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Posts with tag red-octane

Point: Why Guitar Hero: On Tour could rock out


Guitar Hero: On Tour is a weird product. The guitar controller, which would seem to be Guitar Hero's greatest strength, is pretty much absent from the DS game, replaced with a vestigial controller that retains the basic gameplay motion but removes the rock-star fantasy. For some, the loss of the guitar shape may remove the primary source of fun from the game (lookin' like C.C. DeVille); for me, it enhances the fun.

Is it possible for a music game to be fun without simulating an instrument? Historically, yes. Guitar Hero may have roots in the instrument-based Guitar Freaks and other Bemani-series games, all of which use specialized controllers, but its immediate predecessors were Harmonix's Frequency and Amplitude for the Playstation 2. These two games featured the same visualization method and gameplay as Guitar Hero -- notes as icons, moving toward the screen Klax-style -- but used the PlayStation 2's stock controller. These two games were, in fact, more complex than Guitar Hero, requiring players to move between musical tracks. The Guitar Hero controller doesn't allow for this feature (and, of course, there'd be no reason to move over to the drum or vocal track with a guitar controller), so, in a way, the guitar controller hampered the game design.

PaRappa the Rapper used the PlayStation controller to control the main character's speech. That's about as far from representative as a controller could be, and PaRappa was well-received enough for the genre to advance. Now, just because NaNaOn-Sha, Harmonix, and other companies could make great music games without representative controllers doesn't mean that Vicarious Visions can, or will -- but it does mean that we shouldn't summarily dismiss Guitar Hero: On Tour for not having a sufficiently guitar-like controller.

From the looks of it, the Guitar Grip peripheral will provide a mechanically similar gameplay experience to the full-size controller anyway. With the exception of the fifth fret button, of course, the base game of holding one or more of a line of buttons and strumming on time is unchanged. So it's still Guitar Hero -- it just doesn't look like it. This should really only dissuade people who play Guitar Hero in order to pretend like they're playing guitars. People who like Guitar Hero as a game will only benefit from a smaller version.

Portability is especially novel for something like Guitar Hero, whose normal controller is freaking huge. Sometimes you don't have space for a bunch of big controllers! You may be dissuaded from bringing your Guitar Hero setup to your small dorm room, for example, while you could easily play On Tour in the back of a Volkswagen. The added value of portability, with a smaller price tag? Rokken.


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Back A different tune

DS Daily: A less-than-perfect solution?


For so long, the prospect of a Guitar Hero game on the DS was a source of intrigue to this blogger. During long, sleepless nights, I would ponder how such a game could reproduce the magic of the home console versions with just two screens, the DS's tinny speakers, and no guitar peripheral.

Yesterday, Activision revealed its solution to these conundrums: the "Guitar Grip." The idea seems straightforward enough: plug the above accessory into the GBA slot of your DS, grab your guitar pick stylus, and strum away on your touchscreen while pressing buttons to coincide with cascading on-screen notes. Fair enough. Considering the limitations of the DS, this isn't a terrible idea.

But here's what irks me: a considerable -- no, a huge -- part of Guitar Hero's appeal is the guitar controller itself. When I'm (cough) "rocking out" on one of the home console versions of Guitar Hero, I'm Brian May on stage at Live Aid, at least in my head. In reality, of course, I'm a deluded cretin, but the point still stands: Guitar Hero is at its best when it's letting us live out our rock star fantasies, and that's fun. Yours truly is going to struggle to get the same sensation of being a total rock god just by plugging in the Guitar Grip.

I hate to say this but ... perhaps Guitar Hero should have stayed on home consoles, if the Guitar Grip truly is the best solution. Is that too harsh?

At last: Guitar Hero on Tour, now with wacky peripheral


More like Tiny Accordion Hero, amirite?

Dying to know how you'll shred in portable fashion? The wait is over, Guitar Hero fans -- at least, the DS peripheral has been revealed, along with some screenshots from the title. It's called the Guitar Grip, and it will fit snugly into the GBA slot and wrap around while players hold the system sideways. Gameplay-wise, it's -- no surprise here -- Guitar Hero, as it should be. The touchscreen is where it all happens; you follow the song on the left screen, and strum on the right. You even get to throw down with Star Power, and for those of you who take your throwdowns seriously, there's a strap to ensure that your handheld stays held. The Grip also includes a slot for a special pick stylus. However, as you can see, there are only four buttons for the DS version ... and we can't help but wonder how the different slot on the Lite vs. Phat will be handled.

On Tour features multiplayer via local wireless, in which players will have access to unique powerups that disrupt their opponents by, among other things, setting their guitars on fire and forcing them to extinguish the blaze with the microphone.

Guitar Hero on Tour is set for some time, some day this summer -- all we know is that it's not soon enough. For now, hit the jump for some additional shots, as well as a video.

Continue reading At last: Guitar Hero on Tour, now with wacky peripheral

DS Daily: Guitar Hero DS


Most people seem to love Guitar Hero. If you're one of the few who have managed to escape the dastardly clutches of the franchise, please, feel free to tell us all about it. But if you're one of those who are totally addicted to getting your thrash on, we've got a question for you: what do you think of the franchise heading to the DS? With a peripheral, even? Does it appeal to you or not?

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