Review by DJ cream
"Guitar Hero makes fingering A-minor look like a piece of cake."
Those who are well informed in the music genre of video games know that Guitar Freaks is an arcade game where one plays a guitar and rock out. Unfortunately, none of the Japanese home versions has ever made it to U.S. shores. Harmonix, popular makers of Amplitude, combines forces with Red Octane and deals the first blood in the market of guitar video gaming. Guitar Hero provides a great amount of fun, challenge and overall a great song selection to make the living room the next Ozzfest.
Guitar Hero is to Guitar Freaks as In The Groove is to Dance Dance Revolution in terms of challenge. Instead of Guitar Freaks' 3-fret button layout, Guitar Hero's total of 5-fret buttons already adds more of a challenge when controlling one's fingers to select the right note or chords to strum. Even with years of Guitar Freaks experience, it is still very difficult to first pick up the game and play on expert mode. With a 5-fret button layout, the player is forced to shift his/her fingers up and down to play certain chords like on a real guitar.
Another thing that Guitar Hero puts a lot of emphasis on is the incredible soundtrack. In past games, Harmonix was able to gather some well-known artists to contribute their work into games like FreQuency and Amplitude. In Guitar Hero, they went a huge step beyond and has gotten an abundance of legendary rock hits like Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple, Sharp Dressed Man by ZZ Top, and Bark at the Moon by Ozzy among other well known artists. As much as I love to play Take it Off by the Donnas or Get Ready 2 Rokk by Freezepop (I'm sure veteran Harmonix fans would rejoice along with me with Freezepop's return as well), I would like to hear more new and original music. What made Amplitude so great is that it did not have a heavy reliance on licensed tracks to make a great game. However, Guitar Heroes has a collection of renowned songs yet all of the new stuff (except for Guitar Hero by Monkey Steals the Peach) is pretty hard to listen to while playing.
Along with the original tracks not meeting expectations, Guitar Hero also fails to clear the bar that Amplitude sets in the appearance category. Amplitude was extremely visually pleasing with all of the bright colors and futuristic emphasis. Guitar Hero did not attempt to recreate such a bold presentation and settled with a much more boring garage concert look. In my mind, I can't really recall anything that made me say, OMG! That looks like a piece of art!
In a nutshell, Guitar Hero is an overwhelming experience to all players. It sets the bar on difficulty as well as musical scores. It travels a rocky path on conventional playing style as one can go metal on the guitar controller. However, it will not win and beauty pageants. In the end, Guitar Hero should appeal very nicely with those who really love to rock and know what they are doing in the process.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 12/30/05
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