Friday, June 16, 2006

Guitar Hero

[Now Experiencing] [Computer Gaming]
"Well, the E-flat, it's doable, but the diminished ninth, you know... it's a man's chord. You could lose a finger."
- Oz, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, What's My Line Part 2
I'd just like to say thank you to everyone who recommended playing Guitar Hero. The game has just come out Down Under. I've picked up my copy and I'm pleased to report it may well be The Greatest Game Ever Made (TM). Rarely has a game so instantly and enthusiastically made me smile.

I got my copy from JB Hi-Fi. They were showing footage of the game down there, which actually looked kind of dodgy, but I thought to myself, "Well, I understand it's about the gameplay, not the graphics." Forget that - with Guitar Hero, it's all about the oversized novelty guitar controller, definitely one of the greatest innovations in game control ever created. The switch-like strum bar and the wah-wah control were pretty awesome, but what really secured its place in controller history was when I discovered that to begin really rocking out (and start the audience clapping along) you had to do no more than tilt the contoller vertically in classic air guitar style.

The song list is great - I think I've conquered I Love Rock And Roll on every difficulty now, and I'm working my way through Smoke on the Water, Take Me Out and No One Knows. There's 30 "A-list" songs, and then about (I think) 10 or so bonus tracks from mostly B-grade and garage bands. As always with rhythmn games, no matter what IS included in the game, you can't help but think about some noteworthy omissions. Personally I'm a little disappointed that I don't get an opportunity to go nuts on AC/DC's Thunderstruck.

I still haven't mastered the intricacies of "hammering on" and so forth, but even so I can't even contemplate how anyone can pull off some of the face-melting solos in the later tracks on medium difficulty or above. No One Knows, for example, is a reasonably blistering piece even on the easiest difficulty. I barely survived it on medium, and hard has me weeping in a corner. On expert it looks as though it requires a number of fret-changes per second significantly higher than my typing speed! What kind of God would allow that?

Um, so, yeah, it's at my place and people in the area are welcome to come try it out. If it sustains my interest more than a couple of weeks I might give thought to picking up a second controller for some head-to-head axe grinding.


Sim said...

I am SO there!

Julia B said...

It was fun! However, the song list is really limited. I would have liked to have seen at least double the number of tracks I could play.

Are there any extra song type packs you can pick up for it, or is what you see what you get?

GregT said...

For the PS2, it's the 45-odd songs you saw at my house and that's it. I suspect though that when a Guitar Hero game eventually releases for next-gen consoles you'll see new songs available on the marketplace. Or maybe not, because then what do you do for a sequel?