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Back in the mid to late 80's the UK used to receive a television programme hosted by eyeless Australian celebrity Clive James. High points of the show included a Japanese show called Endurance where you got to see men doing handstands against mirrors in the heat of the desert, whilst having magnifying glasses burn onto their nipples. Another retrospective feature of the show included something not seen in the UK up until this point on a mass scale - Karaoke. That is to say, the art of singing (usually whilst inebriated) in public, to a group of complete strangers, as social recreation. It soon caught on, the years passed by, and we now have Boogie Superstar (Wii - EA Games, Oct 2008), following on from the earlier Wii Boogie release.
Like the previous Boogie Wii incumbence, the play is split between Dancing and Singing. You can dance for points or sing for points. To be honest, after playing the original release, I was expecting the worst, and I certainly wasn't disappointed, but at a price tag guaranteed to ruin your xmas (although you can usually get a microphone bundled in). Don't get me wrong I'm not a Karaokophobe, I've had many a great evening stumbling around the city singing, but it will take more convincing to get me believing that a transition to video game is a good idea for this activity.
EA are clearly aiming this release at a younger audience.
Tracks are unlocked along the way, depending on how you do, but ultimately you end up with some 40 or so tunes to sing along to (after a LOT of unlocking). I have to say that the choice of tracks is rather bizarre for a karaoke themed game. OK I can imagine that lots of people would like to have a go at Bleeding by Leona Lewis, but Stronger by Kanye West? The songs are actually covers of the originals, but also very poor ones, and that includes the insrumental side of them also. I'm sure Rolf Harris would appreciate some of the improv, but we didn't.
EA are clearly aiming this release at a younger audience and some of the titles that your Gran would remember have disappeared in this latest version. Characters are revamped in a stylish way and can be tailored accordingly. The customisation is not greatly advanced but is pleasant.
Singing is a different matter altogether, the microphone barely reflects the sounds that you put into it. Maybe this was just our singing but everything comes back through the speakers sounding tinny and illegible. Unlocking songs was a drawn out process and the competitiveness took out some of the fun of just playing and having a laugh. You also have to get your mouth right on top of the microphone to get the sound in. The scoring is done on the fly as you sing along to the track. This aspect of the game is quite slick and interesting. If I could though, I would like to get some of the Worlds top singers round for a crack at the game just to prove that some of my atrocious scores are not down to my singing as the scoring is very harsh.
Even my 4 year old couldn't maintain interest for longer than 5 minutes.
The dancing aspect is much improved since the last release also. In a nutshell, the song plays, you swing the nunchuk and wii-mote around, and watch your character perform the results, all to a two beat mode. It can get deeply complex if you wish, but it gets dull fast, even my 4 year old couldn't maintain interest for longer than 5 minutes.
It would be easy to finalise and show my age by saying that this is one that maybe the kids or a group of kids would enjoy, but I think that this would be patronising as most youngsters are much more technically adept and clued up than my generation used to be. Maybe I'm wrong, but it's just an opinion. Also, am I right in thinking that if you fork out 50 quid or so for a proper karaoke machine - you get stacks more songs with it?
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