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Cover Your Ears, This Might Get Messy

SingStar MotownIt’s a Saturday night, and hordes of nobodies are making a name for themselves by murdering classic songs on TV. So you think to yourself, “I could do that…but I don’t much fancy the idea of having to sing for an audience, Simon Cowell kinda scares me and I can never tell whether Dannii Minogue is happy or sad.” You might even find yourself taken by urge to say “Tonight, Matthew, I’m going to be…” before realising they don’t show that anymore, and your dreams have been crushed.

So Sony PlayStation gave us the Singstar series of games, and coinciding with the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Motown Records, the latest offering in the series is Singstar Motown, available now on both PS2 and PS3. Now, the only people judging you are your friends, neighbours and some red-and-blue lines as you sing to your heart’s content along with Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye and Lionel Richie.

Singstar Motown follows the tried and tested methods of other games in the series: sing along to the song of your choice as the words scroll along the bottom of the scene, improving your score as your own voice matches the notes hit by the singers (although because this version features some older songs, not all of them have an attached music video, favouring pictures of the artists throughout their careers.) You can play solo, but the game obviously comes into its own when playing with someone else, whether a battle or competitively to see whose a better singer.

It’s been a while since I last played a game in the Singstar series, so it came as a pleasant surprise to see that on the PS3, Singstar Motown includes voice controls, so there’s no more having to balance mic and controller while trying to choose a song, then remembering where you’ve put what.

The PS3 version features 30 classic Motown songs, only 25 of which are on the PS2 version of the games (with a full list of them below): all are classics, and you should already know the words. But there’s also a downside to such songs being featured in the game: they’re such classics because some of the artists on Singstar Motown are amongst the greatest singers of the 20th Century, and even playing on easy, you’ll be hard-pressed to hit the right notes even 80% of the time.

The game’s strengths are in its multi-player/party features, and as the evenings grow shorter, the game provides an entertaining alternative to reality-TV on a Saturday night (or any other night, for that matter.) The songs are more likely to get the uncles and aunts singing along than the nieces and nephews, and maybe that’s a good thing: anyone else care to explain Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” to a six-year old? Nope, didn’t think so.

Zombie Rating: B-

Singstar Motown is out now on PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3.

1 David Ruffin – Put A Little Love In Your Heart
2 Diana Ross & The Supremes – Reflections
3 Jimmy Ruffin – What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted
4 Lionel Richie – My Destiny
5 Martha Reeves & The Vandellas – Jimmy Mack
6 Martha Reeves & The Vandellas – Nowhere To Run
7 Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get It On
8 Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On?
9 Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston – It Takes Two
10 Mary Wells – My Guy
11 Rick James – Super Freak
12 Smokey Robinson – Being With You
13 Smokey Robinson And The Miracles – The Tracks Of My Tears
14 Stevie Wonder – For Once In My Life
15 The Commodores – Brick House
16 The Commodores – Easy
17 The Contours – Do You Love Me
18 The Four Tops – Reach Out I’ll Be There
19 The Isley Brothers – This Old Heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You)
20 The Jackson 5 – ABC
21 The Miracles Love Machine
22 The Supremes – You Can’t Hurry Love
23 The Temptations – Get Ready
24 The Temptations – Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone
25 The Velvelettes – Needle In A Haystack
26 The Four Tops – I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) PS3 only
27 The Jackson 5 – I Want You Back PS3 only
28 Martha Reeves & The Vandellas – Dancing In The Street PS3 only
29 Marvin Gaye I Heard It Through The Grapevine PS3 only
30 The Supremes – Stop In The Name Of Love PS3 only
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