Game On!: "Guitar Hero: Metallica"

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Care to "Ride the Lightning"? Would you enjoy jamming away at "Stone Cold Crazy" on your favorite plastic instrument? Well, the latest release in the long-running Guitar Hero series might just be up your alley.

Guitar Hero: Metallica follows last year's Guitar Hero: Aerosmith in featuring a playlist pulled primarily from the catalog of one band. More such releases await for Guitar Hero and Rock Band, with the Beatles and AC/DC set to receive solo spotlights in the next year.

In their heyday, Metallica typified metal with long instrumentals, intense guitars and driving, drum-pummeling songs. The band produced a bunch of heavy hits that still garner radio play today.

The metal masters' fans often fall in two camps - classic Metallica vs. modern Metallica. This game's tracks skew far more toward the classic side. Multiple songs from Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets and the Black Album are included, while few songs from the band's more recent releases made the cut.

The difficulty level is cranked up quite a bit on this title. While tracks that appeared in previous Guitar Hero games, like "One," have similar notation, the new songs are punishing at any level, especially on guitar and drums.

There are also about 20 tracks from bands that inspired the group, including Motorhead, Queen and Thin Lizzy. Metallica actually covered many of the songs on their Garage Days releases. These non-cover versions provide a break from the high-speed, difficult instrumentation of the Metallica numbers.

This game includes the Music Studio, allowing players to create their own Guitar Hero beats, and the Create a Rocker feature, which lets you give your metal superstar any look you'd like. Just don't count on seeing it very often, because whenever you play a Metallica song in Career Mode you'll be staring down the not-so-pleasant mugs of actual Metallica members.

One interesting addition is support for a double bass pedal on the drums. Many of Metallica's songs feature the double kick, and they're extremely difficult to execute when played on a single pedal.

Ultimately, Guitar Hero: Metallica is a vanity game for fans of the band, and it makes no apologies for this. Because the songs are the primary reason to pick up any Guitar Hero game, if you're not a Metallica fan then there's little reason to give this game a play.

"Guitar Hero: Metallica"

System: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii

Price: $60

Players 1-4

Rated: T for Teen

Who Should Buy It? The Metal Militia

GameOn! Grade: B

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