Guitar Hero

For those about to rock, we salute you - AC/DC


My gamer self is mostly moribund. Her thumbs have atrophied, her hand-eye coordination has diminished, and even a fine party game like MarioKart can hardly hold her attention long enough to complete a race.

But now she has awakened. A game has called her name with irresistible dulcet tones, summoning her to the living room, guiding her to pick up the controller, and whispering into the curved hollows of her ears, "It's time to rock out."

That game is Guitar Hero.

Guitar Hero rocks. It rocks hard, and it makes you believe that you can rock too. It says, "Here, pick up this guitar. You and me, we are going to rock down the house."
The game comes with its own controller, a guitar-shaped thing about the size of a ukulele, with five fret buttons up on the neck and a strum lever and whammy bar on the body. There are also the obligatory "start" and "select" buttons, but you can't rock with those, so forget them. The three-stage tutorial guides you through the basics of playing notes and chords, hammering-on and pulling-off, and then turns you loose on the catalogue of classic guitar rock waiting for you and your diminutive plastic axe.

You can go straight to Free Play which has a few of the songs available for you to play right away and allows you to switch between Easy, Medium, Hard and Extra Hard whenever you choose. In order to access more than the first five songs however, you will have to take on Career mode, in which you work your way up the ranks of posers, playing in sleazy bars and clubs until you emerge as the true Guitar Hero, rocking out to a stadium of thousands. The game offers the choice of six characters and three guitars, but so far as I can tell, these are purely cosmetic details.

I started a career in Easy mode after watching Shawn struggle through the middle of Medium and was glad that I had. Unless your fingers are unusually nimble from, uh, whatever activities you pursue that build nimble fingers, I'd recommend that you start there too. Guitar Hero has a pretty well designed learning curve but things get hard fast in Medium and I was grateful for the grounding that Easy had given me.


The basic gameplay is this: notes descend from the top of the screen and when they get to the bottom, you play them. The audio track of your playing registers missed or flubbed notes with screeches and plinks and correct notes with glorious, glorious rock. There are two meters on either side of the screen. One shows how much the audience likes your performance and the other shows your score for the song, which tallies as you play. There are a couple ways to boost your score. Enough correct notes in a row will give you a multiplier bonus which can be boosted again by using your Star Power.

Ah, Star Power. Possibly my favorite aspect of Guitar Hero. Some notes are special, marked with stars around them. If you correctly play a sequence of these notes they add to the Star Power bar on top of the audience meter. When you fill up the meter you can activate your Star Power by tilting your guitar upright and pointing it at the ceiling. This is important for two reasons: activating Star Power doubles whatever multiplier currently active on your score meter AND makes the audience love you. This can be a lifesaver when you start to lose it on a difficult song and the audience is starting to boo. Jack that sucker up at the rafters and suddenly you are sex on wheels all over again, baby.

Brace yourself - you get reviewed at the end of each performance. Your percentage of notes played and your score out of five stars pops up on a background of a newspaper article about your show. Once you get into Medium difficulty you also get paid for each show. Better performances mean better money, which you can spend on new songs, new guitars and new characters. You can also buy videos. Of what, I don't know. I've been too busy rocking out for that crap, man. I'm all about the music, you know?


And what music. Guitar Hero features thirty songs from some of the hardest rockers known to man. They are all guitar rock standards, starting with Joan Jett's "I Love Rock and Roll," and ending with the truly insane "Cowboys from Hell" by Pantera. My favorite is "Take Me Out," Franz Ferdinand, although "Smoke on the Water" and "Ziggy Stardust" are also a lot of fun to rip through. In addition to the more famous tunes that you unlock as you progress through Career Mode, you can also purchase 17 indie tracks. This was a smart and frankly awesome thing for RedOctane to do. They get some kickin' songs for cheap and the indie bands get some great publicity.

I love Guitar Hero. I love the stupid guitar-shaped controller, I love the cheesy cartoonish graphics and the clichéd rock-star posturing and I love the whole concept of Star Power, which is that if you have enough style you can make the audience forget that you suck.

Most of all I love the finely tuned, sharply honed sense that I am, in fact, rocking out. This becomes more pronounced as you move into more difficult songs and harder modes but it is present from the very start, right from the first song in Easy Mode. You feel ridiculous standing there with the little plastic guitar strung around your neck...and then you play that first note and you feel like a f*cking rock star, man. Yeah.

For those who made it possible for me to rock, I salute you.

Licensed songs, and the bands that made them famous:

• Motorhead - "Ace of Spades"
• Ozzie Osbourne - "Bark at the Moon"
• Audioslave - "Cochise"
• Pantera - "Cowboys From Hell"
• Cream - "Crossroads"
• Sum 41 - "Fat Lip"
• Edgar Winter Group - "Frankenstein"
• Blue Oyster Cult - "Godzilla"
• Burning Brides - "Heart Full of Black"
• The Exies - "Hey You"
• Red Hot Chili Peppers - "Higher Ground"
• Joann Jett - "I Love Rock and Roll"
• The Ramones - "I Wanna Be Sedated"
• Bad Religion - "Infected"
• Black Sabbath - "Iron Man"
• Queen - "Killer Queen"
• Boston - "More Than A Feeling"
• Queens of the Stone Age - "No One Knows"
• ZZ Top - "Sharp Dressed Man"
• Deep Purple - "Smoke on the Water"
• Jimi Hendrix - "Spanish Castle Magic"
• Incubus - "Stellar"
• Megadeth - "Symphony of Destruction"
• The Donnas - "Take It Off"
• Franz Ferdinand - "Take Me Out"
• Stevie Ray Vaughn - "Texas Flood"
• White Zombie - "Thunderkiss 65"
• Helmet - "Unsung"
• Judas Priest - "You Got Another Thing Comin"
• David Bowie - "Ziggy Stardust"

Indie tracks:

• Acro-Brats - "Call Out"
• Anarchy Club - "Behind the Mask"
• Artillery - "The Breaking Wheel"
• Black Label Society - "Fire It Up"
• Count Zero - "Sail Your Ship By"
• Din - "Fly on the Wall"
• Drist - "Decontrol"
• Freezepop - "Get Ready 2 Rock"
• Graveyard BBQ - "Cheat on the Church"
• Honest Bob and the Factory-to-Dealer Incentives - "Hey"
• Made in Mexico - "Farewell Myth"
• Monkey Steal the Peach - "Theme from Guitar Hero"
• The Bags - "Caveman Rejoice"
• The Model Sons - "The Story of my Love"
• The Slip - "Even Rats"
• The Upper Crust - "Eureka! I Found Love"
• Shaimus - "All of This"

Guitar Hero
Nov. 2005 (PS2)


Hey, if he's dead in real life, that means he can't be on any future (unfilmed) episodes, right?


Fedaykin98 wrote:

Hey, if he's dead in real life, that means he can't be on any future (unfilmed) episodes, right?


I would point out the flaw in your logic there, but I think it's kind of cute that you think that way. So I won't.

Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?

I command everyone and their mother to click this link and vote 5 while also clicking on the "I'd buy it" button.


and if you want to be nice hit me up for a referral.

Edwin wrote:

I command everyone and their mother to click this link and vote 5 while also clicking on the "I'd buy it" button.

and if you want to be nice hit me up for a referral.

This one kinda reminds me of Hard or Expert modes.

Medium difficulty has just been made my beeyatch! (Except for that bastard track "Crossroads" CURSE YOU!) I basically fudged my way through Bark at the Moon with my good looks and disarming smile. Apparently hitting 76% of the notes of a song qualifies as a win. I'm going to have to shore that score up a little if I expect to get anywhere near playing Hard mode.

If this game has taught me anything, it is to appreciate the skill of these artists even more than I already do! Damn. No wonder those bastards stand to make millions!

Also, I really like the Graveyard BBQ track. It had me rocking out and basically making a fool of myself. Good times!

I'm halfway through medium, practicing several song repeatedly to get better at runs and alternating notes. I noticed that a sort of hammer-on lets me do fast alternating bits, with one finger holding the lower note after I first hit it and then just going up and down on the higher note. So it's technique practice for me. Killer Queen is a great one to practice on.

Lots of fun.

Neato! I googled Graveyard BBQ and they have a pretty nifty page.
Including a link to an MP3 of that song in the game:
Rocking out to it right now!

Don't know how long this will last, but and have Guitar Hero game and single controller bundles for $59.99 - free shipping for orders over $30.
For some reason, you can't search for the bundles, but there are links on both front pages to the bundle. Pretty good, considering most sites have gone up to the $79.99 MSRP.

Stolen from another forum.

Some things I found out while browsing the Guitar Hero forums. An xbox version is being heavily considered, and a new style controller (not SG, maybe flying v?) is in the works. I also found this neat video while browsing the forum of someone making a guitar camera similar to the one in game (Link). The developers would also like ideas on what kind of merchandise people would like to see. No registration is required so you can post as guest.

Bought the game two days ago. Have sore hand. Am rocking out. Enjoying myself.

My favourite thing about the game is that there really is a zone to hit, and once I drop into it, I forget that I'm playing with a little plastic pseudo-guitar in my living room. There have been passages that just feel so natural to play, and just flow so well. Totally worth the hype this game is getting. Oh, and playing through Smoke on the Water and Fat Lip have made it totally worthwhile all by themselves. :D(I'm halfway through Medium, just for reference.)

I think making the indie tracks unlockables that you have to buy was brilliant. It makes them desirable, completely aside from the intrinsic value of the songs, and that's gotta be good for indies in general.

So, does everyone 'strum'? I've been playing it more like a bass guitar, resting my thumb on the top of the guitar and 'picking' with my first two fingers. Anybody else doing that, or am I just a freak?

Note: This is not me.


Haha, awesome.

I strum with my thumb, and haven't really noticed that I need to strum up and down to get the quick notes - it's my stupid fingers that are slowing me down.

I've beat Medium, and am working on improving my hammer-on and pull-off technique before moving on to Hard.

What song does everyone use to practice the hammer ons and pull offs? I haven't really found one that is good for that other than maybe Crossroads.

I've found that Texas Flood is pretty good to practice Hammer On's and Pull Off's.

Oh, and as an aside, my stepson was playing this on hard the other day, and at the end of the song he had 5 stars and a 612 note streak. I just couldn't believe his awesome guitar prowess. I can onlyl hope to be as good as he is one day.

I'm almost done with Medium. I also rest my thumb on the bar. I've occasionally tried gripping between thumb and first finger like a guitar pick, allowing me to go back and forth, but it just doesn't feel as good.

After Christmas I have about 9 people at my apartment, and all but one played and loved GH. Most were real-life guitar players. One was a real-life guitar hero. All rested their thumbs on the strum bar.

Finished medium the other night, now ascending on hard. That Judas Priest song was a real bitch, but finally got past it.

My wife is enjoying this one too, she's playing through the easy levels and really liking it.

Picked up another guitar, and I have to say multiplayer makes it easier( for me at least) to not get frustrated playing single on hard. On mulitplayer you can learn some of the licks without being penalized and failing the song. I suppose you could just plug in a regular controller, but what is the fun in that?

Nim, that is definitely the preferred method of trying out hard songs. Some of that stuff is unbelievable, and as discussed above, harder than playing the songs on an actual guitar.

Finally got my replacement guitar in the mail today. I was actually able to pick it right back up and beat Ace of Spades right away, and almost get Crossroads. I'm so pleased I can play again

After failing Crossroads a dozen times, I finally did the Advanced Tutorial. Oh hubris! This information will be invaluable

Ok guitar heroes. I implore that you bow to your master.

Nimcosi wrote:

Ok guitar heroes. I implore that your bow to your master.

Holy sh*t...

Nimcosi wrote:

Ok guitar heroes. I implore that you bow to your master.

Wow! His Star Power meter surely goes up to 11.

I hope we get some more Hendrix songs in the next game. I bet he gets 5 stars every time!

I was about two-thirds of the way through medium and managed to corrupt my save file and had to start over. On the plus side, I five starred almost everything on easy the second time around.

Best Thus Far = 100% Note Accuracy on "Hey You"

Worst = Summarily failing "I Wanna Be Sedated" on Hard barely :30 into the song.

Prederick wrote:

Best Thus Far = 100% Note Accuracy on "Hey You"

Worst = Summarily failing "I Wanna Be Sedated" on Hard barely :30 into the song.

I still haven't gotten past 11% on Cowboys From Hell, no worries.

I just noticed today that the 6th tier of songs, that are not available in Easy Career mode, can still be played on Easy in Quick Play.

For example, Cowboys from Hell first appears in Medium Career mode, and is not in the Easy Career mode, but you can play it on easy if you go to Quick play.

I got my g/f into it this morning, and I can barely convince her to give me my turn after she finishes each song.

I've yet to beat No one Knows on Hard yet. I usually reach about 20%-30% in before I fail.