Rock Band keeps The Beatles’ music alive for another generation

Home 2009 Archive Rock Band keeps The Beatles’ music alive for another generation

Wade Manns – The Corsair

The Beatles: Rock Band
by EA, MTV Games and Harmonix with the cooperation of Apple Corps
Genre: Music
Players: up to 4 locally or via Xbox LIVE
Rating: T for Mild Lyrics, Tobacco Reference

The Beatles is one of my favorite bands of all time. That magical combination of four boys from Liverpool (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison) has appealed to many generations since the early 60s and onward, even until this day.

It surely took long enough for a game to be based upon the Beatles’ music. But, fortunately a framework to bring their music to a whole new generation came into being two years ago: Rock Band.

Building on the success of Guitar Hero, Rock Band expanded the selection of usable game controllers to include a bass guitar, drums, and vocals via a microphone. This allowed for much more social interaction in the form of people working together closely to ensure that their band mates did not fail, and making a better sound overall.

Now, almost 2 years later, the late George Harrison’s son, Dhani, expressed an interest in his father’s and his father’s friends’ work being brought forward so that younger people could enjoy it; he worked with executives at Harmonix to make such a goal possible.

The result is The Beatles: Rock Band. It contains a story mode, similar to previous games’ career mode, that follows the exploits of the Beatles from their early days in the Cavern Club up through the Abbey Road studios and beyond. The Beatles’ time on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964, in Shea Stadium in 1965, and other memorable venues in different eras, are reproduced with typically nostalgic quality, complete with muted flesh tones that would be appropriate for the TVs of that time. Conversely, the Abbey Road studio recordings are accompanied by some of the most bright, flashy, psychedelic imagery you will ever see in a videogame.

Like the other games in the series, the guitar and drums take a great deal of personal coordination as well as coordination with your band mates to synchronize perfectly for the ultimate show. However, there’s a new twist with the vocals: you can now have up to three parts so as to reproduce the famous Beatles harmonies, which are heard in so many of their classics.

As before, a special mode, known as Overdrive in previous games, but called Beatlemania in this one, allows players to save their band mates from failure, boost their score, and raise the overall score of their band.

I didn’t really think I would be into music games such as this, but it turns out I am. I would gladly recommend this to anyone looking for a good time and who can scrounge up a few friends to play with, or who just wants to practice his or her singing talents alone. The lack of an ability to import songs from other games in the Rock Band series is a downer, but overall it helps keep the slate pure; we don’t expect the Beatles to sing anything other than their songs, and that’s what we get. I’m giving this game five stars.