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Guitar Hero III: Legends Of Rock Review

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For those about to rock, we salute you...

★★★★

After the uninspiring hair-metal mishmash of GH: Rocks The 80s - and with EA's promising multi-instrument behemoth Rock Band on the horizon - it looked like it could be game over for Guitar Hero. But with a soundtrack that will reduce everyone from hoary old punks to leather-studded rockers to paroxysms of joy, Legends Of Rock comes tantalisingly close to rhythm-action perfection. Close, but not quite close enough...

While little has changed in terms of the gameplay basics - and despite the development reigns being handed over to Tony Hawk's Pro Skater studio, Neversoft - what makes LOR ludicrously addictive is its dizzying selection of tracks; from the irresistible shred of the Pistols' Anarchy In The UK to the finger-tangling riffs of Dragonforce's Through Fire And Flames, the third GH has something for every rock fan and boasts the most thrilling soundtrack of any rhythm game ever published. The fact that most of the tracks are recorded by the original artists rather than shoddy cover bands also makes for a more exciting experience, and the chance to take the action online and challenge other players around the world using the snazzy new wireless controller helps make LOR an undisputable party classic.

However, while series devotees will appreciate GHIII's increased difficulty, newbies may be put off by the bewildering advanced tracks that require superhuman skills on the fretboard. The new battle mode that sees players hurling special attacks such as amplifier overloads at each other also lacks the compelling buzz of the traditional game as most of the skirmishes are over in a matter of seconds, and the boss battles against rock gods such as Slash and Tom Morello feel redundant as the notorious axe-wielders are actually a cinch to beat.

But even with its flaws, the chance to crunch out the Stones' Paint It Black, Metallica's One and the Dead Kennedy's Holiday In Cambodia (Jello Biafra must be spitting nails!) make GHIII unmissable.

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