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Play rocking good stuff from the 80s; Bitz.

Byline: Ewan Ross

Guitar Hero: Rocks The 80s (Activision, PS2, pounds 29.99 - not inlcuding guitar accessory)

THERE are certain games that need no work to make them better.

Guitar Hero (pictured bottom), on its first release, delivered such a workable formula, that each successive part has never really needed change-just new music to keep the fans happy.

Now the archetypal music game is back - and this time the 80s have been given the limelight.

Guitar Hero, in case you've never played this before, is a co-ordination game which requires you to press buttons to match fret 'notes' which pass by on screen.

With the help of a plastic guitar you also have to strum and pick the numbers so you fill in the guitar track for the song.

Depending on your success, the crowd either loves you or hates you.

Yes, you can reach the heights of Joe Satriani-blasting out numbers on stage as the crowds go wild. Or you can bomb worse than Black Lace at a hillbilly barn dance.

It's all about timing and, as the difficulty rises, the closer the challenges actually resemble proper timing of the song.

Guitar Hero: Rock The 80s hasn't sacrificed any of the original magic and will undoubtedly be a huge success - if only that it gives the original fans the chance to dust off the plastic guitar and strum along to a few new tracks.

Extra features such as head-to-head and the credits system - which allows you to buy new guitarists and songs - also help to inject a bit more longevity to the game.

But no game is without a niggle and this game does have a small one.

The present generation of gamers, who were born after the magic of Bros and Rick Astley, will probably be unfamiliar with the fringe and mullet rock scene of the 80s.

In fact, I was a little puzzled by a few of the choices myself until I finally saw a Police number in the track selection. But this is taking away from what is probably one of the most entertaining games you can buy for the consoles.

The air guitar of the Spinal Tap-esque rock era has been reborn for a new generation. Time to get the hair lacquer and the ripped jeans out...

RATING - 9/10: Pieces of 80s Blue Dragon (Mistwalker, Xbox 360, pounds 49.99)

ASA massive RPG fan, my eyes lit up when Microsoft announced the release of Blue Dragon (pictured top). A Japanese role playing game that featured the talent of Hironobu Sakaguchi (of Final Fantasy fame) and Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball Z) was too much to resist throwing hours into.

Blue Dragon also fills a huge gap in the next generation market - as the Japanese RPG genre has never really been touched on by Microsoft. So, all boxes ticked then...

The game involves three heroes: Shu, Jiro and Kluke who are training to be warriors. After their village is attacked by monsters, the three are forced into a war and take the fight to an evil encroaching on their lands.

Yes it's cliched, the story is older than tatty boots and even the battle system is same-y - but stick with it and the game starts to bear fruit. Most notably with the customisable abilities for each of your warriors.

It's about time that a company took up the challenge of trying to bring a Japanese RPG to the Xbox 360. This is no easy task either-especially since Oblivion set the benchmark for the RPG. So how does Blue Dragon measure up? One word: linear - which is unexpected after two prodigal geniuses both had carte blanche with this title.

RATING: 7/10 - Flying high
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 17, 2007
Words:617
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