Music games seem to be increasingly popular on consoles and Amplitude, follow up to the popular Frequency, is the latest thing to hit the PlayStation 2. Amplitude is set is a quasi-virtual-DJ-paradise cyberspace environment, with you at the controls. The aim of the game is to basically make music, by reconstructing the different layers of songs. For example, if you take a simple track, you might have drums, bass, guitar and vocals. Amplitude splits up the songs, and you mix 'em back together
Hard to visualise? Try this. You fly your DJ blaster along the song track blasting as you go. A good sense of rhythm is needed to hit the right places with the right blaster. Confused? Then you'll have to play the game. Rather like the dancing games, getting the right rhythm and sequence is important as you skip from one music line to another. So, you fly along the track, you blast along the drum line, hitting the correct nodes, each releasing the contained sound as you go. Once you complete a section, that track continues automatically for a time, whilst you skip to the bass and do the same. Most songs begin with some form of introduction - and if your timing is good, you can effectively play the track as it is meant to sound.
It sounds complicated, and to a certain extent it is. It requires coordination, rhythm and lots of fingers - then you get all the right noises. Your energy level depends on correctly activating parts of a track, and reaching checkpoints. Of course, you start with a few music tracks and as you progress, more open up for you to - literally - play. Starting with Garbage and moving onto POD, I was pleased that it was real music, not just failed Sony Music bands (some people will probably argue that this is the case!). The POD track is a Crystal Method remix, so has many layers - synth, bass, guitar, vocals, drums, more drums, beeps, laser noises and the rest. If you fancy it, you can just stick to the good stuff. I liked the heavy guitar part, so just stuck with that and the drums and while I eventually failed, it was good to be allowed the chance to experiment.
There are many different levels to make Amplitude more difficult - and it really does get difficult. When you've finished mastering it you can play multiplayer against friends or online, but is that more fun? I'm not so sure. I have a feeling that now the online phenomenon is upon us, more and more games will have online functions, even if they don't add enjoyment to a game.
Overall, this game has to be the weirdest game I've ever played. I am more of an action adventure person, but there is something simple and addictive about this game and the uptake on things like this is always good. If you are a Frequency fan, then this is more of the same but much better, and a must have. If you enjoy other music games, then Amplitude is certainly worth a look.