Review by solidsnake0928
"Almost as bad as the TV show"
American Idol was released on the GBA? Wait, what? It is a singing game and the GBA has no microphone, how do you play? Basically they reduced it to a rhythm game where you have to tap the corresponding button (A, B or A&B) as the reticle passes over it on the circle. If you do well you can gain Style points, which help your overall (hidden) score and the voice over singing the song, gets a little better. Let me break it down for you.
As Simon Cowell would say, in his self-righteous British accent, "This is a terrible looking game. Is this a joke or is this a real game?" I assure you it is a real game. The loading screen looks fine, but that is pretty much the best aspect of the graphics. The avatars are blocky, awkward looking messes, that look like they have had their faces pounded in with a frying pan. You have several wardrobe choices whether you are a guy or a girl and they somehow affect your appearance, but there is no way to tell how a certain look will fair until you use it. From what I can see, it is pretty much a guessing game. When they are "performing" they sort of move around, supposedly to the beat of the music. The animation of the avatar is good, but with so few frames of movement, there is not a whole lot going on. Then there are the judges, which look like smudges sitting behind the AI table. "Randy" looks like he is about 300 pounds heavier, "Paula" looks like she is only wearing a bra and pants and Simon, looks, ok, actually. Except that none of them have any detail at all. Pretty bad indeed.
First let me start out with the good. The American Idol music is a small sound bite that loops infinitely while you are in the menus, but at least it sounds like the real thing. Each of the judges did some voice-over work, but as expected not very much, so expect to hear the same critique a lot. Now, on to the bad. The voice-overs for the "singing," if you can call it that; makes even the worst auditions sound like Grammy award winning vocals. Then if you miss a button or two, the voice cracks, squeaks and basically chases the notes around like a dog chasing its tail. Even when you are doing well, the singing is absolutely horrible. If this weren't a rhythm game I would suggest turning the sound off, but then you would not hear the beat of the song playing.
The gameplay is simple and easy to pick up and play without a lot of hassle. If you have played Britney's Dance Beat or other rhythm singing games that don't actually have you sing, then you will recognize the set up. Even if you have not, it is still straight forward. There is a circle in the middle of the screen, with a reticle that travels around it as the song is played. As the song is played, circles with letters on them appear to tell you when to press the corresponding button(s). Sometime they appear and then move along the circle, signifying that you have to hold the button for the duration of the blue bar on the circle. The controls, while not perfect, are responsive and usually correct. There is a little bit of difficulty in pressing both the A & B buttons at the same time, as the game will sometime not register one button or the other. Overall not great controls, but adiquet for the game.
Also there is no save function, when you unlock songs or wardrobe you are giving a password that you have to enter each time you turn the game on. Really lazy if you ask me.
This game is very easy until you get to the final three songs, where the learning curve jumps to very hard. Not only does the reticle travel faster, you have to be nearly perfect to win. Maybe too difficult for the audience this game is intended for.
Once you have unlocked all the clothing options and all the songs, there really isn't much more to do on this game. I usually like to get at least an hour of enjoyment per dollar spent on a game and since this game only lasted about an hour, if you pay more than $1 for it, you're getting ripped off.
I can say for at least a little while I had fun playing this game, but it is not one of those games that I would like to be stuck on an island with. IF you can get this for free you might have fun with it, but don't count on a lot of fun.
I found myself trying to unlock everything on this game, despite the fact that it stopped being fun, so it is a little addictive. But not so much that I would spend hours on it trying to unlock it all.
It really is not very unique at all. It tries to put a fresh spin on the rhythm game with the whole American Idol elimination thing, but it really just feels like a bad copy cat of every other game that you have to press buttons in time with the music.
This game screams "rushed to take advantage of the popularity of the TV show and hope that no one notices that it sucks." I felt like this game was made as an after thought to the console versions of American Idol. I am pretty sure the publisher's execs were sitting around in a development meeting checking out the progress of the console versions and one of the suggested to make a GBA one too. So the developer took everything that had been cut from the larger versions and jury-rigged it to play on the GBA.
Overall Score 23/100 = 2.3
American Idol as a TV show has grown stale and lost its charm therefore needs to be cancelled. This game should have never been shipped, so they are a lot alike. I don't recommend this game to anyone, even diehard fans of the show. Believe me, getting a root canal or a colonoscopy is more fun than this game. At least then you get the good drugs Just stay away.
Reviewer's Score: 2/10 | Originally Posted: 01/06/12
Game Release: American Idol (US, 11/18/03)
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