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Video Game Review: Midnight fun for Dec. 31: Rockin' in the new year with musical games

Video Game Review: Midnight fun for Dec. 31: Rockin' in the new year with musical games

It's New Year's Eve. The champagne's been uncorked, and everyone has sung "Auld Lang Syne," whether they know the words or not. Isn't it time to jazz up the party with some livelier music? And whether you're a singer, a guitarist or a dancer, there's a video game to suit your talents.
One of the best party games this year is RedOctane's "Guitar Hero II," which lets two people at a time indulge in some serious shredding. We've already reviewed it (it's awesome), so here are a few more musical games to wake up your New Year's bash.
_"SingStar Rocks!" (Sony, for the PlayStation 2, $49.99 ;euro37.99): In Europe, the "SingStar" series has been attracting karaoke fans for a few years now. "SingStar Rocks!" is the franchise's U.S. debut, and it's strong competition for Konami's popular "Karaoke Revolution." It's simple enough for any partygoer to understand: Pick up the mic, pick a video and start singing along with the pros. Your score is based on how closely you match the timing and pitch of the original; you can actually sing an octave lower or higher and still rack up points. Since the package includes two microphones (which plug directly into the PS2), you can sing duets or go head-to-head against another singer, and a "pass-the-mic" challenge lets up to eight people play. The 30 tunes, ranging from karaoke favorites like Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" to recent rock hits like the Killers' "Somebody Told Me," are more than enough for most parties, but real karaoke junkies will be howling for more. Two stars out of four.
_"Elite Beat Agents" (Nintendo, for the DS, $34.99;euro26.59): The hippest heroes to hit video games in a long time are the Elite Beat Agents, three funky dudes who solve global crises through dancing. When a harried baby sitter needs a break, they step in to the tune of Steriogram's "Walkie Talkie Man." They rescue a couple of shipwrecked debutantes to the beat of Madonna's "Material Girl." They help a sailor find sunken treasure with a rendition of the Village People's "Y.M.C.A." (Why not "In the Navy"?) All the tunes are cover versions, incidentally, but they're all toe-tappers with the sort of uptempo beats that make for a good rhythm game. The object is to tap or slide your stylus on the DS screen in time with the music; hit most of the beats and the agents will save the day. Most of the missions require some practice before you can win, but you'll probably want to watch the scenarios again even after you beat them, thanks to their vibrant, often hilarious comic-book style. Three and a half stars.
_"Gitaroo Man Lives!" (Koei, for the PlayStation Portable, $39.99 (euro30.39): The reluctant hero of this game is a kid named U-1, who turns into Gitaroo Man after his talking dog hands him a magical instrument. The kid has to use his guitar skills to fight alien invaders, like a bee-suit-wearing trumpet player and a turntable-scratching robot. You can outduel them by tapping the PSP's buttons as they are displayed on-screen, although to play really tasty licks you need to hold down a button while moving the directional pad different ways. Sounds simple, but it takes a lot of coordination to time your riffs just right. The hyperkinetic visuals will remind some players of the 1996 classic "Parappa the Rapper," while the music _ all recorded especially for the game _ evokes a good variety of genres, from disco to jazz to classical. Two stars.
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On the Net:
http://www.us.playstation.com/Content/OGS/SCU
S-97571/Site/
http://www.elitebeatagents.com/
http://www.koei.com/


Updated : 2021-05-07 13:30 GMT+08:00