GC09; Hands-on with DJ Hero
Skateboarding, BMX, rock climbing and turntablism to name but a few.
But now thanks to the nice people at Activision, it is possible once again to spin ‘the wheels of steel’ and sound like you actually know what you’re doing. Welcome to the world of DJ Hero.
Approaching the DJ Hero booth caused a slight air of trepidation, and a good number of butterflies, to appear. Not only would I be trying DJ Hero out, but I would be doing it in front of an audience. The booth was kitted out with a nice stand, an Activision rep who showed me the ropes and a girl who had the job of dancing to the ‘music’ and handing out Kanye West-style plastic sunglasses to anyone who had a go at the game.
The controller looks complex to begin with (or maybe that was just the nervousness kicking in), but you soon realise that there are only a few things you need to think about.
The turntable part of the deck has three buttons. You press these buttons along with the corresponding symbols as they cross the line on the screen, just like any Guitar Hero title. Sometimes, instead of a simple circle appearing, you’ll see an elongated section appear that is instructing you to scratch – i.e. move the turntable back and forth. Just hold the button and move your right arm – style points aren’t given for looking good, but it helps to keep the audience amused.
On the left side of the deck are the cross fader and the special effects tweak. The cross fader comes into play as the lines on the screen move left and right. You just move the fader left, leave it in the centre, or more it right in time with the lines on the screen changing track. Just like on a real two-deck setup, this changes the music to track 1, track 2 or a mixture of both.
Every now and then you’ll see an orange bar over all the notes on screen, and this is your cue to use the special effects tweaker for extra points.
There are other game mechanics we are sure are involved but weren’t shown on the day. For example, we did see another player ‘rewind’ the music to try a section over again. Whether you get a certain amount of rewinds, and whether they cost you valuable points, is unsure.
We also know that you’ll be able to pit deck vs. deck, but that DJ Hero will also support a deck and guitar combination.
One finishing our one-song set, the nice Activision rep told us that was one of the best scores of the day (which we’re sure he told everyone) and the nice Activision girl gave us the plastic sunglasses.
Knowing that DJ Hero is due to include some of this writer’s turntable favourites, such as DJ Yoda, DJ Jazzy Jeff and DJ Shadow, just makes the proposition all the more enticing.
It took around half of one song to get used to the controls, but once you have accustomed yourself to the movements needed, DJ Hero is not only huge fun to play but, as with Guitar Hero before it, makes you feel like you’re the real deal. Of course, the dancing girl and growing audience improved the atmosphere somewhat, so be sure to try and replicate that setup in your room when DJ Hero launches this October.