The most fun you couldn’t possibly have by yourself.
First off, I want to state that if you’re a loner and have no friends, do not buy this game. Don’t rent it, stay away. In fact, seek counseling, because you may be suffering from clinical depression.
For the rest of you who have at least one friend, Karaoke Revolution Party will be a treat. Granted, you either have to be able to carry a tune or have no shame; but it’s all worth it. This is non-traditional gameplay at its finest.
Karaoke Party Revolution (KRP) is a very simple game at its core. You can play with one or two microphones and/or dance pads. The audio settings are customizable, so if you feel comfortable with the songs you’re going to sing, feel free to turn down the main vocals (by default, you sing along with the lead singer) and make the song your own.
“What of these dance pads you speak of, Mr. Reviewer? I love DDR! Could this be another dance game for GameCube!?!” Well, yes and no. This game is first and foremost about singing, but you may sing and dance. So, take off your shoes, lay down your mat and start singing and dancing to Culture Club’s “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” (Don’t deny it, I know you want to! Uh, step and sing, that is—not hurt me.)
You will be given a choice, of course, so if you want to dance—but you’re not a pro—then you can play in an easier mode. Personally, I have zero coordination, so easy mode was just right for me. I won’t judge the game on how difficult it may or may not be, simply because there are those among us who are Dance Dance Revolution gods and goddesses, while on the far end of the spectrum are people like me. Nevertheless, if you’re familiar enough with the song, the dancing won’t be too rough.
Now we really haven’t had a large number of karaoke games on the GameCube released in the U.S. In fact, by my last count, we’ve had a total of none. So, allow me to explain how it works. The game doesn’t care if you’re a good singer; it doesn’t bother with whether you sing loudly or softly (so long as the mic is picking up your voice); and it’s downright hostile to the use of vibrato. All the game wants is for you to sing at the right pitch. Even if you sing one octave higher or lower, you’re good to go. While professional singers may scoff, this setup does even the playing field a bit when you’re playing on random and end up with “I Will Always Love You.”
The game also judges you on the precise timing of your singing. You’ve got to sing the words when they’re cued. If not, you lose points. It works the same way as Dance Dance Revolution: timing is everything.
“But Mr. Reviewer, I enjoy stylizing while I sing. You couldn’t expect me to sing ‘Brick House’ without changing it just a little!” Well, don’t worry! You can still enjoy KRP without even playing the game. There is a full Karaoke mode in which you simply sing whatever you want, how you want, and you can leave it up to your friends to judge you.
Now that leads me to the single player game. Strangely, it doesn’t exist in any of the modes but in Medley mode (in which you choose a particular number of songs and sing pieces of them in succession) and in the worthless minigames. Why? Only Bemani knows. I suppose we could turn the question around and ask, why would you buy this game just to play by yourself?
The game shines in multiplayer mode and particularly in Duet mode. In Duet mode, you can play a number of cooperative or head-to-head games. But, there is one major issue with this mode. Those of you familiar with the GameCube mic know that it requires the memory card slot. Well, in order to play Duet mode, you need two microphones (one comes with the game, and you could get a second one from Mario Party 6 or 7). So you’ll be constantly switching the memory card and one of the mics every time the game needs to save. Not fun, but that’s a hardware limitation and not the fault of the game.
Brace yourselves audiophiles; the songs are compressed for the small GameCube disc size, but fortunately, to normal human ears, they sound great. Plus, they’re a fun mix (unless you only love metal, and if you do, you won’t care about karaoke anyway) of 70s, 80s, and 90s, without being totally soft rock. On the other hand, there is some masochistic pleasure to be had when you’re stuck singing “For You I Will.”
I hate picking on minor things, but the included minigames are pretty poor. They could just as easily been left off, as they add very little to the experience. One is just a version of pong in a beach volleyball setting, where you aim for the ball by raising and lowering the pitch of your voice. The other is a strange minigame in which you cause people to stage dive by hitting the proper vocal range.
As for the look of the game, it’s all right. Seriously, no one is going to buy this game because of the graphics. They do their job, the character animations are funny, and the characters are customizable in their looks and fashion. They certainly do not detract from the game, since the fun is in the performance.
Those of you with social lives, grab this game, take it (and your GameCube, if necessary) to your next party. It’ll be a hit and people will love you for it. You may even garner a few fans. As for me, while this game is not my “Greatest Love of All,” it still has “Pieces of Me.”