IGN Review of Rolling Stone: Drum King
Believe it or not, the success of Rock Band and Guitar Hero has been spawning a never-ending amount of clones and copycat games over the years. Can you imagine that? We've seen everything from a full-blown Konami effort with Rock Revolution, the respawn of Samba De Amigo by SEGA, and Battle of the Bands by THQ. Out of all those "me too" efforts though, I can't say I've personally played one worse than 505's Rolling Stone: Drum King for Wii. Guitar Hero inspired look? Sounds good, sure. Crappy cover band? Oh no… that's not a good start. Wii-mote and nunchuk-only controls? We're not sure how you'd really… Wait… Emulated off of Wii Music's drum set mode? Oh screw this…
Rolling Stone: Drum King takes 30 classic songs and five venues and tosses you into the star roll of a lead drummer. You create your rocker, bring a no-named band along for the ride, and move from arena to area unlocking songs, locales, and accessories with continuous play. From the beginning it seems like Rolling Stone could in fact be a competent copycat off a successful franchise – you've got songs like The Final Countdown, We Will Rock You, and In Too Deep at the forefront - but that soon demolishes in front of your eyes. You've got full pointer control for menus, a solo or vs. play option, what appears to be a tutorial, a full-on gig mode (your career offering), create-a-drummer mode, and a few other quick options. The game even runs in true 16:9 with no black bars.
Don't get too excited though, as it's all downhill from there. The entire game emulates the Wii Music drum set mode, meaning that instead of having any peripheral or alternate way of playing it's all about holding different buttons and swinging the WIi-mote and nunchuk (or two Wii-motes) in tune. The problem here? Well, not only is that not fun in the least, but it's also a train wreck of info for any newcomers. The game's basic mode divides the A button and two motions for the entire control scheme, but move up to the middle or advanced modes and you've got six different lanes to watch, each either controlled by button, button and motion, or motion and d-pad. In a seriously confusing move, both the medium and hard modes have the same number of lanes, but medium (called Drum King) is actually three motions with buttons, but then three lanes that all look identical. The catch here is that you can use the same motion for all three lanes, but wait… if you can use the same motion, why have three lanes for the notes to fall down? Is that just so you don't have to make three different versions of each song, and only two (easy and medium/hard)?
To add to the odd-ness, when using a nunchuk and Wii-mote you actually hold the remote in your left hand, meaning that everyone is essentially playing lefty flip. I tried to find a way to switch that around in the options, and had no success. Instead, I opted to use the two Wii-mote mode, which actually worked better for hit recognition (the nunchuk just isn't reliable for drum taps) and felt better in my hands. Why you can't flip this is beyond me though. I'd assume it's again because more in-game icons track lanes would have to be moved around, and this is obviously low budget and quick out the door.
Even if you do get comfortable with the "pat your head, rub your belly" control scheme – it's possible, but I wouldn't waste the time honestly – there's just no real rewarding moments within the game. All the music you're tapping to is done by a cover band and not master track recordings, and the cover band makes no real attempt to sound like the band they're covering. It's pretty painful. On-screen you don't get much to look at either. Sure, you've got the expected lightning bolts, pass/fail meter, and combo counter (anything that's from Guitar Hero/Rock Band is fair play these days) but the actual band just offers nothing outside of the total basics. The drummer on-screen just taps away at his own rhythm, hitting a random mix of cymbals, hi/low tams, bass, and snare, and nothing matches up in the slightest. The game's interface isn't bad, but when you mix some random controls with a cruddy cover band and no attempt at any real band immersion it's obvious that this is a waste of time and money compared to what you could invest in on Wii.
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