Review by Archmonk Iga
"Rock out *****es!"
Move over, DDR, there's a new music game in town. And it doesn't require exercise! Fat videogamers can rejoice! Guitar Hero by Red Octane provides some of the most fun you can have with a fake guitar.
Basically, you get this special, GH-exclusive controller which you will use to match the notes to the songs that GH provides. It's very easy to understand, but will take forever for anyone to master. Excellent job.
I feel like I had to make another section for the controller, since it's so unique. The guitar controller has five colored "fret" buttons, a "string," a whammy bar (to add vibrato), and the start and select buttons. You hold it just like a guitar, and the best part is that you don't have to worry about callouses! Unless you're really intense, which you shouldn't be. My hands would get pretty cramped by the end of most songs, but you don't really think about that until you're done playing. Another problem with it is that I know a lot of people whose whammy bars have broken. Now in my opinion, you can never whammy too hard, but apparently the makers of Guitar Hero thought otherwise. I guess you should just whammy with care. If your controller breaks, tough luck, but it's overall a very nice gizmo.
You'll mostly be looking at the colored dots on the screen while playing, but if you pay attention to what's going on, you'll see that there are some very cool visuals. The characters look very goofy, and what goes on in each venue can be very entertaining to onlookers.
The entire soundtrack consists of guitar-driven rock that you play. Some of the tracks are great (the Ramones), some of the tracks aren't so much (The Donnas), and some of the tracks you probably have never even heard. Still, the soundtrack is made up of real rock songs that YOU will be playing. It's the core of the game, and it works perfectly.
Sound effects are only heard in the menus or when you screw up a note in the game. They work very nicely as well.
You probably already know how this game plays, and it's definitely harder to understand unless you actually see it in action. As the song plays, colored dots will scroll down, and you must match them with their appropriate colored buttons while at the same time strum the controller. Occasionally the dots are replaced with stars, which give you "Star Power" if hit correctly. When your Star Power bar fills up, you can tilt the guitar/press select, and you will go into a sort of "super" mode. This provides more points and allows you to totally rock out and kick ass. Hell yes. If you screw up the note, though, instead of hearing the guitar line, you'll hear a very ugly sound that totally brings down the house. If you bring down the house too much, you'll get a game over. So keep the house up, man!
There is a career mode and quick play mode, as well as multiplayer. Career mode lets you earn money to buy new guitars, characters, and, most importantly, new songs. Quick play is just what it sounds like, and without it this game's score would be a LOT lower. Multiplayer allows you and a friend to rock out together to a song--now that's hardcore! Too bad this is a PS2 exclusive, otherwise it could make a great four-player game.
If I had one real complaint, it would be that you have to go all the way to the start menu to switch which hand you use to play with. Some righties like to play left-handed (for whatever reason...), and it became a pain in quick play mode when we take turns playing.
As a whole, there isn't a lot of complexity to Guitar Hero. It's very simple to learn, but will take a looong time to get really good at. It's a typical music game with not a lot of depth, but this is what matters: it's fun as hell.
Since this is such a great game to pick up and play, its lasting appeal is awesome. Quick play or career mode last a long time when you're alone, and multiplayer is great when you've got a friend who also has a guitar controller. If you buy this game, you'll want to keep it for quite awhile.
LASTING APPEAL: 10/10
It's a simple game that allows anyone to have fun. As you can probably tell, I'm no guitar expert, but I absolutely love this game. Bring it to a party and the whole house will want to get in on the fun. I guarantee it.
Thanks for reading =)
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 01/16/07
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