Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Guitar Hero III vs Frets on Fire

I recently entered the world of metal music. Metal, hard rock, heavy metal, death metal etc. are simply hard to distinguish especially for an amateur like me. In fact, I typed the title of a song in google to find out the genre it belonged to & weirdly enough, one link classified the song as metal while the other called it hard rock & another called it something else. So, I guess it is really hard to classify them. Even Wikipedia didn’t help. So, lets just call it the headbangers’ music, coz that is what the fans of such music are called. Basically, you just can’t dance to these songs, but you could bang (violently shake) your head. Anyway, lets move on. Me, being a gamer, my thoughts instantly went towards games with metal music as core & I got the urge to try out such a game. That is how I decided to try Guitar Hero III.

Though the game is meant to be played with an electric guitar, I obviously played it on my keyboard. Even worse was the fact that the game doesn’t support 64bit OS & I’m on 64bit. I managed to install it, but at times the frame rate would just double for no reason & the speed changed randomly. But I fell in love with the game & so, I didn’t mind these occasional spikes in the speed of the game. I’m the guy who spent hours in Orkut’s TypeRacer to beat the score set by an old friend of mine. That, combined with my degree in typing meant that I was comfortable with hitting the key combinations at high speed. After playing the game for a day or two, I was impressed by a couple of songs which I wanted to play again & again.

After a week though, I completely fell in love with more than half of the songs in the game. The sheer thrill you get when you pull-off a complex bunch of notes playing at full speed is like hitting six sixes in an over. And when you hear the music play & when you realize that it is you playing that awesome tune, it really is a completely satisfying experience. The best part is probably when you learn to play subconsciously; to hit a set of super-fast key-combinations by just playing as fast as you can without thinking about it. I finally reached a stage where notes were too fast & too complex for me to hit. Like any gamer, I decided that the fault wasn’t entirely mine & that the problem with the random frame-rate was ruining my game. So, I decided to look for alternatives & I found one called Frets on Fire.

Frets on Fire was an open source, free game but came only with 3 songs & the users have to add the other songs themselves after charting the guitar notes, which again is a complex procedure. So, I obviously headed to their community where users had uploaded the charts for various songs & I could just import them into the game. But the users obviously didn’t have guitar track separately & so, if you miss a note, the whole music would stop instead of just the guitar track. The game also had an option to import songs from Guitar Hero & so, I went for it.

But sadly, the game still wasn’t accurate, it was slow, it was visually very inferior & it was even hard to apprehend whether I missed a note or not while playing a fast combination. The game was also buggy & I’m not sure whether it was because of my 64bit or in general. I also realized that I was missing a lot of notes compared to Guitar Hero III even when playing the same song. It simply wasn’t as much fun as Guitar Hero III. If you try Guitar Hero III before playing Frets on Fire, you couldn’t possibly settle for Frets on Fire, unless you are very interested in charting the guitar notes for your favourite songs. Thanks to the hours I spent in Guitar Hero III, I’ve also developed some taste for Rock & Metal songs. I’ve also been introduced to some great bands. If you are a Rock’n’Rolla, do check out this awesome game..

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