Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock Review



Guitar Hero has been nothing short of a phenomenon since it appeared on the PlayStation 2 in 2005. Now, for the first time, it’s playable on Macs thanks to Aspyr’s release of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.

If you’ve never played Guitar Hero, here’s the deal: You’re a guitar player in a rock band. The secret to your success is playing well. Play well enough and you’ll attract endorsement deals from equipment makers and talent agents, and you’ll be able to play bigger venues. Use the money you get from playing these gigs to buy new outfits, add new songs to your repertoire and get new equipment.

The trick to playing Guitar Hero III is matching sequences of flashing lights on a special controller that looks like a guitar. A guitar neck appears on screen, with notes flowing down it in one or more of the five string positions. Play the note by holding down the same-coloured button on the guitar neck and strumming a strum-bar on the guitar’s body. Do it in time with what’s on the screen, and you’ll get points. Fail to do so, and your Rock meter will drop, your on-screen musician will play off key or miss notes, and you’ll be booed off stage.

Occasionally you’ll see groups of notes that look like stars. If you play those notes successfully you’ll ratchet up your ‘Star Power’, which you can activate by lifting the guitar’s neck upward sharply. On screen, you’ll see your Guitar Hero begin to do tricks and hijinks that win applause and hoots from the crowd. It also temporarily doubles any points you get from playing a long streak of notes without missing a beat.

There are multiple difficulty levels and multiplayer modes. Two players can gig together, one playing lead guitar, the other on bass or rhythm guitar. In Battle Mode you compete against another player and can jinx them with equipment failures or other problems.

The musical catalogue consists of well known songs including Anarchy in the UK by the Sex Pistols and Paint It, Black by the Rolling Stones. Of the 71 playable songs, some are bonus tracks that you unlock by buying them
in a record store using money earned from gigs.

OUR VERDICT

At £60 the game is pricey, but that’s due to the USB-based guitar controller. The controller is well built and designed to take lots of abuse from players without breaking. There were a few performance issues in the initial release of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, but Aspyr ironed them out with a 1.1 release.

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