Singstar

Brings out the soft side in all you big men out there? Sicher...

Until now, German 'art' videos have been the only entertainment package designed to make participating men with voices like cement mixers actually feel good. Contrary to popular belief, grisly 'bear' types need reassurance as much as anyone that they sound exciting when ‘performing'. Singstar may very well be a defining moment for big men with a softer side.

Singstar's a karaoke game. The build specifics on the microphones (you get two) is superb, far better quality than the Deutsche video you granddad kept under his mattress. Slotting into a bespoke USB connector for your PS2, they feel weighty and solid in the hand. Stop being so smutty.

Lemmy at it!

Music in the preview version we've tested is 'limited' to Busted, George Michael, Roy Orbison, Madonna and Dido, giving ten tracks in total. The final version comes with a superstar line-up, including mighty S-Club 7 (we're not joking) and The Ace of Spades by Motorhead. That's The Ace of Spades by Motorhead.

Your lady-friend will go all stupid and invite all her other lady-friends over to shriek Like a Virgin out at 400dbs immediately on 'getting' what it means to have Sony licensed software, microphones and a PlayStation 2 hooked up to your TV. You can get smashed out of your face and pretend to be Lemmy and 4am while actually sounding like a tortured hippo. Singstar is a finely balanced beast.

The experience of playing Singstar is superb. You're rated on how well you hit and hold notes, with points scored as long as you stay in tune, not necessarily in the key. Bear people take note. Vasectomies aren't necessary to sing Like a Virgin. Which, for bear types, is probably a good thing.

Go all the way with Madge

'Gold notes' held for the correct time give great points. So, when Madonna yelps "hey!" at an ear-piercing height, you go with her for extra points. At the end of the song your points are totted up and your rated depending on whether you sound like an aspiring George Michael ('Rising Star', 'Super Singer', etc) or a huge Teutonic god growling, "Ich komme!" through an ecstatic grimace.

All the songs have the original videos, and you can switch off the artist when playing pack to hear yourself in all your glory. There's a few gimmicky effects to please the ladies in the house, such as making yourself sound like a child or, funnily enough, a baritone male. Sehr gut.

Easy, medium and hard settings force you to increasingly hit the right notes and timing of the various stars. This could get fiendishly addictive, provided the music is to your taste. Try exactly mimicking "Superstar" by Jamelia. Try it in your head, right now. See?

Don't bogart that, Mike

Two-player options let you battle or perform duets, and party games such as Pass the Mike, really should bring the flavour of stereotypical Japan into your living room. There's a heap of stuff we haven't seen yet, so we'll save that for the review.

Developed by Studio London, Singstar is looking fairly unassailable in the karaoke field, a fact not entirely surprising given that Sony publishes, like, loads of cool music, man. It should make welcome relief from downloading sketchy MPEGs of Rudi Voller look-alikes all day at the very least, right kids?

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