Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock

Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock

Spring 2008 Video Games
Ages: 13 & Up
Price: $89.99
Gaming System: Playstation/Wii
Hard rock isn't all that hard when you slip Guitar Hero III into your videogame console. That's why this brilliant series of pseudo rock-guitar videogaming has become the phenom that it has. What kid doesn't want to be a rock star? Or what baby-boomer parent for that matter?

Okay, maybe not for everyone. But kids love this game-especially when they invite friends for sleepovers (the new multi-player mode)! And for parents who roll their eyes about the so-called "music" today's kids listen to, well, this is a godsend! A rock-god send! Because it will, via the gaming mentality, introduce your youngsters to real-thing rock 'n' roll that we grew up with. Every great band from the past 40-plus years is not represented in the Guitar Hero series-yet. Give it time. In this third Guitar Hero version, the music you're kids will be trying to keep up with include: "Barracuda" by Heart, "Rock And Roll All Nite" by Kiss, "Hit Me with Your Best Shot" by Pat Benatar, "Mississippi Queen" by Mountain, "Sunshine of Your Love" by Cream, "Paint It Black" by The Rolling Stones, "Even Flow" by Pearl Jam, "La Grange" by ZZ Top and "Black Magic Woman" by Santana. And there's more. Aerosmith, Iron Maiden, Metallica.

Like the original Guitar Hero from 2005, players start by choosing from several possible characters which cartoonesque rock-star becomes them on stage-including some that might put off parents worried that their child might ask for a Mohawk, tats or piercings next time at the mall. But, hey, that's just rock-n-roll. And this is just a game. Yes, the choices of rock 'n' rollers in the game look like hellions-a little disconcerting-but there are a couple that parents can accept.

Then, players embrace the pseudo-guitar/game controller and hit color-coded notes as they fall down the screen in tune with real rock songs. Press the right colored buttons (frets) at the right time to correspond to song notes played across the screen while strumming the guitar bar (strings). It's all about thinking quick, timing and learning tunes-sorta like playing the guitar in real life. The difference between Easy Mode and Expert Mode is huge-meaning Easy Mode isn't beyond the reach of the younger Wii audience. A big plus favoring the Wii version is that its pseudo guitar (included in the $89.99 package) is wireless and that feature is not available for PS2 and Xbox versions. The downside of playing GHIII on the Wii version is there's not enough space for add-on features and additional songs that can be downloaded online on the other systems. But if Wii is your console, you have no other choice for rock gaming anyway. And you don't need one. PS2, Xbox and Wii get pretty much the same on-screen package and plays basically the same-and that's very cool. Guitar Hero III is such a fun guitar-playing in-the-band experience that it may just convince your child that learning to play the guitar or another instrument is well worth it. And that's learning.

Don Oldenburg   ©2008 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

Look for this product at:
Major, Specialty & Online Retailers

Share This