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Guitar Hero Review

Developer: Harmonix Publisher: RedOctane
Release Date: November 1, 2005 Also On: None

Music and rhythm games have long found their prime in Dance Dance Revolution, the hit PlayStation 2 and Xbox dancing video game. Harmonix and RedOctane saw potential in something more than moving the feet of gamers – they decided to stand us up, put a guitar in our hands and let us rock out. Guitar Hero, the guitar video game they released last November, is one of the most entertaining games to date and is far and wide the best, most addictive music/rhythm game I’ve ever played.

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Such a bold statement isn’t one to be ignored, but Guitar Hero is worthy of such praise. A little more than thirty songs and one guitar controller is everything this $80 package provides. Featuring [cover] songs from 80’s metal icons like Ozzy Ozzbourne and Motorhead as well as recent bands like Franz Ferdinand and Queens of the Stone Age, Guitar Hero has quite a variety of music that doesn’t grow stale and I’d imagine that my guitar controller will wear out long before my attention to this game does.

The songs are played with five fret buttons, colored Green, Red, Yellow, Blue, and Orange. These five frets must be held while a Strum Bar is pressed up or down to strum each note. That is the basic control of every song. Playing the fast notes of Pantera’s “Cowboys from Hellâ€? or Boston’s slower “More Than a Feelingâ€? are done very easily with these buttons. Of course, a fully-functional whammy bar is also provided to electronically alter any long note found in a song, and more difficult guitar techniques like hammer-ons are also possible with the controller. Mastering these techniques isn’t really necessary, as I completed the game on a Normal difficulty setting before I even discovered them in the tutorial mode, but they’re available for real-life shredders.

Suffice to say that nailing a solo or a long note gives a huge feeling of accomplishment, and Guitar Hero does more than make the player feel like a rock star. I really got into this game and laugh if you want, but when I say I got into it, I got into it. Imagine the tongue hanging out, leaning back during a long note, head-banging, the whole shabang. I’d look like a fool in public, but playing this with a group of friends is no more embarrassing than stressing your vocal chords in Karaoke Revolution or moving your feet in Dance Dance Revolution. Needless to say, this game is just fun. Not only that, but playing these songs really made me appreciate just how difficult playing a guitar really is. Guitar Hero doesn’t make you hit every note (at least, not until you switch to Hard or Extreme difficulty) but it sure as heck makes you work for your song.

You know, Guitar Hero really nails something that has long been missing from a majority of today’s games. It doesn’t focus on graphics – the note bar that you stare at isn’t particularly attractive, and neither are the band models that fill up the background – but Guitar Hero goes to show that there is some innovation, there are some fresh concepts, and there are some great ideas left in video gaming. This video game not only captured my attention, it captured the attention of my 40+ year-old dad, all of my little siblings, and pretty much anyone around me who set their eyes on the game. It’s addictive as crack and the only thing stopping me from playing is sore fingers and tired legs from standing up, rocking out.

If you like rock music, music video games, guitars, Ozzy, or anything even closely related to Guitar Hero, I strongly urge you to head to the local gaming outlet and buy this game. It might have a hefty price, up to $80 in some stores, but it is more than worth the price. You’ll be replaying “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’â€? and “Killer Queenâ€? so many times that the dent in your wallet won’t even matter. It’s a shame that Guitar Hero only has 30 songs, I not only predict, but expect a sequel or expansion pack, but that’s beside the point. I bow to Harmonix and RedOctane for this product. I am simply in love with it.

Graphics: 6
Sound: 10
Gameplay: 10
Creativity: 10
Replay Value/Game Length: 10
Final: 9.3
Written by Cliff Review Guide