Leather-tongued, lead-headed, dizzy and worryingly positioned with my head in a pile of dirty socks, I awoke this morning surrounded by empty bottles and overstocked rubbish bins with three thoughts buzzing through my head. 1) SingStar Popworld is a major return to form for Sony's competitive karaoke series. 2) Given the amount of alcohol required to truly enjoy it, it's arguably the only PS2 game with a subscription fee worth paying. 3) Doo-wah-diddy-diddy-dum-diddy-doo!
The original SingStar, which you should certainly own by now, definitely struck a chord when it came out last year. Karaoke has always been fun, but the way SingStar measured your performance basing its assessment on your ability to hold a tune rather than simply hit notes gave the karaoke a much-needed competitive edge. It played videos at the same time, too. It was so much its own thing, Sony reasoned, that it discouraged its official website writers from using the 'k' word in describing it.
There were a few problems. Player voices were slightly out of synch with singer voices on playback, you were expected to pick the right component of a harmony instinctively, which didn't always pan out, and it was possible to fool the game into giving out a high score simply by humming (or even blatantly singing the wrong lyrics - in our editor's case, a string of expletivesr) as long as you were in tune. Meanwhile the game fooled you by penalising you for any little flowery vocal embellishments. Presumably why there are no Christina Aguilera songs. (Man, imagine if there were no Christina Aguilera songs!)