The FreQ of the industry. Review

Frequency Info

genre

  • Puzzle

players

  • 1 - 2

Publisher

  • Sony

Developer

  • Harmonix Music Systems

Release Date

  • 01/01/1970
  • Out Now

Platform

  • PS2

rating

The FreQ of the industry.

Every once in a while you’ll come across something that looks like a game, sounds

like a game, is dressed like a game, but just really isn’t a game. The

last “thing” I can remember that did this was the infamous Spice

World
for the PSX. While wearing the trendiest plastic wrap complete with

a full $40 price tag, this piece of crap

somehow found its way into Playstations around the globe.

It seems I’ve discovered another one of these non-games. It’s definitely not

a piece of crap, though I’m not exactly sure what to call it. But seeing as

how you’ve already taken a comfy seat with your Cool Ranch Doritos and frosty

can of Mountain Dew, I’ll give it a shot.

Frequency for the Playstation 2 is an 8-track mixing board disguised

as a game. It kind of looks like a rhythm game ala Parappa the Rapper,

but probably would feel more at home in a studio with two

turntables and a microphone
. The object is simple. Little dots float by

and you’ve got to catch them in the “activator” by pressing the appropriate

buttons at the appropriate time. Do it correctly, and you’ll be rewarded with

notes from a catchy electronica, rock, or hip hop tune. Successfully hit enough

notes in a row and you’ll activate a few bars. Mess up and your energy meter

will begin to deplete.

Two powerups are also thrown in to help you out. Successfully gain an auto-catcher

and you’ll be able to turn on a track with the push of a single button. There’s

also a multiplier pickup that will double your points.

The game arena is octagonal with each side representing a certain part of

the song. Bass, synth, vocals, and more are all represented on their own panel.

There’s even a scratch and axe panel if you feel like adding a personal touch.

Once you’ve successfully completed a track, just hop to another and start dishing

out a different part of the tune. Basically, the game allows you to play around

with the different layers of each song. It’s definitely a cool idea.

Frequency also has a multiplayer mode that pits you and a friend in

musical combat. A few extra powerups are available, but the point is still the

same. Score more points and you’ll earn all the rhythmic bragging rights on

the table.

In addition to the regular game, you’ll also find Remix mode. Probably the

best thing about Frequency, Remix mode allows you to remix any of the

game’s songs any way you like with no strings attached. It really takes some

playing around with to get the hang of it all, but with a little time and energy,

you’ll be able to recreate your own version of a song. You can place notes where

you want, add any track you want, and even throw in effects like echo and stutter.

Best of all, you’ll be able to save your creation and play it back at your next

big party. Mortimer, Gertrude, and Olaf will never know the difference.

Average

Joe Gamer probably won’t recognize the majority of the artists featured in the

game, but those of you interested in the underground music scene may find some

pleasant surprises. From the drum & bass of Roni Size to the scratch mastery

of the Invisibl Skratch Piklz’s own Q-BERT, you’ll find a variety of tunes off

the beaten path. Just don’t expect to find any Blink 182 or other mainstream

video game bands here.

The biggest problem with Frequency is that it just isn’t much fun.

The technical details and the things you can do in Remix mode are very cool,

but they feel much more like something you would find in a mixing program than

a Playstation 2 game. I would rather sit around and tweak the music with no

restrictions rather than be bound by the endless sea of dots.

Not helping matters are visuals that might just make you sick. Eight arenas

represent “musical cyberspace” and they all look like the result of a bad acid

trip. I guess if you were on ecstasy it would be cool, but then again, you wouldn’t

be able to do more than stare at the pretty colors. Plus drugs are bad, mmmmkay?

Even if you’re perfectly drug-free, you’ll need to keep your eyes glued to

the screen. “Notes” come fast and furious (songs can reach up to 180 bpms) and

simply blinking can cause you to fail. In one particularly challenging set,

I actually had a contact lens spring forth from my eyeball, never to be seen

again. I guess it just saw the opportunity for escape and went for it. Beware,

contact lens wearers, after Frequency you may never see them again”

If you’re interested in the art of music mixing, Frequency‘s Remix

mode is a good introduction. It allows you to take an active part in the music

you listen to and gives you mixing powers beyond those of mortal men. As a game

though, this note is a little flat.





REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

3
Rating
Very cool Remix mode
Not just pop rock for a change
More a tool than a game
Visuals will give you a headache
I've lost my contact lens!