Guitar Hero: Greatest Hits (Smash Hits in the US) is the Guitar Hero version of Madonna’s The Immaculate Collection. It’s a disc packed full of the best tracks from the first three Guitar Hero games and Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s, as voted for by you, the Guitar Hero fans.
There are 48 original masters included on the disc, many of which had previously been licensed but not performed by the original artists. For the full list head over to the official Guitar Hero website, but here we’ve picked out some of our favourites. From Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock comes DragonForce’s “Through The Fire And Flames” and Slayer’s “Raining Blood”. From Guitar Hero II the likes of Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing In The Name” and “Message In A Bottle” by The Police make it in. From the first Guitar Hero game “No One Knows” by Queens Of The Stone Age and Franz Ferdinand’s “Take Me Out” are included. From Encore comes Twisted Sister’s “I Wanna Rock” and Judas Priest’s “Electric Eye”. And, finally, there’s a single track from expansion Guitar Hero: Aerosmith on there just for fun: Aerosmith’s “Back In The Saddle”. Clearly, guitar heroes like their rock.
You might be thinking to yourself, why should I fork out my hard-earned cash for Greatest Hits if I’ve already got the games its tracks have been pulled from? Well, the answer is simple: Guitar Hero: Greatest Hits will offer players their first opportunity to play all the songs on its set list in full band mode. Although it seems hard to believe now, Guitar Hero began life in 2005 as a guitar peripheral-only game. In fact, it stayed that way right up until 2008’s Guitar Hero: World Tour, which was compatible with drums and microphones. Greatest Hits has been developed based on the technology behind Guitar Hero: World Tour, so you’ll be able to sing and drum as well as strum to all the included tracks.
Bar that, it’s as you were. Greatest Hits is effectively the same as World Tour but with 48 tracks repurposed for full band play. So, included is Star Power, Rock Meters and that iconic scrolling fret board and coloured notes that have become popular culture icons after the first game reinvented the music game genre back in 2005. There’s online and offline gameplay modes including Band Career and eight-player “Battle of the Bands”, which allows two full bands to compete head-to-head online. There’s character creation, music creation via the Music Studio from World Tour and the ability to share it via the GHTunes. For all intents and purposes, Greatest Hits is World Tour, and perhaps because of this Greatest Hits is likely to arrive on shop shelves at a slightly lower price point compared with other Guitar Hero games. If it does, Greatest Hits is sure to be a great entry point for newcomers to the series.
Thankfully, the game, like World Tour, is compatible with every music game peripheral you’d want it to be compatible with, including the Rock Band drums and guitars (for the PS3, PS2 and Xbox 360 versions). On Wii, however, it’s a different matter - the Rock Band stuff won’t work with the game on Nintendo’s motion-sensing console, which is a bit disappointing.
There isn’t much more to say about Greatest Hits. It’ll be nigh on an essential purchase for some but a pointless exercise for others. If it’s released cheaper than World Tour, then it’ll be the best way of getting into the Guitar Hero series if you’ve so far resisted the temptation.
Guitar Hero: Greatest Hits is due out for Xbox 360, PS3, PS2 and Wii on June 26.