Guitar Hero: Smash Hits Preview

I don’t need no instructions to know how to rock.

Last year's release of Guitar Hero: World Tour was a big step up for the franchise. Activision and Red Octane heard the call to a challenge from Rock Band and answered back with a game that not only allowed you to play whatever instrument you wanted, but included a way for you to make and distribute your own songs for other folks to play. There was just one hitch. Since the first few incarnations of the game didn't have drums or a mic, you couldn't just import the tracks into the new game. But this June, the solution will be coming in the form of Guitar Hero: Smash Hits.

[image1]While Smash Hits won't have every song from the series' rich history, it will feature the cream of the crop from Guitar Hero 1, 2, and 3, as well as Rocks The 80s, amounting to 48 songs in total, all from master tracks. Everyone from the leather pants-wearing Joan Jett to the leather vest-clad Queen and the leather gauntleted DragonForce (it's a rock 'n' roll thing) are back to let you rock their fan favorites once again. Maybe you mastered “Through the Fire and the Flames” on expert difficulty before, but can you beat it on the new Expert+ mode? How about on a drum kit? And can you belt out the intense falsettos of Freddy Mercury on “Killer Queen”?

Eight new and exotic venues, like the Polar Ice Caps, the Amazon, and the Grand Canyon, have been added as well as some new additions to your rock star wardrobe for each new level. It might not sound like much until you see Midori dressed as an Amazonian warrior princess rocking out to Rage Against the Machine's “Killing in the Name” with a giant python tearing shit up in the background - only then you understand the meaning of “stage presence”. Along with the original roster of characters is the ability to make your unique golden god of music with the return of the Rock Star Creator. (I'm sure the first thing everyone is going to do is make their own custom Apple Pie Hopes avatars, since for some reason we weren't included in the game.)

All the other additions introduced in World Tour will be packed in too, including the GHTunes virtual music studio where you can compose your magnum opus then put your genius up on the internet for all to bask in its raw power. I'm sure if Mozart were alive today, he would be making all his music exclusively on tiny plastic guitars with colored buttons on them too.

The amps get cranked up to 11 on June 16th, when Guitar Hero: Smash Hits saunters onto the stage in all its leather-clad glory for PS3, PS2, and Xbox 360.