Joe Perry is absolutely killing it. He burns his way through “Draw the Line” as Steven Tyler dances fluidly next to him. Suddenly, his guitar catches fire, but rather than try to put him out, the crowd merely screams louder and eggs him on as the score increases exponentially.
Of course, this is merely a scenario from Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, the latest in the multimillion-selling franchise of video games that have changed the way fans and artists can interact. Guitar Hero: Aerosmith features more than forty songs, about sixty percent of which are Aerosmith tunes. They include a healthy mix of the band’s hits (“Sweet Emotion,” “Love in an Elevator”) and deep cuts (like “Uncle Salty” and “No Surprize”). The rest of the lineup is fleshed out by bands that have played with Aerosmith over their career, including Mott the Hoople (“All the Young Dudes”) and the Kinks (“All Day and All of the Night”). Each of the venues included in the game represents a stage the band has actually played, including the high school gymnasium where they had their first gig and a stunning recreation of the long-defunct Max’s Kansas City.
The band’s fingerprints are all over Guitar Hero: Aerosmith: Steven Tyler did all of his own motion capture work (he even let them capture his facial and lip movements; the close-ups are uncannily awesome) and every guitar in the game is a digital version of an instrument the band actually uses (the Joe Perry character has a different guitar for each song in the game). Even the menu pages are based around the rooms at the band’s studio/clubhouse Vindaloo, complete with candles and Tyler’s scarves. These details will let Aerosmith junkies geek out, but newcomers can get into the hits and also get exposed to old gems like “Make It.” Expect sales of Pandora’s Box to rise shortly after Guitar Hero: Aerosmith hits stores at the end of June.