Drop the Zero, Get with the Hero!
It is difficult to put the 1980s in perspective. Big-hair
, for example, cannot be truly understood today. Can you still tell a good set of cement-hardened mushroom-cloud bangs from a bad one
? Do you know the proper body part to affix a bandana to? Hint: it’s not the head.
While we cannot understand the 1980s, RedOctane believes that we can still rock
them. Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s may not turn you Japanese
, but it will convince you that playing guitar and wearing tight pants were not mutually exclusive.
Guitar Hero Encore isn’t being billed as an entirely new game. The menus, the graphics, the engine are all the same as Guitar Hero 2, with the exception of a few kitschy graphical touch-ups. The characters get new 1980s makeovers, now presumably both younger and more inclined toward the fluorescent spectrum. Some of the backgrounds have been updated as well. In the Oakland venue, for example, the giant scythe-swinging figure of Death has donned a pair of giant, radical, 3-D glasses.
But while the game reprises most of the graphics and the style of Guitar Hero 2, it really isn’t for those that you will want this game. Instead, you will get it for the 31 brand new flavors of song that Guitar Hero Encore adds to the rapidly growing repertoire of five fret masterpieces. And none of them, thankfully, are “Freebird.”
The track selections are as eclectic as an 80s-themed mix could be. While we can’t give you a complete track list yet, we can say that you won’t be able to guess it [The “released” track list is at the bottom of the article]. From metal to punk to just kooky, the songs range frequently into the obscure corners of the decade’s offerings. For example, you won’t find “Tainted Love” anywhere. And that’s a good thing.
Instead, Quiet Riot’s heavy “Bang Your Head (Metal Health)” thrashes next to Asia's mellow "Heat of the Moment." Faster Pussycat’s “Bathroom Wall” has to share a stall next to Skid Row’s “18 and Life.” Strange bedfellows abound, but that expression probably applies to the decade in more ways than one.
Our first impression is that the offerings are maybe a tad easier than the regular Guitar Hero tunes. Not necessarily “guitar rock,” these songs promise to challenge in their obscure time signatures and off-beat rhythms, not always in their epic solos. Our favorite, so far, might be Extreme’s "Play With Me
," which gives a good example of just how refreshingly weird most of the tracks are.
A couple of the tunes—Twisted Sister’s “I Wanna Rock” and Flock of Seagulls’s “I Ran (So Far Away)—are originals. The rest are the usual outstanding cover renditions by the Harmonix crew. In our preview build, some of the vocals were a little too soft in the mix, but those issues will probably get cleared up in the final product.
When the final product does come out in July, however, it will be interesting to see how much it costs. Pre-orders are at $40 right now, which may seem high to some. The game offers a bunch of new content but it’s wearing old clothes. Of course, in the 80s, wearing recycled clothes was a new fashion statement.
Released Track List:
Quiet Riot, “Bang Your Head (Metal Health)”
Asia, “Heat of the Moment”
Dio, “Holy Driver”
Flock of Seagulls, “I Ran (So Far Away)”
Twisted Sister, “I Wanna Rock”
Ratt, “Round and Round”
Skid Row, “18 and Life”
Faster Pussycat, “Bathroom Wall”
Billy Squier, “Lonely is the Night”
Poison, “Nothing But a Good Time”
Extreme, “Play with Me”
Eddie Money, “Shaken”
Police, “Synchronicity II”
.38 Special, "Hold On Loosely"
Scorpions, "No One Like You"
Oingo Boingo, "Only a Lad"
White Lion, "Radar Love"
Krokus, "Ballroom Blitz "
Scandal, "The Warrior"
The Romantics, "What I Like About You"
Iron Maiden, "Wrath Child"
Anthrax, "Caught in a Mosh"
Accept, "Balls to the Wall"
Judas Priest, "Electric Eye"
X, "Los Angeles"
Dead Kennedys, "Police Truck"
The Go Go's, "We Got the Beat"
Vapors. "(I Think I'm) Turning Japanese"
Limozeen, "Because, it's Midnite"