Pop Idol Review

Review Format:

Playstation 2

Based on the hugely popular television show, comes the officially licensed video game adaptation of Pop Idol.

The premise of the show is simple; each week singers of varying degrees of talent (or not) battle it out to secure a place in next weeks show. As the competition heats up, viewers are invited to vote for their favourites to advance into the next round. Although the winner is guaranteed a record contract, past shows have spawned several other ‘Pop Idol’s out of the runners up. Gareth Gates, Darius, and comedy duo The Cheeky Girls have all succeeded despite Will Young’s competition win.

The game follows the same premise as the show. The main bulk of the single player experience takes place in ‘Competition’ mode. You start by creating a male or female singer, selecting their look, type of voice, and wardrobe. As you compete and earn the judges respect, you can unlock new costumes, video clips and songs. Pop Idol is set out like other musical / dance games, requiring you to press the right buttons in time with the music. As you progress, increasingly difficult button combinations will test your hand-eye coordination to the limits. The three judges aren’t afraid to speak their mind, and send you home if you fail to impress. Fans of the show will be pleased to learn that Pop Idol’s ‘Mr Nasty’; Simon Cowell lends his voice and likeness to the game as one of the judges.

There are several other modes on offer, including ‘Karaoke’ where you can select any song to sing out loud. You can also put in some much-needed practise in ‘Rehearsal’ Mode. If you would listen to any music from the game, you can sit back and listen to the ‘Jukebox’. ‘Party Play’ is where the fun really begins. Take on up to 3 friends in a battle to impress the judges. You can even vote for how you think your friends performed. You can use any characters created in ‘Competition’ mode, or create and dress a new one.

Another welcome addition is the compatibility with the Dance Mat controller. By selecting ‘Dance’ from the in-game options, the on-screen symbols will change and give you a new style of game play. Instead of singing to the music, you can now dance to the beat of the song, making ‘Pop Idol’ effectively two games in one.

Pop Idol’s presentation also mirrors that of the show, using familiar video graphics and music. The in-game characters are all cell-shaded, adding a welcoming cartoon style.

There are 43 songs available to sing, including hits by Madonna, Jackson 5, Spice Girls, Ricky Martin, Backstreet Boys, Sheryl Crow, and Britney Spears. Performing badly when singing can have quite amusing results, as you begin singing the songs completely out of tune.

Pop Idol is set to become one of Christmas 2003’s biggest selling games. Catering for all gaming abilities and age groups, Pop Idol is an ideal party game for when the relatives come round!

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