Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits
Activision plans to ride its mega-successful Guitar Hero franchise into the summertime. Along with producing a new Smash Hits compilation for consoles, it will also release Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits for the Nintendo DS. Fans of the first two games should have no problem getting into the third entry that features a set list of over 25 songs and a couple of new additions.
Like the previous Guitar Hero games, you play using an attachment that plugs into the Game Boy Advance port on your system. It's a grip with four multi-colored buttons. You press the buttons in accordance with color-coded icons that pass over a bar on the bottom of the screen. You also have to strum each note in succession, timing it with your button press to successfully complete the note. It's a real easy system to get into, so if you've never played before, you'll get the hang of it. (The game includes a tutorial as well, in case you need practice.)
Similar to previous Guitar Hero efforts, you guide your up-and-coming garage band to rock and roll stardom. With each song you successfully complete, you're that much closer to moving on to the next venue. There are multiple stages as well as various characters to choose from. Fan favorites such as Axel Steel and Judy Nails return, and newcomer Calista Valenz also joins the fold, proving her chops with her guitar skills.
Modern Hits features over 25 songs from top recording artists, all remastered to play on your Nintendo DS. They're all master tracks, and not lame cover songs like you hear in other portable rock games. Artists include Lenny Kravitz ("Where Are We Runnin'"), Evanescence ("Sweet Sacrifice"), Coldplay ("Violet Hill") and Fall Out Boy ("This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race"), among others. Rock gods will also appreciate the inclusion of such head-banging acts as Tenacious D ("The Metal") and Wolfmother ("Dimension"). Best of all, the game is cross-compatible with other versions of Guitar Hero in multiplayer, so you can swap play lists with folks that don't own the newer version.
Along with two-player jam sessions and a full-blown career mode, Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits also features a Fan Request mode. Here, you'll need to satisfy your growing fan base by completing requests. These include jamming out to a song at a hyperspeed pace (good luck with that) and using your on-screen whammy bar to great effect. These specific challenges can be met, but you'll need to be on your guard for unexpected surprises, such as your guitar catching fire (remember what happened to Hendrix's?) and having to sign an autograph.
Sadly, Activision still hasn't found a way to make the party happen for Nintendo DSi owners. Since the system doesn't have the built-in Game Boy Advance port, the game isn't compatible with it. Hopefully with the fourth release in the series, the company will figure something out.
Nevertheless, owners of older Nintendo DS and DS Lite systems will keep on rocking with Modern Hits. The grip takes a little getting used to (your hand tends to cramp at first), and some songs are clearly better than others (give us Weezer over Kaiser Chiefs any day), but it still looks like fun. Check back with us in mid-June for the rock verdict.