You know the problem with SingStar ‘90s, the latest in publisher Sony’s juggernaut-like karaoke franchise? It’s not the presentation - the videos look top-notch, and the vocals are the original artists, so that's all copacetic. It’s not the game modes - with everything from a simple solo mode to four vs four “micro-medley” play, battle or survival modes, there are a wealth of options. You can even use the EyeToy camera to watch yourself sing instead of eyeballing the original artist’s video, and save your performances.
It’s the songlist.
Several years and something like a dozen games later (if you count the UK releases, which differ substantially), and even though this list leans toward anemic radio rock, we’re still getting a scattershot 30-song listing of music that crosses genres and styles too much, spreading the selection too thinly.
For instance, your humble author loves screeching along to Nirvana’s “Lithium”, and Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” - but will probably never jump on Boyz II Men’s “Motownphilly” or New Kids on the Block’s “Step By Step” unless there’s a lot of money or the threat of bodily harm involved.
Your tastes may differ, but no matter what you like you’re going to get a lot you don’t like, because it’s too varied. Unless you like country, in which case you’re just straight outta luck. Incidentally, the US and UK songlists for this game are radically different, as is usually the case.
Now, racking the songlist might seem like a nitpick, but the fact of the matter is, the gaming world has moved beyond this limitation. SingStar for PS3 is going to enable you to download individual tracks, just like Guitar Hero III, Rock Band, and competing publisher Konami’s latest offering, Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol Encore already do (on next-gen platforms, at least).
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