When Guitar Hero first appeared on the market, some hardcore gamers accused it of ripping off Konami's guitar-peripheral-based rhythm series Guitar Freaks. Many of those same detractors cried foul again with the emergence of Rock Band, which featured a drum kit eerily reminiscent of that used with another Konami game, DrumMania. However, such criticism didn't stop the Guitar Hero franchise from generating over $1 billion and Rock Band moving 3 million units and 10 million song downloads.
Now, nearly 10 years after the first Guitar Freaks game hit the market, Konami is getting back into the instrument-game act. Two years after it trademarked "Guitar Revolution," the publisher of Karaoke Revolution and Dance Dance Revolution will release Rock Revolution on DS, Wii, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.
The PS3 and 360 editions of Rock Revolution sound much like Rock Band, as it will sport a guitar peripheral and a "realistic" drum kit designed by real musicians. The game will come with 40 tracks on it, with more being offered via the Xbox Live and the PlayStation Store. Konami promised the game would encompass "a broad range of music styles."
When GameSpot previewed the game at a press event last night in San Francisco, the version on hand had selections from Twisted Sister ("We're Not Gonna Take It"), Motley Crue ("Dr. Feelgood"), Quiet Riot ("Cum On Feel the Noize"), and even Avril Lavigne ("Sk8er Boi"). Some selections, such as The Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop" and Jet's "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" are already featured in Rock Band. Unlike Rock Band and later Guitar Heros, all songs in Rock Revolution will be cover versions.
Rock Revolution will also sport a variety of features similar to those included in the upcoming Guitar Hero 4. It will feature a virtual music studio, which lets players create songs that include up to eight tracks, as well as a "jam mode" that will let users experiment with and record free-form performances on the fly. Besides a career mode, the game will offer online and offline versus, Co-op and Band Battle multiplayer modes, as well as a variety of venues and characters.
Rather than Rock Band or Guitar Hero, the Wii version of Rock Revolution sounds more like Sega's upcoming Samba de Amigo. Instead of instruments, it will use the Wii Remote to offer "an air-drum and air-guitar experience," letting players use motion to have their characters perform scissor kicks, smash their guitars, or light their instruments on fire. It will have the same modes and recording options as the PS3/360 edition, but will not support vocals.
Last but not least, the DS Rock Revolution will use stylus gestures for "rhythm matching" to allow players to play drums, bass, or guitar. Konami says the game will also have a "vocal" option, but its control scheme is unclear. The game will have more than 20 songs and will support a variety of modes, including single-player Career and wireless multiplayer Co-op and Battle mode.
For more on Rock Revolution, which is set to ship this fall, check out GameSpot's hands-on preview from Konami's Gamers' Day.