Guitar Hero Metallica – PS2 – Preview

Imagine, if you
will, seven or more juke boxes in the same general rooming space, all playing
different songs. Add to that din this element – the songs are player directed,
in that the person in control of the juke box can alter or vary the song to some
degree. If you can imagine that, you have a decent handle on the cacophony
emanating from the Temple Night Club in San Francisco when Activision hosted
media event to allow hands-on time with the upcoming Guitar Hero: Metallica
release.

The game itself
is a great tribute to Metallica, featuring songs that span the ages, starting
back in the 1980s. In addition, there are 21 guest artists contributing a song
to the expansion, and while apparently Metallica selected the artists, this is
an eclectic mix from Lynryd Skynyrd and Bob Seger to Slayer, Alice in Chains,
Corrosion of Conformity, Judas Priest and System of a Down. (Ok, the other bands
are Diamond Head, Foo Fighters, Kyuss, Machine Head, Mastodon, Mercy Fate,
Michael Schenker Group, Queen, Samhain, Social Distortion, Suicidal Tendencies,
The Sword and Thin Lizzy.)


For those
unfamiliar with Guitar Hero, the Metallica release is based off the World Tour
edition, which features the guitar and bass, drums and microphone for the
four-player band set-up. The peripherals are not included with the Metallica
title. This is a rhythm-based game in which players match scrolling note bars
with color-coded keys on the instruments (for vocals, there is a pitch meter).

The Metallica
release features 28 tracks from the title band, and that list includes:

  • All Nightmare
    Long

  • Battery

  • Creeping Death

  • Disposable
    Heroes

  • Dyers Eve

  • Enter Sandman

  • Fade To Black

  • Fight Fire With
    Fire

  • For Whom The
    Bell Tolls

  • Frantic

  • Fuel

  • Hit The Lights

  • King Nothing

  • Master of
    Puppets

  • Mercyful Fate

  • No Leaf Clover

  • Nothing Else
    Matters

  • One

  • Orion

  • Sad But True

  • Seek And
    Destroy

  • The Memory
    Remains

  • The Shortest
    Straw

  • The Thing That
    Should Not Be

  • The Unforgiven

  • Welcome Home
    (Sanitarium)

  • Wherever I May
    Roam

  • Whiplash

What makes the
Metallica tracks so amazing are not only the length of the song, but the
instrumentality that goes with them. The songs often vary tempo, going from
lyrical phrases that could almost be considered to border on the ballad format,
to crunching guitar riffs with furious note strings that will challenge players.

Of course, there
are those who have mastered the whole GH experience on the expert setting. Well,
for them the development crew at Neversoft has added an expert+ difficulty
setting. But even at the relatively tame medium setting, some of the Metallica
songs were finger-twisting excursions into the realms of endurance. A few times
it almost felt easier to play the songs at the hard setting as opposed to the
medium.


And the group of
media assembled for this hands-on assault was rather diverse. There were those
that could play on the hard settings (at least) and still carry on coherent
conversations with others, and those who sat behind the drums and were a blur of
motion as they tackled the more difficult game settings, and did it well. When
you first hear someone who can’t really sing belt out Enter Sandman at the top
of his voice, two things immediately come to mind – the first is the broad and
enduring appeal of Metallica; the second is that some people should not be
allowed near an open microphone when music is playing.

Still, the event
was a great look at the upcoming title, which is one that should definitely
appeal to Guitar Hero gamers – whether they are die-hard Metallica fans or not.
A challenge is always welcomed in the Guitar Hero universe, and when you couple
that with some outstanding music, you have the ingredients of a sure-fire
winner.