in Gaming, General, Reviews

Review: Guitar Hero

Product Image: Guitar Hero
My rating: 5 out of 5

Guitar Hero is not just a game. It is an experience.

My brother Todd purchased this game for himself recently with some Christmas money. He was generous enough to let me rock out with it this week. To the left, you can see him demonstrating how to play.

In case you’re not familiar with Guitar Hero, here’s the basic concept: DDR, but with a guitar instead of a dance pad. The ‘frets’ of the slightly scaled down guitar controller are five brightly colored buttons. For each note or chord the correct combination must be pushed at the same time the ‘strum’ lever is activated with your other hand. A whammy bar comes into play for bonus points.

The concept is all well and good. But as with any rhythm game the song selection is what makes or breaks the idea. Thankfully, developers Red Octane and Harmonix outdid themselves! The song list includes David Bowie, Megadeth, Hendrix, Queen, Black Sabbath, The Ramones, ZZ Top, and many more. Here’s a full song list. I’m particularly addicted to Ziggy Stardust.

The recordings are cover bands, but excellent ones. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear most of them are originals. These Boston-based bands get to shine themselves with original tracks unlockable later in the game. And unlike songs in Dance Dance Revolution, all the game’s tracks are full length. Including bonus songs, there are 47 available to play!

In a nice touch, completing certain note combinations will increase your ‘star power’ meter. Once full, raising the guitar into a vertical position triggers a sensor and your points are doubled for a time. Meanwhile, the crowd goes wild.

Guitar Hero does an amazing job of convincing me that I am indeed a rock star. Unfortunately, I highly doubt my newfound guitar skills would transfer over to the real deal.

Guitar Hero will run you about $80 for the game and one controller. Extra controllers are roughly $40. We haven’t obtained a second axe yet, but hope to be dueling soon. The game is becomming hard to find at some retailers, and as far as I can tell the separate controllers are available only from the game’s official site.

Alas, GH is only available for the PlayStation 2. But, it makes me seriously consider picking up a used system for myself. Yes, it is That Good!

Meanwhile, Todd is heading out of town for a few days while I remain here. More time to hone my skills! Party on, dudes!