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Get On Da Mic
Score: 57%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Developer: HWY 1 Productions
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Rhythm/ Simulation/ Party

Graphics & Sound:
Before actually beginning this review, I feel the need to state/warn my readers that I do not consider Get On Da Mic to be a game per se, but rather see it as a ‘Rapping Simulation.’ To this end, it does have a target audience; those who would aspire to become rappers and/or those who would like to perfect their skills at rapping some popular songs. To the aspiring rappers with Eye-Toys, you can even practice posin’ while you rap. Now on with the review...

The graphics in Get On Da Mic aren’t bad, with some cool locales and visually upgradable characters. Not to mention the ‘bling’ you can purchase with your winnings to max your flex potential. You can buy the big expensive estate and fill the yard with expensive vehicles, pick up some fly digs, and drape the bling off you to really earn that street cred.

Not only that, but Get On Da Mic also has a mode that is Eye-Toy Compatible, letting you literally be the star on the TV. This can be really cool if you happen to play your PlayStation 2 outside in front of a mansion or at some urban location or on a stage - or somewhat lame if you (like the other 99.999% of us) are more likely to be rapping to your TV in front of your old couch as your little brother sits there picking his nose...

As for the sound, the songs are all re-recorded by unknown studio artists ala Karaoke Revolution, assumably to avoid the cost of paying the actual artists. If you can get past that, then you can choose from some pretty cool rap songs, such as: “Hypnotize,” “Jesus Walks,” “Gin and Juice,” “Naggin’,” “Rubber Band Man,” “Hey Mama,” “Baby Got Back,” a remix of “Ante Up,” “Get By,” “California Love,” “Nothing but a G Thang,” “Game Over,” “Push It,” “Tipsy,” “Work It,” “Crank It Up,” “The Jump Off,” “Rapper’s Delight,” “Ruff Ryder’s Anthem,” “The Humpty Dance,” “Whoa,” “Fix Up,” “Express Yourself,” “Still Ballin’ (Nitty Remix),” “X Gon Give It To Ya,” “Through the Wire,” “What Da Hook Gon Be,” “The Next Episode,” “Beautiful,” “Pass That Dutch,” “Wit Dre Day,” “Don’t Believe the Hype,” “Posse on Broadway,” “Ma, I Don’t Love Her,” “Dude,” “Beware of the Boyz,” and “Get By.”

If you’re familiar with Karaoke Revolution and the like, you’ve got a good start and understanding to this game. Just throw out the scoring based on pitch, replace the lyrics display system with a two-line system that spastically speeds up or slows down to fit the need to display more lyrics, but rarely actually indicates the correct time to start (much less stop) any given word or phrase and censors so many words that you’re likely to be thrown off beat while trying to tell if your supposed to say s###, s#### or s#####. (Hint: It seems that they always have the correct number of characters for the word being censored.)

If you stop to think about what’s left after you throw out pitch, there are basically two things that the game could look for: the correct words, and the correct timing. Determining whether you are rapping the correct words is far too intensive a process to be done in real-time while playing a game, so it’s no surprise that that’s out. So what you’re left with is whether you’re making noise at the correct time. They could have penalized you for making noise when you’re NOT supposed to as well, but (for what ever reason), they chose not to.

The end result? You’re scored based on whether the mic detects sound when the game is expecting a lyric to be rapped. This means that if you’re good at rapping, you’re likely to get a good score... but if you strap a vibrator to the mic or play speed metal into it, you’re likely to get a better score... and if you want a perfect score, simply place the microphone up to the TV’s speakers and get a good feedback loop going. Yes, it’s an aggravating high-pitch squealing noise to you and I, but to Get On Da Mic, you’re scoring perfects! It is for this reason that I can’t consider Get On Da Mic to be a "game." It fits more accurately in the category of "Play;" games are more structured and have more well defined rule-sets than "play."

Nevertheless, "play" can be very fun, too. My wife spent a couple of hours working her way up the charts, nailing some of the songs pretty well (and that’s by my scoring, which is a bit more discerning than the game’s) and fumbling a bit as she learned some she was unfamiliar with. Even on the one’s she didn’t know, she kept trying to stay up with the song and, since she kept making noise while she was trying to find her spot, she still scored excellently. She made millions of dollars and spent her dollahs on bling that was off the chain and/or meat rack, or so the game told us. She had fun. This could have been made into a game with better scoring, but even as it is, it can be fun to "play" rapper.

Oh, please.

Difficulty is used for reviewing games, and is indicative of the learning curve, the variation of difficulty available, the suitability of the game for different age groups as well as, to some degree, the offer of replayability created by said variations as separate difficulty levels or modes.

Get On Da Mic could be played just as easily by a good rapper, my laptop’s exhaust fan, or a baby suffering from gas (take that how you want, so long as the child’s loud for an extended period of time). Get On Da Mic could have just as easily been called: Mystic Mic: Sound Detector.

Game Mechanics:
1) Make a Sound.
2) See Get On Da Mic tell you you’re wonderful.
3) Repeat.

Get On Da Mic shows that karaoke doesn’t make for a good game if it only checks for the presence of sound. This could have been a good game, but this is not the only place it fails.

GODM rewards your performances with cash that can be spent on "blingy" items for your character. Each venue’s earning potential tends to make the previous one look like "chump change." You can easily make a million in a single show at some of the later stages. The developers HAD to know that. They had to. This couldn’t have been a surprise to them. However, the "shop for bling" screen apparently is incapable of displaying more than six digits; presumably $999,999 is the highest amount it can show. You can imagine how confusing and messed up it was when my wife went to spend her money (after racking up a few million) and found that the amount shown in big characters on the screen had no bearing on how much money she had to spend. It seemed that the amount displayed was (maybe?) the last six digits of her amount. This would mean that (for example) if she had $3,102,500 the amount displayed was $102,500, but she could still buy that $500,000 house she had her eyes on. Okay, so the only "scoring" system in the game is the wildly unbalanced cash payments given for performances, and the game doesn’t even handle it correctly? Does anyone else out there think that perhaps the game should actually show the amount of money you HAVE? Okay, whatever.

When you’re deciding what song to rap to, you can move through a list of songs, hearing a clip of each one. You can also take a look at the lyrics from that same menu before choosing that song. When you enter the lyrics viewing mode, you would expect that the song would continue - or that the music would stop, right? Wrong. A completely different song starts playing in the "view the lyrics" mode, evidently designed to make trying to figure out how the lyrics fit the song pretty much impossible. I don’t understand why anyone would go to the trouble to put in a feature, then actively make it useless. If you play this game and want to read over the lyrics outside of your performance, read them in the back of the manual or turn the sound down before choosing to look at the lyrics on the screen.

J.R.Nip was over at my house and tried this game out with us. He doesn’t generally do well on rhythm games. We did find out, however, that he could score quite well on any given rap song by reciting “The Jabberwocky” or “The Raven” really quickly. In general, that’s not a good sign for your average rhythm game.

Now, I’m definitely NOT saying to NOT buy the game under any circumstances. If you’re a closet rapper, get the game. If you want to practice your own rhymes over some cool beats, you can do that too. But PLEASE don’t assume you’re a great rapper based on this Get On Da Mic’s scores. If you’re looking for a "rap tutoring system" or "rap simulator," or even just a fun party game to play with your friends who can’t pronounce “bling” correctly, then perhaps you might want to think about picking up Get On Da Mic and giving it a try. Maybe.

Just make a friend rent it first...

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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