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The commercial exploitation that is Pop Idol invades the videogame market with a super-deformed, cell-shaded Simon Cowell...
I hate to admit it, but ‘Pop Idol’ is actually quite a bit of fun. Despite my every protest to gain any enjoyment from this game, I found myself tapping along to the tunes and worried the first time I faced the dreaded Simon Cowell.<br><br>Well that is until I saw what Codemasters had done to him; butchered up, bastardised and shrunk into a super-deformed, cell-shaded mere imitation of his real-life persona – I defy anyone not to laugh the first time they see him, with his trousers strapped up around his shrunken waist.<br><br>The actual game plays similarly to any rhythm/action title, with players pressing corresponding buttons when they pass over a centre point. Doing well will result in a strong voice, but if you miss a few you can expect your on-screen character to begin warbling all over the place. To spice up the action the game contains a number of combo moves, that require you to press two buttons at the same time along with collecting star power-up’s that result in a special vocal technique to really get the audience going.<br><br>The technology behind this works surprisingly well, you can definitely tell the difference between a good and bad performance; although the more sonically astute people out there will be able to tell you it’s just messing about with various tone and pitch settings.<br><br>The main mode of the game sees you creating a character and moving them beyond the initial audition stages, through to the actual TV show and hopefully making it through to the final. Successfully passing each stage, allows you to dress your character with new clothing items that are unlocked as you progress through the game. To be honest we would have liked to have seen more from this aspect, players are presented with a rating based on their appearance at the end of every performance however it seems to have very little consequence on the overall rating.<br><br>Another aspect that was disappointing to us was how nice Simon Cowell is; we were expecting every insult under the sun, but were left gormless when he continued to provide the most gratifying comments. It’s probably because the game is aimed towards a different market then more traditional videogames, because of this it’s relatively easy to go through this mode in one sitting and score high throughout – not good for videogame fans, but Pop Idol fans will probably lap it up.<br><br>One area that certainly surprised us was the sheer amount of licensed songs available for you to try out. The game features 40 songs from a range of artists including the popular ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ to ‘I Will Survive’. Naturally being based on ‘Pop Idol’ it mainly consists of shallow pop tunes, so true music fans should probably skip over this without taking a notice.<br><br>Unfortunately the overall game just feels a little shallow, the dressing your character up isn’t enough to break up the repetition of performing, whilst the game just isn’t hard or long enough to warrant a purchase unless you’re a Pop Idol fanatic. Whilst we were all glued to our seats for an hour to begin with just to see what Cowell would say, the truth is that after we finished through the game it’s rarely come out since.<br><br>Even more conspicuous is the absence of Ant & Dec to provide a bit of light comedy relief, certainly something that is needed to break up the tedium of the game.<br><br>The game allows you to hook it up to a DanceMat, which certainly makes it more appealing for owners of the peripheral – you can never have too many of these games if you’ve got one. To this extent the game’s longevity increases slightly with the various multiplayer modes that have been added.