Clone Hero Main Menu
The Clone Hero Main Menu

Guitar Hero is not a game I’ve thought about for quite some time. Back in their heyday, I bought practically every Guitar Hero (and later Rock Band) game that came out. Well, except the Nintendo DS version because it looked lame, and not Guitar Hero: Metallica because fuck those guys. My inner 16-year-old still harbors resentment from when they sued Napster.

The developers stopped making these games a couple of years ago, and as console generations came and went, they kind of fell out of my mind. That was until I watched The Completionist stream Dance Dance Revolution on Twitch. What he was playing, I think, was actually StepMania, a free dance rhythm game for PC, Mac, and Linux. StepMania is obviously based on DDR, and the community has released packs that contain the songs from many, if not all, of the DDR and DDR-like arcade and console games.

This immediately made me think back to Guitar Hero and Rock Band. I knew there must exist a project that tried to do the same thing for them—compiling all of the songs from the many games into an easy and free experience. I’m pretty sure there was an official way to import Rock Band songs into Rock Band 2, but beyond that, you had to switch game discs if you wanted to play other songs. I remembered being introduced to Frets on Fire years ago, but I think that was more or less its own thing and was made to be played with your computer’s keyboard. So, after a bit of googling, I turned up on Clone Hero.

Clone Hero is, as the title suggests, a clone of Guitar Hero. It was developed in Unity by “some idiots,” their words, not mine (select Credits from the main menu). The interface is heavily influenced by the Guitar Hero games with circular notes instead of the rectangular ones found in Rock Band. It is compatible with many guitar controllers, and the community has compiled this spreadsheet full of songs and setlists you can download for the game. You can get practically all the songs from the numerous Guitar Hero and Rock Band games and DLC. If you want to know which guitar controllers work, there is another spreadsheet for that. Who knew gamers had such an affinity for spreadsheets?

As you can imagine, after seeing all of this, I was elated to finally have the full-library Guitar Hero game I always wanted. But at the same time, utterly distraught because a few years ago, I threw out all of my guitar controllers during a move. So I took to eBay, and wow, the guitar controllers sure are more expensive than I thought.

I was lucky in that I bought an “untested” Xbox 360 Les Paul guitar controller for a pretty fair price, and it turned out that it actually worked! But, unfortunately, it was covered in stickers, and all the Goo Gone in the world couldn’t have removed them. I don’t know what super nano-material those pack-in stickers were made out of. So I sanded them off of the faceplate and just re-painted it matte black. I also needed to purchase an Xbox 360 Wireless Controller adapter to get it connected to my PC. Another thing I owned in the past and regretfully sold. Now that I’m fully kitted out, I’ve been having a lot of fun playing, although I am very rusty. If you were a Guitar Hero or Rock Band fan and still have one of the compatible controllers, I really suggest you download it and try it out.

Did you have a favorite song to play in any of the games? I was a big fan of playing the Coheed and Cambria songs in the original Rock Band, especially multiplayer.