change in pitch, even the slightest bit of vibrato. Definitely a solid effort by Sony London.
All in all the list of songs tells the tale. If you like what you see, Singstar Legends is worth your money. If not, consider the other Singstar options, which include Singstar 90s, SingStar Country, Singstar Rocks, Singstar Amped (more rock), Singstar 80s, SingStar Pop Vol. 2, and others. If you're in Europe, you've got a plethora of other Singstar choices that us Americans haven't seen. If you own a PlayStation 3, I highly suggest picking up a copy of Singstar PS3, as it's upgradeable with song purchases via PSN.
10/30/2008 Arnold Katayev