Review by Sitorimon

"Simon Cowell Would Can Canned It In The First Heat..."

Popstars Makers is the only PS1 game that jumped on the whole Popstars and Pop Idol bandwagon when it was at the highest of success. This game pitches you as the manager of a new band and you have to guide them to global domination of the record industry, making lots of money in the process.
Sounds like a magical game? Well it could have been if it was executed properly, but sadly this wasn’t quite the execution I had in mind.
Lets go from the top. You have about 10 characters that you can choose from to make a band from 1-5 people. They all have varying skills in dancing and singing and customisable clothes. Nice enough start.
The actual game itself comprises of a few menu screens in horrible yellow writing on an orange background, often making it hard to read. Making the games font readable would have been a good point to have since its here you’ll spend most of your time.
Your tool to success is your diary, which you book days, training your band, booking TV shows, gigs, record and release dates. If you can juggle this then the rest of the game falls into place. You must careful not to fill up too many days or the band will get tired and threaten to quit!
With each task you get to oversee what you plan to spend money, such as what skill to train a particular band member on.
The place where you really get to have some playability for the menu-sodden game is in the studio. If you want to really make your own albums and singles the studio provides over 200 samples of drums, bass lines, vocals, guitar and keyboard arrangements. The samples are of fairly good quality and contain the necessary cheesy nature of pop songs.
Yet while this should make the game stand out, its where the game loses you all together due to the awful control system. You must cycle through all of a certain arrangement to get to the specific one you want. No samples have names so you must remember a plain number for each sample. Its so awkward to try and copy samples and sometimes the game doesn’t even copy the right sample anyway! It all gets very infuriating. Not that it really matters what on earth you make anyway, as if you press it into a single (choosing one of about 7 covers and colours) and release a 5 minute song of a woman singing “Hey Baby” and nothing else, it still goes to number 1! With the complete randomness of songs successes down to how much money you spend on publicity, and not making good songs, the whole point of the game is askew.
You can even buy songs ready made at the beginning to avoid using the song maker, but sadly they run out and you cant keep releasing the same song everywhere.
If you feel like going on a mini tour when your famous you’ll see the laughable 3D performances to your songs, where your band members kind of shuffle around the stage looking awful, rushed and an afterthought.
Yet despite all this poor execution you still feel great satisfaction by seeing your band go to number 1 and it is a challenge to try and conquer all 4 territories, and even harder to keep famous in them all at once!
Somewhere in Popstars Makers is a good game, but for poor menu screens, extremely limited game play and some awful controls and graphics let down what had the potential to be a corker…


Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 10/07/03


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