DJ HeroDJ Hero is a music video game, developed by FreeStyleGames and published by Activision as a rhythm game spin-off of the Guitar Hero franchise. It was released on October 27, 2009 in North America and on October 29, 2009 in Europe. The game is based on turntablism, the act of creating a new musical work from one or more previously recorded songs using record players and sound effect generators, and features 94 remixes of two different songs from a selection of over 100 different songs across numerous genres.
To score points, the player must press buttons to activate accented beats, adjust their crossfade between the two songs, and "scratch" the turntable on the game's custom controller in time to marks that scroll on the screen to score points and perform well for the virtual crowd. The game features both a single player Career mode and cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes. The game also features a mode for selected songs for a DJ player to play alongside another player using a Guitar Hero guitar controller. Many DJ and mix artists have contributed to the game both in the game's development, the creation of mixes, and in lending their images for playable avatars in the game; these including DJ Shadow, Z-Trip, DJ AM, Grandmaster Flash, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Daft Punk.
DJ Hero was generally well received by game journalists, praising the departure from the Guitar Hero series-style of gameplay, the use of the turntable controller to simulate the motions of a DJ and how the game's difficulty curve helps the player to become skilled on it, and the game's soundtrack; several smaller issues were identified as potential improvements for a possible sequel. However, the game did not perform as strongly as expected by industry analysts, believed to be due to the waning interest in music games during 2009; regardless, DJ Hero is stated by NPD Group to be the highest-grossing new intellectual property of 2009 in North America.
DJ Hero GameplayDJ Hero primarily simulates turntablism, a musical style used by disc jockeys to create a new mashup song by incorporating one or more previously recorded songs played on record players along with sound effect generators. The game features score attack gameplay similar to the Guitar Hero games. The controller consists of a wireless deck consisting of a movable turntable that supports 3 "stream" buttons, an effects dial, a crossfader, and a "Euphoria" button; a hidden panel contains additional controller buttons to interact with the gaming console outside of the game. A portion of the controller can be detached and reattached to adapt the unit for left-handed players. Notes travel in an arc across a spinning record on screen, and the player holds down one of the 3 stream buttons to play notes; two buttons reflect the two songs used in that particular mix, and the third represents samples to add to the mix which can be adjusted with the effects dial. The player must also constantly adjust the crossfader to match onscreen symbols, which alters the relative volume of the songs as to bring one song to the forefront of the mix for a short time. Certain tracks are shown on screen as a series of up or down arrow, representing scratching sections, requiring the player to turn the turntable in the direction of the arrows while holding down the button to score points, mimicking the scratching of the record needle on vinyl albums. "Euphoria" is equivalent to Guitar Hero's Star Power, collected by successfully completing specific phrases in the song mix, called Perfect Regions, and can be released by pressing the Euphoria button, doubling the player's current multiplier as well as automatic crossfading when active. There is also a "Rewind" meter that builds through consistent successful playing, and once full, allows the player to rewind the song to fix errors in their performance. The player must continue to perform well or their performance meter will drop and the music track will cut out. Failing the song is not possible, unlike in Guitar Hero games.
A single player career mode is available, as well both competitive and cooperative multiplayer modes ("DJ vs DJ"), playable locally or remotely. Ten songs have been specially mixed to also support gameplay with Guitar Hero and other compatible guitar controllers in a "DJ vs Guitar" mode. Players can also use a microphone for a non-scoring addition to the mix. A Party Play mode allows the game to automatically play the songs with the ability for a player to jump in and play at any time.
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