Getting Started with Guitar Hero
Before you start playing Guitar Hero, you must decide whether you want an open mic night or sold-out arena level of intensity. In the latest Guitar Hero release, “Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock,” you have five game mode options. Each offers different opportunities and environments to allow you to build your skills, show off against friends or climb your way to the top.
- Tutorial: Use this space to hone your skills and get you ready for the big time. You can slow songs down or play them at the normal pace without the pressure of being booed offstage.
- Career: Play your best to unlock songs and venues and earn cash as you go. This mode separates the game into levels made of song sets that increase in difficulty. Guitar Hero recommends starting off in career mode to unlock hidden contents such as new characters and songs and experience the thrill of success.
- Co-op: Get high scores with a little help from a friend. Two people play different guitar parts of the same songs (for example, base or lead guitar) to try to get the highest scores possible on “Guitar Hero II” and “Guitar Hero III”.
- Quick Play: Select a song and play without having to move through the levels.
- Multiplayer: Challenge a friend to a face-off by playing different guitar parts of the same song. Or, unlock the pro face-off mode to compete on the same notes of a song. [source: Activision]
Next, it’s time to determine how close you’ll stand to the rock ‘n’ roll fire. The four difficulty levels are separated by the speed and number of notes thrown at you during a song. If you’re just starting out, don’t even think about trying anything but the easy level to get the hang of it.
- Easy: only use green, red and yellow fret buttons.
- Medium: use green, red, yellow and blue fret buttons.
- Hard: play with all five fret buttons.
- Expert: use five fret buttons at a faster pace. [source: Activision]
Whether it’s Mick Jagger‘s snarl or Gene Simmons’ blood-spitting, onstage persona is everything. For that reason, Guitar Hero has a variety of characters, or avatars, to choose from. Match your riffing style with Johnny Napalm’s mohawk, Judy Nails’ vixen vibe or one of the other seven “Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock” characters (not including the one you can unlock). Also, if you dig Izzy Sparks’ mullet, but not his pants, don’t fret. As you progress in career mode, you can buy your avatars new clothing and instruments.
Now that you’ve established your virtual set list and band, it’s time to play. Read on to learn Guitar Hero’s essential rules for scoring.
Playing Guitar Hero
Standing in front a television screen with your plastic axe strapped across your chest, you assume your best rocker stance. Your fingers twitch slightly on the fret buttons in anticipation as the camera zooms down to your on-screen avatar and you hear the first beats of the song start up. It’s time to play Guitar Hero.
Once the music kicks in, the screen display changes to a note chart that resembles an unfurling guitar neck. At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see the target line with the five color-coded discs that correspond to the top-down order of fret buttons on the controller.
When your guitar part begins, color coded gems slide your way along the fret lines toward the target line. The point of Guitar Hero is to hit the matching fret buttons and the strum bar on your controller at the same time the gems hit the target line onscreen. If you succeed, a small flame bursts above the gem on the screen. For every correct note you hit, you score points. If you hit more than 10 notes in a row, those point values may be multiplied up to four times.
The key to scoring is timing, so it helps to know the song. Depending on the mode and difficulty, you’ll follow the lead, bass or rhythm guitar. During faster melodies, keep an eye out for hammer-on and pull-off notes — known as HOPOs in the Guitar Hero lexicon. These notes don’t require the strum bar. Instead, if you push the correct fret button once the gem hits the target line, you’re fine. In Guitar Hero versions before “Guitar Hero III,” you must hold down the fret button of the previous note in order to properly hammer-on. You can spot HOPOs because their centers are completely white, while regular notes have a black band around the white center. (Real guitarists play HOPOs by hitting or releasing a string on a fret hard enough that it makes a sound without having to strum.)
Sustained notes that are held out for a number of beats are also important to catch. On the screen, these notes have long, bright lines trailing behind. To prepare, you can press down the appropriate fret button on your axe early if you have time, then hit the strum bar once the note reaches the target line. Since you only have to hit the strum bar once on sustained notes, use that hand to rotate the whammy bar and listen to the notes bend.
For more Detail: How Guitar Hero Works