SingStar 90's Review
SingStar '90s is one the latest game in the PS2 karaoke series. If you've played any of the previous games in the series, then you pretty much know what you can expect from this one. While the last two games, SingStar '80s and SingStar Amped each came with a nice and focused set of tracks, SingStar '90s is a bit of a step backward in that once again the series has tried to hard to include a little something for everybody in its track list. Sure, almost everyone at a party can find a song or two to his or her liking on this soundtrack, but they had better really like those few songs because those are probably the only ones that they will want to sing. BoyZ II Men, Nirvana, and Wilson Phillips on the same soundtrack? That's just a tad too diverse to keep someone coming back for more when faced with singing the same few songs over and over again.
Before taking a closer look at the soundtrack, I need to take a step back for those of you new to SingStar. First of all, SingStar is a karaoke game and as such requires a microphone to play, so be sure that you pick up a version bundled with the microphones or else you won't be able to play the game. The microphones plug into the USB port of your PS2, and they work just fine with a PS3 as well. There are two single player games available, one of which scores your performance and the other which just lets you sing freestyle purely for your own enjoyment. When playing for a score, you'll see the song lyrics appear two lines at a time at the bottom of the screen as bars of varying length and at different vertical positions scroll across the screen from left to right while the song's music video plays in the background. The bars are used to indicate sung notes, with the length of the bar representing the time the note should be held and the vertical position signifying the relative pitch. As you sing into the mic, your notes are drawn across the screen and the object is to match your notes as closely as possible to the bars scrolling across the screen. While this is a good enough way to score your ability to sing a song, it does have its drawbacks. First of all you don't need to sing the right words. In fact, you don't need to sing any words. Humming or singing "la la la" work just as well, as long as you hit the right pitch. Tying the scoring to pitch has another consequence in that the game forces you to try to sing each song in the exact same style as the original singer. If the pitch of your voice doesn't match well with the original singer's, then you'll feel somewhat awkward trying to parrot the original rather than letting loose and singing the song your way.
SingStar was created as a party game and so comes with a number of different multiplayer modes. Pass the Mic has up to eight players singing in turn to compete in a number of challenges in addition to accumulating the highest score. Duet has two players working in unison to earn the best combined score. Duet's counterpart is Battle, which has both players singing the same song at once in an attempt to get the highest score. Get the right group of fun friends together and SingStar can be a great time.