Review by Rune

"The Guitar anyone can Play!"

Guitar Hero is a rather unique game. If you bought the nice-looking bundle set, you'll have the game and a cool-looking plastic guitar controller. The controller has 5 multi-coloured buttons on the neck (the Fret Buttons), a Strum Bar that moves up and down, the Whammy Bar and the Start and Select buttons.

Gameplay is fast and fun. You're presented with a track, notes move from the top of the screen to the bottom, and you need to nail the notes as they reach the marker. You hit the notes by holding the corresponding Fret Button and then strumming on the Strum Bar. Some notes need to be held, and you can gain bonus points by wailing on the Whammy Bar while holding a note. The Star Power gauge fills up when you hit a string of special star notes or hold a star note and use the Whammy Bar. When your Star Power is sufficient, you can turn the guitar so that it points up to activate Star Power, slowly draining the bar and doubling your score. The other thing to keep track of is you Rock meter, which shows the audience's reaction to your guitaring. To beat a song, you must play it from start to finish while making sure the Rock meter does not sink too far into the red.

The learning curve is pretty good, there is a tutorial mode which will teach you how to play and use a few advanced techniques, and there are four difficulties in Career Mode: Easy will only present you with 3 different note types to keep track of, but you cannot earn cash to unlock things. Medium will give you 4 different types of notes, and is a decent challenge. Hard will give you 5 different note types, and is quite a challenge, and Expert will go faster than any of the earlier difficulties and really test your skill.

The sound is as good as it gets. There are plenty of good songs, and if you enjoy Rock you're almost guaranteed to find songs you like. If you don't like Rock… well, this may not be the game for you. The songs make you feel like you're playing a real guitar, if you miss a note, you'll hear a twang and you won't hear the guitar portion of the music. On the other hand, if you're playing well, it'll make the song sound good and give you an exhilarating feeling.

The graphics are pretty good, but nothing special. The story is about as basic as it gets: You name your band, you pick a character, pick a guitar, and play different venues. Passing 4/5 songs will earn you a new, more challenging venue with new songs, as you make your way into the spotlight. There's really no dialogue, plot or character development, just you and the guitar. There is also a Quick-play mode which will allow you to play any song you've unlocked.

The great thing about this game is that it can take a guitar-illiterate fellow like myself, put a guitar in their hands, and allow them to play it like a master. You may not learn too much about playing the guitar, but it's really fun, and that's what's important.
The replay value is good, mastering a song in a high difficulty can take a long time, and can be very rewarding when you can show off to your friends. Guitar Hero is innovative, unique and very fun, I would recommend it to anyone. Therefore, it gets a 9/10.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 02/06/06

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