Unlike Nintendo, Sony rarely releases niche peripherals for its systems. One exception to that rule is the EyeToy, which has actually sold quite well, but has suffered from a lack of third-party support. EyeToy Play, Groove, and Anti-Grav, the three main releases for the peripheral have all shown off interesting ideas for using the camera, but none have been able to take convert these ideas into a full-fledged game. Sega SuperStars, from Sonic Team, continues this trend with a collection of mini-games that are generally fun, but get boring and frustrating after a small amount of time.
If you don't know, the EyeToy is a small USB camera that attaches to the front of the PlayStation 2. The camera is then used to track your movements, which allows you to interact with the action on your television, essentially making you the star of the game. This game requires an EyeToy, and offers no functionality without one.
Sega SuperStars features 16 mini-games, many of which are similar to what was found in EyeToy Play, except that these games feature Sega characters. Here are a few of the highlights :
Super Monkey Ball: This one plays just like the other Monkey Ball games, except you'll use your arms to control your monkey's speed and direction as he navigates through the level towards the goal. This is done by positioning your arms in various clock positions, and for the most part it controls pretty well. The EyeToy can't handle precision movements too well, so the courses are rather long and simple, but it's still fun to play.
Samba De Amigo: Sadly, this is as close to a new Samba game as we're ever going to get, but it's better than nothing. Just like in EyeToy Groove, you'll have to move your arms towards the target that the balls are hitting on screen. They move to the rhythm of the music, but the game requires such precision that you will be focusing merely on hitting the right targets, and not on dancing. There aren't too many songs, but some classics have returned. All this game did for me was make me want to break out my Dreamcast, the maracas, and my copy of the original game.
Nights: Like Samba, this is probably as close to a new Nights game as we're going to get, and like Samba, it's better than nothing. You fly around levels, tilting your arms in the direction you wish to soar – and that's about it. It's not terribly exciting, but it does give you a neat sensation of flying.
Other games on the disc include: Virtua Fighter, Crazy Taxi, House of the Dead, Sonic the Hedgehog, Billy Hatcher, Virtua Striker, Puyo Pop Fever, Space Channel 5, and Chu Chu Rocket. Most of them are amusing for a short time, with a key exception being Crazy Taxi. Here you don't get to drive a taxi, you get to hail a taxi, which in the entire history of the world has never once been described as fun. You have to jump around, flail your arms, and yell to fill a meter and get a ride, and yes, it's as awful as it sounds.
The game also has a Chao garden, where you can interact with the cute little guys from Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast. You can hatch them, pet them, and even purchase items in a store using the rings you earned in the other mini-games. It's a neat idea, but there isn't a whole lot to do, which is just like the Chao in Sonic Adventure.
There's not a whole lot to talk about when it comes to SuperStar's graphics, since they mostly consist of you and a couple things on screen. The games like Monkey Ball and Nights, where you're not the main character on screen, all look decent, but certainly don't have the detail that the original games had.
This game needs quite a bit of light, and can be pretty finicky, so make sure you've got an extra lamp in the room. You'll also need a fair amount of space between you and the television, or you're going to be accidentally selecting menu options until you cry.
Sega SuperStar's audio is everything it needed to be. The sound effects are faithful to the original games, and for the most part, so is the soundtrack. It's kind of disappointing to not get more songs in Samba De Amigo and Space Channel Five, but the controls are so spotty that you'd probably not want to play long enough to enjoy all the tunes.
Just like every other EyeToy game, Sega SuperStars has some nice ideas, but there's simply nothing to hold your attention longer than a couple of house. The camera simply cannot detect movements accurately enough to make replaying games for a high score a viable option, since you'll often not get credit for things you did correctly. If nothing else, this game only reminds you of how great Sega used to be, and makes you wonder why some of these great games and characters aren't being utilized in a better way.