(Really) Old Video Game Review: Guitar Hero

As a kid I always would pretend that I’m an awesome rock star by playing the air guitar.  I would rock my head back and forth and throw some rock signs in the air to appease the imaginary crowd. Flash forward about 10 years and my dreams of becoming a rock star came true (sort of). Harmonix, brought the music rhythm genre to a whole new level with Guitar Hero to the gaming world. Released back in November 8, 2005, the world learned how to be rock stars and play some of the greatest rock songs of all time in their living room.

The guitar peripheral that came with the game is what made this game.  In fact, Guitar Hero wasn’t even the first game to even use a toy guitar as a controller.  Konami released Guitar Freaks before Guitar Hero even came out.  However, it was rarely seen in the arcade scene and never got the publicity as Guitar Hero did.  Guitar Hero came with a Gibson SG model controller that allowed you to rock out to one of the best soundtracks of all time in a video game.  The plastic controller wasn’t a big, cumbersome toy.  It actually was a well made controller that lets you bash on the buttons and “strum” the controller to extreme extents.  Playing at higher difficulty levels will require you to use and abuse the guitar controller, but it can take one hell of a beating if you ask me.

johnny napalm

Air guitar is a thing of the past.

If you are wondering if you needed the guitar peripheral to play this game, well your answer is no. You can play with the controller as well, but that’s like playing DDR, without the dance mat.  It’s pointless to play without the guitar, especially in a rhythm game that require precise button inputs. Just strap that guitar on and rock away.  You won’t feel ridiculous because you can play within the comforts of your own home.

The game featured an awesome soundtrack that would melt any rocker’s heart.  Songs from Queens of the Stone Age to the Ramones were incredible.  The guys at Harmonix seemed they actually took their time to pick and choose a list of songs for the rockers in us to play to.  However, the songs are all cover versions done by another studio band (or more?), but they got the feel and the sound pretty much spot on.  Yeah, you can tell it isn’t the original song, but you will forget once you start playing again and again and again…

whammy bar

Whammy bar to build that special bar.

There are a couple of game modes available.  Career follows the player from being a typical “garage band” and progress to becoming a rock god.  As you progress through Career mode, the game gives you new venues and songs to unlock and play.  Quick Mode is for you to just pick up and play any song you have unlocked.  Multiplayer was the last option and you and a buddy would compete on who gets the higher score.  Playing the sequels to Guitar Hero, the multiplayer in the original one was not as good as playing by yourself.  It would have been better for you and your friend to take turns in playing a song than playing against each other.

special

Then press the special button and blow up your score.

Each song has four levels of difficulty, ranging from Easy, Medium, Hard, and Expert.  Easy is for the people who never, ever held a guitar before and Expert is pretty much playing the actually song, note by note.  The game’s learning curve is perfect actually, as you can progress your way to becoming a rock god.  The game also has multipliers for those who get a perfect streak going and dish out some specials to increase that multiplier even more.  There is even a whammy bar for those who want to show off some skill…whomever that may be.

rock on

Yeah, I rocked out with my…

Guitar Hero became a HUGE fad for the video game industry.  It was like Pinkberry, where everyone was suddenly craving frozen yogurt 24/7 for a couple years before it finally died out to a mediocre dessert.  Sadly, Guitar Hero had the same uprising and downfall like Pinkberry did.  The franchise was one of the most recognized brands and even came out with a spin off called, DJ Hero. Eventually, the franchise included a drum set and mic to the game because of its competition Rock Band.  Now, Guitar Hero is just a memory.  Activitision decided to pull the plug on the franchise, because of the lack of quality in the games being produced.  Sadly, another revival of a  Guitar Hero game is like finding the Loch Ness monster, but I can say this for sure; it still is one hell of a game to play.

Rating: 8.7/10

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