reviews\ Oct 13, 2008 at 8:00 pm

SingStar Legends - PS2 - Review

Back in 2006, SingStar – that addictive karaoke title from Sony’s London development studio – released Legends expansion in the UK featuring a range of older and newer classic songs. From songs like Aretha Franklin’s Respect to Nirvana’s Smells like Teen Spirit, the compilation had some depth, though it was just a bit skimpy on what could have been.

Well, Legends is gearing up for release this month in the US and while that UK song list has been adjusted, what is left is a song list that just feels a little hollow, for lack of a better word. Some of the songs on that UK list have been on other US releases, so are not included in this list. Realize that there have been about 17 titles in the franchise in all (US and overseas’ releases) and Sony is not in the habit of including the same tracks on a number of the releases.

If you don’t know what SingStar is … here is the overview:

It is a karaoke game that requires microphones (not included with the expansion – they came with the original release), and uses three visual elements for the game content. The visuals are comprised of the music video from the song being played, the lyrics along the bottom of the screen and a pitch meter cutting through the middle of the screen. The goal is to sing the songs, either in the shortened forms (with bigger points accumulating over the time frame) or over the course of the full song, hit the notes, get a score and try to ride the top of the charts. There is no online play, but there are party games in which you can battle another singer with the game’s two microphones (which came with the original release, what is being looked at here is an expansion), or sing as a team with the goal – again – being to outscore your opponents. There are three difficulty levels, which essentially means the level of forgiveness the game will give you as you sing. Being a bit off is fine at the Easy level, but you have to be almost dead on at the hard level to score well. The multiplayer, or Party, mode has several games from the head-to-head Battle mode, to Pass the Mic (teams undertake different singing challenges in turns) . The different challenges include singing medleys for scores or to keep the meter above a specific bar by hitting the notes.

SingStar Legends PS2 screenshots

So what does Legends add to the stable of titles? Here is the new song list:

  • 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

  • The Jackson 5 - I Want You Back

  •  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)

  • The Monkees - Daydream Believer

  • Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit

  • Patsy Cline - Crazy

  • The Police - Roxanne

  • Ray Charles - Hit The Road Jack

  • The Righteous Brothers - Unchained Melody

  •  The Rolling Stones - Sympathy For The Devil

  • Sam Cooke - Wonderful World

  • The Smiths - This Charming Man

  • Tina Turner - Whats Love Got To Do With It?

  • Tom Jones - What's New Pussycat

  • Whitney Houston - I'm Your Baby Tonight

As is evident, this list dips back into the 60s up through the 80s, but while some of the songs are good, are they karaoke worthy? Probably to a certain segment of the population, but if you think rock ‘n roll when you think Legends, and don’t understand the intent of this list, you may be disappointed. However, when you think Legends, and think David Bowie, does Life on Mars? pop into you head immediately? Ray Charles had better songs than Hit the Road Jack (though this is a good tune), as did The Monkees. What about iconic bands like ABBA? And no disrespect to the fine work of Michael McDonald, but he hardly belongs on this list of artists like the Sam Cooke, John Lennon, and so on (but then neither does Joy Division or Biz Markie). The licenses may not have been available, but this just seems to come up a touch short. Once again, SingStar teases with the names of the artists, but fails to deliver the top songs associated with that group. That makes this version just a bit lackluster.

Legend is not a bad song list, by any stretch of the imagination; it is just not … well … legendary. Still, if you want to draw in an older karaoke crowd, just pop this into the PS2 and watch their faces light up with that whole familiarity visage when they've seen Patsy Cline, Tom Jones, Elvis and even Barry White.

Review Scoring Details for SingStar Legends

Gameplay: 7.0
Same old gameplay, same old formats.

Graphics: 6.8
Some of these songs released well before there were videos and as such, you get a montage of pictures of the artist.

Sound: 7.4
A good selection of songs, but many – even when you play the whole song – are very short. Kudos, though, to giving the older tunes such a rich sound.

Difficulty: Medium

Concept: 7.0
Same games, different song list.

Multiplayer: 7.3
While some of these songs are not meant for duets and such, the dev team did a decent job of splitting them up for battles. The only thing really working against them is the length of the songs.

Overall: 7.0
The songs are decent but just are not that long and the idea of the artists being ‘legendary’ is fine in most regards, but some of the songs selected to highlight that status hardly live up to the title.


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