Review: Guitar Hero II

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Guitar Hero II
Red Octane

Reviewed On: Xbox 360
Street: 04.03

It seems I can’t mention my fondness for video games to anyone these days without getting a sermon on the marvels of the Guitar Hero series. I’ll confess that the success of these games and my own hobby of playing real guitars instilled in me a pre-emptive distaste for a game that not only is raved about and coveted by little kids and old ladies alike, but also has pounded some questionable pop rock songs into the ground a bit further by encouraging their repetition and dissemination. So it was with a frown and total disregard for the gigantic packaging that I ripped out the plastic guitar and plugged in for what I thought would be ten minutes of boring button mashing before I crucified the game here on the pages of SLUG. It is with a bandwagon-flavored tear that I must confess that the frown, which I nurtured for as long as possible inevitably gave way to a big stupid grin. I rocked out with my plastic guitar for way too long, completely ruining my plans that night of hanging out at a local laundry mat and creeping people out by smelling their clothes and telling them if I thought they were clean. The addiction that is Guitar Hero II is a dangerous path indeed. I don’t know how they’ve managed to trigger the brain endorphins so quickly, but when I pegged the rock meter after nailing a rough passage I actually caught myself ‘head banging’ like a god dammed Guitar Hero. Yes, the songs are mostly old crusty cheese thrown back from the 80s and 90s and as far as graphics go, the most interesting thing to watch besides the virtual fret board are the paper airplanes circling the stage. Guitar Hero II delivers where it counts: a unique game experience that I am now openly loving. Apparently, there’s an online resource for further songs and a national listing, but for now I’m in the woodshed honing my chops because can you really hear “Sweet Child O’ Mine” too many times? The answer is yes. 4.5 out of 5 virtual tattoos. –Jesse Kennedy