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Karaoke Revolution Party

Score: 88%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Harmonix
Media: GCD/1
Players: 1 - 2 Simultaneous, 1 - 8 Alternating
Genre: Rhythm/ Party

Graphics & Sound:

For a long time, there has been a lack of rhythm games for the GameCube, and it seems that with games like DDR Mario Mix and Karaoke Revolution Party, Konami is determined to fill that void.

Graphically, Party is just as nice to look at as the previous volumes of this game on other consoles. Not much has changed in the way of style (besides an overhaul in the menu system, that is). Each character, as well as his/her/its clothes, is full of detail and fit into the game's many different venues wonderfully. An added bonus is the ability to not just choose from a selection of pre-designed characters, but to edit and mold your own.

That's right, you now have the ability to put yourself on the stage, or at least a pretty good likeness. Though you have to choose from different pre-existing heads, you have the ability to manipulate the character’s body shape to be anything from muscular to skinny to husky and anywhere in between. With this type of control, it isn't hard to find a character model that resembles you pretty closely.

But it's the sound and music selection that really matters in a Karaoke Revolution game. In Party, you will have more songs than any previous version, and with more than 50 options available from the start (and a few that can be unlocked) you will be hard pressed to find a tune you can't have fun with.

Songs like "Drive" by Incubus (one of my personal favorites), Madonna's "Material Girl", Janis Joplin's "Me and Bobby McGee", "Play That Funky Music" from Wild Cherry, "That's Amore" by Dean Martin, and Joan Jett's "I Love Rock-N-Roll" fill this volume, making it have not only the most songs, but the widest variety I've seen hit a Karaoke Revolution game yet.


Gameplay:

Karaoke Revolution Party focuses on the "Party" a lot more than the previous versions. My friends and I (well, mostly them while I sang quietly in the background) would always play these games while at parties. But this volume has geared itself towards that use more than any of its predecessors.

While in previous volumes, you would unlock songs by doing well in the Single Player mode, here pretty much all of the songs and all of the locations are unlocked from the start. Instead, your Gold, Platinum and Diamond records (yes there is a new rating, this one for when you get a perfect 50,000 on a song) count towards trophies and unlocking various clothes and hairstyles for your characters.

Now, instead of Single Player and Duet modes, there is Quickplay, One Mic Party, Two Mic Party, and Sing and Dance modes. Quickplay is the closest thing this game has to a Single Player mode. Here you can go in and play through one song or all 50.

One and Two Mic Party mode lets you and your friends compete to see who has the most control over their voice. Like the other versions, you and your friends will alternate control of the Mic as you sing various songs of either your choosing or randomly selected. Each person can set their own difficulty level (since some people are more skilled or have practiced more than others) as well as their own characters.

But of course the real new feature that makes KR Party different from the other volumes is Sing and Dance Mode. In this mode, you can try your hand at watching both the pitch bar and the dance arrows, but this is more than enough of a challenge for one person. The thing that seemed to work best with my friends and I was to have one person dance while the other sings.

Ever since getting this game for review, I have been bothered by the fact that it is on the GameCube. Most of these issues have nothing to do with the game itself but deal with the system and how it is not exactly set up to handle the game. Those problems are enumerated in the Game Mechanics section. The only real beef I have with this version of the gameplay is that there is no added incentive to get the GameCube version of Karaoke Revolution Party. The Xbox game allows you to download new content, while the PS2 flavor has a new Eye Toy functionality that allows you to map your own face to a character model (something that is both cool and a little creepy).


Difficulty:

Just like the previous versions, Karaoke Revolution Party gives you the ability to choose from one of four difficulty settings: Easy, Medium, Hard and Expert. These different settings merely change the length of the meter you have to fill in each measure. So in Easy, you simply have to fill up a smaller bar to earn just as many points as you would in the other difficulty settings.

On top of that, each song has a difficulty rank. This is denoted by the number of notes next to the song's name. A song can have one, two, or three notes. This is similar to the number of feet next to a game in DDR, which, by the way, is carried over for how hard it is to dance to a song.


Game Mechanics:

Just like the Karaoke Revolution games for the other consoles, Karaoke Revolution Party's control system is very different from pretty much any other game out there. Basically, the game measures your pitch, and as your pitch rises and falls, so does an arrow at the bottom of the screen. The goal is to try to keep the arrow on target as the song's pitch changes (depicted by bars that fly from the right side of the screen.

The Dance Mode works like a mix between KR and DDR. As the song progresses, arrows fly from the right side of the screen (just under the pitch bars), and you need to hit the correct button on the dance pad at the right time to get points. Besides the use of the controller to navigate menus, that is all there is to the game's control scheme.

Okay, so if you own or have seen the GameCube's Mic, you probably noticed that it plugs into the system's memory slot. That's fine, right? When they designed the tool for Mario Party 6, this was great; it allowed you to plug in all four controllers, your memory card and the microphone (after all you really only need one memory card while playing a game). This was a great idea for the party game because it meant that when a player needed the mic, you just passed it to them and you didn't have to worry about changing which port it was plugged into. Unfortunately, the idea doesn't carry over very well to Karaoke Revolution Party’s multi-mic support.

So if you have two microphones and want to sing a duet or play Two-Mic Mode, what do you do? Why, you take out your memory card and plug in the other mic. But what happens when the game auto saves between each and every song? You take the mic out of slot 2 and put your card back in while it saves -- and change it out again for the next song. I found this to be a major annoyance and one of the few things that proves a GameCube version of Karaoke Revolution isn't necessarily the best idea.

Quite frankly, I'm not sure who this game is intended for. If you are already a fan of the KR series, then most likely you own a PS2 or Xbox and you should get this version of the game for that system. If you've never played the game before, then Party isn't exactly the title to start off on since it has a limited Single Player mode and is geared more towards the big-crowd scene (and quite frankly when I think of a party-console, it is not the GameCube). If you are looking into the series, trying to decide if you will like it, then try out one of the other volumes on one of the other systems first. It seems to me the only audience this game is truly applicable to are those gamers who only have a GameCube, but found they liked the game while at a party or friend's house.

Either way, getting this version has plenty of hidden costs. Karaoke Revolution Party comes with one microphone, but if you want to try out the duets or Two Mic Mode, then you will either need to buy a copy of Mario Party 6 or purchase a GC mic separately. The same thing goes for the dance pad. If you want to try out the Song and Dance mode, then you should either have DDR Mario Mix (since as far as I know that is the only dance game out there for the GameCube) or buy a GC dance pad separately.

Bluntly put, this game is great, but it doesn't really have a place on this system. There haven't been enough rhythm games out there to insure that people have the right equipment for it and this is the fourth game in the series. People jumping in here will have missed a lot of great gameplay. If you can get it for another system, do so. If all you have available to you is a GameCube then make sure you can afford the peripherals before deciding on this purchase.


-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Nintendo GameCube Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: Mutant Nightmare Nintendo DS Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: Mutant Nightmare

 
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