In the midst of the 00’s, the gaming world gained one of the most popular, iconic rhythm games of all time. Of course, I’m on about Guitar Hero, a title which is synonymous with clunky plastic guitars. The games were fast paced, sometimes overly difficult on some songs; I’m looking at you, Through The Fire And The Flames. But even though the franchise as more or less fizzled out, with the last instalment deviating completely from the norm, some people wanted to see the once mega-star of rythm games rise from the grave. So along came Frets on Fire! But since then we’ve had more and more titles to help people repurpose those plastic guitars once more. Today, I’d like to take a moment to talk about how much I’ve enjoyed Clone Hero.
To set the scene for you, around 2007, lots of people were standing in front of their consoles, clunkily blasting away at Guitar Hero 3, which had some awesome tracks. From other rooms of a house, all you could hear was the loud clicking of a Guitar Hero controller. These controllers were relatively cumbersome, but really well designed; featuring 5 buttons of differing colours, a strum bar, a wammy bar and later hammer-on buttons lower on the fret board. You would then tilt the guitar upwards, as it also registered the Z-Axis, allowing you to show what an awesome rock-machine you were (and use Star Power, to help you get score or get back up quickly from failing).
As a teen at that point, growing up with games like this, I felt like I was on top of the world. Swinging a plastic guitar around, rocking out and missing a lot of notes. I felt like a real rockstar, especially with how many notes I missed. Now, if we fast forward to the year 2018, I found myself ordering a brand new plastic guitar – A wired one for the PlayStation 2… And yet, I’ve never owned a PS2 in my life. I took to Amazon and ordered myself a PS2 to USB adapter and I plugged that controller straight into my PC, which runs Windows 10. To my surprise, it’s plug n play, which is pretty awesome all things considered.
So then I booted up Clone Hero for the first time in my life and, admittedly, I was really excited. I had been watching people like JasonParadise, Acai, UKOGMonkey and LeafGreenHD for some time, so I figured hey – Why not get back into it? I was never excellent at the game, but I was always able to play on Expert. So now that I was back, it was time to go right back in at Expert – and immediately, I saw some rust. But that was okay, as I still managed to get through my early expert songs.
A lot of you may be thinking “Hold on now, what songs did you start off with?” If you’re at all familiar with Guitar Hero, or Rock Band, then you had a specific setlist. However, I decided the best way to get back into it all was to enjoy the charts made by seriously talented charters and also talented musicians. Charters such as Miscellany, who made some simply brilliant WOAH meme charts; Helvian, who makes hilariously fun meme charts; as well as many more charters who are far too numerous to name. But these were two of the first charters that I downloaded songs from and they were perfect – Getting me into the swing of things, as well as remembering what was so hard about the games, all whilst having a laugh with them. Then I played one of ExiledLord’s Soulless songs. Below is the result.
In less than a week I managed to get my first Full Combo, but I have to admit, it wasn’t easy. The thing that I love the most about Clone Hero is the customisability of it all – You can add backgrounds, you can add custom fretboards, even video backgrounds. You can add in specific videos for specific songs – There’s so much you can do to customise the game, not just limiting you to customising your setlist. Granted, other games such as Frets on Fire and Phase Shift are also available, but I opted for the simplest one to me. Clone Hero was created purely by fans and is still in active development – And the community is really nice. It’s not perfect, but damn, if you’re looking to get back into a Guitar Hero-esque game, I’d highly recommend Clone Hero.
If you find yourself venturing down the rabbit hole and getting out your Guitar Hero controllers, check out the resources available in the Clone Hero reddit. Furthermore, if you’re going to get into this, I’d highly recommend checking out Chorus. Now, perhaps some day I’ll post a full video of me beating the legendary Soulless songs? Who am I kidding, the above clip is the best attempt I’ll ever have at it! Still, if you’ve been looking for a replacement for Guitar Hero, here’s your game. Go get it. It’s free. Enjoy. And leave a comment below, or over on Facebook and Twitter!