by Keaton Arksey
previewed on NDS
Rock on the road
For a franchise that has been with us for such a short period of time, Guitar Hero’s history has been quite turbulent. The game has appeared on the PC, PS2, Wii, Xbox 360, PS3 and graced even cell phone displays. It has seen two developers, two spin-offs, three full versions and a 4th one is currently in the making. Quite impressive, but Activision must have felt it was not enough. Two weeks from now, Guitar Hero will make its first appearance on the Nintendo DS. Be prepared to take your guitar play On Tour.
Sure, rocking out at home is great, but wouldn’t you want to take it out on the road and get your fix wherever and whenever you want? Obviously, Activision thought so, so they enlisted Vicarious Visions (developers of the Wii versions of Guitar Hero III and Guitar Hero Aerosmith) to take the series on the road with Guitar Hero On Tour.
The game is played in a similar fashion to that of previous entries in the franchise. A series of colored notes scroll down the screen and the player must press the corresponding colored button on a controller and strum. Sometimes advanced techniques are required like hammer-ons and pull-offs, which are useful for speedy sections. For every 10 consecutive notes hit, the player earns a multiplier that increases the number of points achieved. If the player misses enough notes though, the player might get booed off the stage and fail the song. A career mode lets you playing through the songs in the game, earning you cash which can be used to buy new guitars, costumes, and numerous other goodies.
Hitting certain streaks of notes gives the player Star Power, which can be used to double the multiplier, as well as quickly take you from near-failure to safe and sound. Star power is activated by yelling or blowing into the DS microphone. If you are playing in public, and don’t want people to freak out seeing you blow at your DS, you can also activate it by pressing a face button.
Getting a grip
Playing Guitar Hero On Tour is slightly different from what you are used to. Instead of using a plastic guitar to play, Vicarious Visions invented the ‘Guitar Grip’ in the interest of keeping the game portable.
The Guitar Grip plugs directly into the Gameboy Advance slot on your DS and is used much like a guitar controller. On the grip are 4 colored buttons, 1 less than found on the standard guitar controller. The DS is held horizontally, in ‘book’ format and the player’s hand slides into the grip so that he can press the buttons on the end of it. For those who haven’t upgraded to a DS Lite yet, the game will also include a converter so you can rock out on your old school DS.