Get Ready To Rock

Air guitars will become a thing of the past this April, as US publisher RedOctane unveils the 21st Century replacement Guitar Hero on PlayStation 2. Guitar Hero will be published throughout Europe from April 2006, priced £49.99 – ensuring a new continent will fall in love with the game. Since its American debut in November last year, Guitar Hero has picked up a stack of accolades, including three “Game of the Year” Awards from IGN and the award for “Best Soundtrack” from Spike TV. Indeed, – a US Website which aggregates press coverage for video games – reveals an average review score of 93 per cent (as of 15th February 2006). Recently, it picked up five awards at the DICE Festival in Las Vegas – including the prestigious ‘Innovation In Gaming’ accolade.

The secret of the game’s success is simple. Whilst most games are designed to be played, Guitar Hero is meant to be rocked. It allows PlayStation 2 owners to perform 30 fully licensed rock songs on a unique guitar peripheral, modelled on the classic Gibson SG. Once strapped on, the controller becomes the ultimate way to jam, making players not just feel like rock gods, but look like them, too. Using five frets, a strum-bar and a whammy bar, players thrash out notes, rifts and chords alongside an accompanying rock band. The peripheral even senses the alignment of the guitar, and at special points in the game players can play it vertically for extra style points. Falling to the knees is entirely optional.

Guitar heroes can slam on the fret buttons to form notes, sustains and chords; shred the strum bar as they would a real guitar; and go wild on the whammy whilst playing 30 classic rock tunes, such as Killer Queen, Ziggy Stardust, Smoke on the Water and I Love Rock and Roll alongside more contemporary tunes such as Take Me Out and Nobody Knows. Additionally, the game features 17 songs by up-and-coming rock stars as part of the track list. In single-player, Guitar Hero charts the journey of an aspiring new act as it plays a series of increasingly prestigious gigs, from small indie club to stadium. Multiplayer mode sees two players facing-off in an electrifying series of guitar duels, battling for the title of Ultimate Guitar Hero.

To play Guitar Hero just once is to fall in love with it. For once it’s a game which’ll not have gamers smashing their TVs in frustration, but chucking them out of first-floor windows as they forget their humdrum lives and succumb to the lure of a Guitar Hero lifestyle.

Guitar Hero will be released in the UK in April 2006, priced £49.99 (including SG controller). Rollout throughout Europe will follow shortly, with dates and timings to be announced.

The licensed track list is as follows

Ace Of Spades
Bark at the Moon
Cowboys from Hell
Fat Lip
Heart Full of Black
Hey You
Higher Ground
I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll
I Wanna Be Sedated
Iron Man
Killer Queen
More than a Feeling
No One Knows
Sharp Dressed Man
Smoke on the Water
Spanish Castle Magic
Symphony of Destruction
Take It Off
Take Me Out
Texas Flood
Thunderkiss ’65
You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’
Ziggy Stardust

Guitar Hero features an additional 17 tracks by various up-and-coming independent rock bands that can be unlocked as players progress through the game. The US hit single “Fire It Up” by Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society and Graveyard BBQ’s “Cheat on the Church”, which won RedOctane’s ‘Be A Guitar Hero’ Competition are two of the highlights of the unlock song list.