There are very few games that large groups of people can enjoy together. As crazy as it sounds, some people don't like videogames, while the learning curve associated with most games ensures that only a few people are going to have a chance to win, and hence, have fun. One party game that's almost guaranteed to be a hit for gamers and non-gamers alike is Karaoke Revolution Party, the fourth game in Konami's popular karaoke series. This year's version of the game is the most complete package yet, adding EyeToy support and even dancing into the mix. It's the best Karaoke Revolution yet as well, but since it's essentially little more than an expansion pack, owners of the first three games might want to hold off, unless they're dying for new songs.
The core gameplay is almost identical to last year's game, other than the fact that you can now choose any song and venue right out of the gate. New items and songs are unlocked based on how many platinum albums you've gotten, and not by clearing a specific "area" like previous games. It's not really any better than the way it was; it's just different. If you're unfamiliar with how the game is played, well, it's karaoke. You pick a song and then sing along with it, matching your pitch to the bars on screen. If you're too high, the arrow points down, and if you're too low, the arrow points up. Even if you're as tone deaf as Ashlee Simpson you can find a difficulty level that will suit your "talents." Hardcore crooners will enjoy the duet mode, which takes some real skill to play (as well as two microphones). There are some new mini-games as well, like a volleyball game where you control the players by singing low and high notes. There's also a game where you control stage divers; neither of them are very interesting.
The biggest change to the game this time around is that you can now sing and dance at the same time. Using a DDR pad, you can select a difficulty for singing and a separate difficulty for dancing. The dance arrows scroll along the bottom of the screen, below the lyrics. It's very difficult to focus on both things at once, so you'll probably need to know the song really well before trying to dance along with it. Since you're singing and dancing the moves aren't very complicated, so you really don't feel like you're dancing, but if you're really into it you can ham it up for your friends. It's a nice addition, but one that many people aren't going to bother with, either because it's too hard or they don't have a dance mat.
Unfortunately, the PS2 version is offline, but one thing that it does have over the Xbox is support for the EyeToy. Using the EyeToy Cameo software, you can create an eerily accurate replica of yourself, and then use them during the game. The software is easy to use, and the results are impressive. Some people might have as more fun seeing a virtual likeness of themselves prance on stage than they will singing. As an added bonus, a demo of Dance Dance Revolution Extreme 2 is included on the disc.
Revolution Party's graphics are virtually unchanged from the last game, which in turn didn't look a whole lot different than the game before it. There are tons of wacky characters to choose from, each with a unique look, and there are plenty of costumes and accessories to dress them up in should their look not be unique enough for you. There are a variety of areas to perform in such as a garage, an American Idol type setting, a Superbowl type area, a bar, and several other places. Some areas use the EyeToy to project video into the background which is kind of cool but nothing too exciting.
There's simply no way to please everyone when it comes to a song list, but damned if Harmonix and Konami didn't try. 70's pop, 80's pop, classic rock, modern pop, easy listening, classic tunes, standards, and R&B are all featured in the eclectic track listing. There are 50 songs in the game, including: American Woman, Brick House, Crazy, Do You Really Want To Hurt me, Dust In the Wind, Endless Love, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Headstrong, I Left My Heart In San Francisco, Play That Funky Music, Sweet Caroline, and many more. Sure there are going to be several songs that you don't enjoy, but there's no way for that not to happen, so it's hard to criticize the song list.
Singing and dancing at the same time, Karaoke Revolution Party's biggest addition is sure to delight some, while disappointing many others. Trying to dance while singing is tougher than it looks, but if you're up for it, it adds a whole new twist to the game. If you don't own a dance pad, there's really not much here to warrant spending $40, because you're not getting anything new, other than some songs.