Beatles Rock Band
Beatles Rock Band helped to make 2009 a great year for the Beatles and their legacy. They were named the biggest selling artists of the decade and the launch of "The Beatles: Rock Band" on September 9, 2009 for PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360 introduced the group to a whole new fan base. To top off a stellar year, the game received great reviews from critics and loads of enthusiasm from the public. More than half a million units were sold in the first month alone.
For those who haven't heard, Beatles Rock Band is a music video game that lets players sing and jam along with the Beatles using fake music instruments. While this may not sound like a winning premise, much of its success is owed to Harmonix Music Systems which did a truly phenomenal job in bringing the Beatles to life on the video game screen - something that could be described as nothing less than a miracle of the modern age for those of us who still remember Atari.
Beatles Rock Band's soundtrack consists of 45 Beatles songs but, thankfully, doesn't overwhelm you with their biggest radio hits but digs deep into the Beatles catalog to give players a true sample of the group's range and singular talent. Additional songs and albums can even be downloaded from the game's website.
Those who know the Rock Band series of video games will feel at home with Beatles Rock Band. The controllers are compatible with other Rock Band games, even though the content isn't.
Harmonix built the game from scratch, incorporating some features not seen before. There is a three-part vocal system, with microphone game controllers. A “pitch line” is shown for songs with harmonies, and players receive points for accuracy in reproducing the vocals.
While current Rock Band controllers can be used with the Beatles Rock Band console, new peripherals were released with the game, including a version of the Rickenbacker 325, the Gretsch Duo Jet, the Höffner bass, and Ludwig drums. On the guitar and bass controllers, colored buttons simulate frets. The drum controller has a series of colored drumheads and a pedal.
As many as six people can play at once. Notes scroll across a screen. Like other Rock Band games, a “performance meter” keeps track of a players’ accuracy and if it drops to zero, the player, well, sucks and is out of the song.
The “overdrive” function is called “Beatlemania” in Beatles Rock Band and is a particularly cool feature. It allows players to rescue other players from getting the boot.
Game play modes are similar to those in other Rock Band versions, including local and online play. One mode follows the Beatles’ story from their earliest hits right through to the end, literally. Competitive and practice or training modes are also available.
Some of the audio, like band chatter on certain tracks, had never been previously released. The game includes several different venues, including the Cavern Club, The Ed Sullivan Show and Abbey Road Studios among others. The amazing “Dreamscape” sequences are used for 20 of the song sets.
Game developers had the blessing and support of the two surviving Beatles, Ringo Starr and Sir Paul McCartney. George Martin’s son Giles contributed to the effort by working on new remasters of Beatles’ songs for the highest possible sound quality. And, Dhani Harrison, George’s son, is credited with being the force behind bringing Harmonix and Apple Corps together.
Before the Beatles Rock Band, no original song by the Beatles had ever been featured in a Guitar Hero or other video game. Apple Corps evidently agreed that the Harmonix proposal was a good way to for The Beatles to memorize yet another generation of music fans. The release was timed to coincide with the release of the complete CD remasters of all the Beatles Albums.
Beatles Rock Band is published by MTV Games and distributed by Electronic Arts.
Click here for a complete list of Beatles Rock Band songs.