Konami and Harmonix are back on the scene with another new game in the Karaoke Revolution series. The third volume is hitting stores only four short months after the last installment was released. While that might seem like overkill to outsiders, another pack of songs to sing is a welcome addition for fans of the popular series. But Volume 3 isn't just a simple song pack, however. By adding a sorely needed feature--namely, the ability to sing duets--Karaoke Revolution Volume 3 is most definitely a worthy addition to the rapidly expanding franchise.
If you've avoided the series up until now, all you really need to know is that Karaoke Revolution is a game where you sing songs and are subsequently judged on how well you sing them. A PlayStation 2-compatible headset or microphone (or two, if you intend to sing duets) is required, and, yes, you're really singing. You're judged based on how well you can hit notes at the proper times, and you're given an easy-to-understand onscreen guide to let you easily determine if you're singing sharp, flat, or right on key. It all works quite well, though the judging system forces you to both sing the songs and hold the notes as they're written to score well. However, as you might expect from a karaoke game, the songs presented aren't always 100 percent accurate to the original, source material.
The game lets you sing songs in a variety of different modes. If you just want to sing, without having some rigid machine tell you if you've got soul or not, there's a scoreless karaoke mode available. There's also a quick play mode that lets you dive right in. Here, you select an onscreen character and background; you select a song; and then you get to it. Showtime is the game's career mode, which takes you through various songs and backgrounds. Along the way, you'll unlock new stuff. Medley mode works you through a handful of different songs in rapid succession. The multiplayer modes let you play medley with up to eight different people in round-robin fashion. However, you can also get into simple score challenges or duet mode, which lets you either sing as a team or compete against each other in a score-based competition or knockout mode, where one singer can end the song early if he or she totally outsings the other player.
There's a good variety of music available, though (as in the previous Karaoke Revolution offerings) this is probably going to translate into you finding a handful of songs that you enjoy singing while ignoring the rest. This third installment includes songs like "Beat It," "Oops... I Did It Again," "My Immortal," "Don't You (Forget About Me)," "Thank You," "Why Can't I," and more. The duet mode lets you sing songs like "You're the One That I Want," "Under Pressure," and "Love Shack." The game even contains the theme from Konami's recently released Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.
Graphically, Karaoke Revolution isn't much to look at, but considering that you're going to be focusing on the note tubes and lyrics, you won't really have time to notice the singing characters and colorful backgrounds that are present. Outside of this, though, the characters open their mouths and appear to sing when you do, which is a cool little tweak. On the sound side of things, the game's music isn't performed by the original artists, which is just as you'd expect from just about any karaoke experience. However, the music sounds good, and you're given complete control over the sound mix, ensuring that it all sounds how you want it to.
Karaoke Revolution Volume 3 is for the fans. It's not going to win over anyone who didn't like the previous entries in the series, but you'll find another good batch of music and some great gameplay additions here, making KR3 a remarkable game for fans, even when you take into consideration that the latest installment in the series is only a few months old.