Ever try singing a Queen song? It’s not easy, and despite how good you think you sound belting out “Bohemian Rhapsody” at the top of your lungs in your car along to the radio, know that you likely sound really bad. Even Paul Rodgers, the man selected by Queen to substitute for Freddie Mercury from 2004 onward, can’t fill the man’s shoes.
So it’s armed with this knowledge that one attempts to tackle SingStar Queen – a collection of 25 songs (20 on the PS2) from the band’s great catalogue that you can try to sing along to. It’s hard to list amazing rock vocalists and not have Freddie Mercury anywhere near the top; the game can be very hard, to say the least.
But what’s a game without challenge? Besides, SingStar will go easy on you if you let it. Most of the fun of the game isn’t in trying to sound like Freddie Mercury (most of the songs are his, so fans of Roger Taylor- and Brian May-sung tunes will have to hope for some DLC or sing along to the albums).
The fun here is in the presentation. Many of Queen’s more mainstream hits are here, with a few selections that are somewhat obscure to me (including a few songs that I’m embarrassed to admit I had never even heard before). Each song is accompanied by performance footage, and considering some of the bands’ antics in these videos, you might find yourself with an additional challenge – getting through a song without laughing delightedly at the crazy get-ups and stage moves Queen employed.
These videos are as much a treat as the sing-along portion of the game, complementing it nicely and in turn making the entire package totally worth its price.
As with all SingStar games, the play modes include solo, duel, or co-operative play. I feel sad for people who play karaoke games alone, unless of course they’re doing it to practice to build their vocal prowess. It’s no surprise that the big draw of the SingStar franchise is its “party in a box” appeal. At first, guests might be reluctant to join in, but once they see how much fun everyone else is having singing without inhibition, it’ll be tough to tear them away from the microphones when their turns are over.
In multiplayer mode, several songs allow the players to choose whether they want to sing the Freddie or Roger parts of a song. This option helps avoid confusion regarding who should sing which part (if they choose to ignore the on-screen prompts, that is). Because Queen is known for the high production quality of their albums and the use of multiple tracks for vocals, it’s sometimes difficult to switch between different parts of a song.
Despite their popularity, I feel Queen is a band that many people haven’t actually given a fair chance to. Yes, everyone knows the manic “Bohemian Rhapsody’ and the stadium rockers “We Are The Champions” and “We Will Rock You” but there’s a lot more to them than those three songs, and despite some glaring omissions from the band’s catalogue, SingStar Queen is still a fine representation of the band’s work throughout different periods in their career. It’s definitely my favourite of the SingStar games and also the best ever game based on Queen, so there you go. If anything, it’s a great new way to experience the timeless music of Queen, and the game has the potential to draw in more fans for the band, so I’m all for it.