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pendelton21 avatar 11:40 AM on 11.06.2008  (server time)
Level-Headed: Ye Olde Royal Odeon

This might come as a shock to some people, but, I actually like Guitar Hero and Rock Band for reasons more than just music. Yeah, I know, I know, the music is the main draw, but, for some reason, I’m also rather enamored with the venues you play in. Yes, smart-ass, I know you can’t really see the venues while you play. But, in Guitar Hero 3, they did something I thought was pretty cool; they made much more cinematic venues. Whenever an encore would come up, something drastic would change in the level, whether a UFO came from space to shine a light on you, or the cops raided the party you were at. Nowhere is this more apparent than in GH3’s coolest venue, and the focus of this week’s Level-Headed, Ye Olde Royal Odeon.

The best (and only pic) I could find of this amazing stage.

Of course, when talking about anything GH-related, the songs must be mentioned first. And the Odeon doesn’t disappoint. The London stage’s set, under the moniker of “European Invasion,” comes with 2 of the best English-made songs in existence, “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath, and “Anarchy in the U.K.” by The Sex Pistols. Then, following those up, some (oddly enough) non-European, but still awesome, songs, “Kool Thing” by Sonic youth, and, one of my favorite songs in the game, “My Name Is Jonas” by Weezer. And, finally, the encore doesn’t disappoint, giving us “Even Flow” by Pearl Jam.

Now, while the music is fantastic, I wanna look at the actual aesthetics of the venue. The Odeon is a giant theater (or theatre) where you would stereotypically go to see an opera. You're surrounded by unnecessarily large and numerous stacks of amps, perfect for blasting heads to the back of the venue, if need be. Also, on the stage, the band's supported by an awesome animatronic dragon and shining white knight, who battles the dragon throughout the set list. At first, it doesn’t look like much; the knight sways back and forth, swinging its axe, while the dragon whips his head around and opens his mouth from time to time. Then, the encore begins.

Due to rocking so hard, the robotic knight malfunctions, and actually chops off the dragons head, which is pretty damn awesome. Not content with just letting the stage decorations upstage him/her, you character then MOUNTS the newly-shorn dragon’s head to rock out Even Flow. The best part is, once you finish the level, you can come back to it in Quick play, and play any encore from previous stages in the level to get the same effect, but with a better song (might I suggest “Paint It Black”?).

I remember watching an interview with one of the GH3 game designers a while back, saying that they had more of a focus on the venues in the 3rd iteration of the series. Ye Olde Royal Odeon shows the kind of dedication and work they put in to make an amazing venue. And I, for one, appreciate it.

Here's a video of someone rocking out 'Paranoid" at the Odeon:

The Homerun of Death (Illbleed)
Waluigi's Island (Mario Party 3)
Report 5: Evil In The Galaxy Revealed! (Space Channel 5)
Fort Frolic (Bioshock)
Airport 1001 (Mega Man X)
Crescent Isle (Skies of Arcadia)
Chainsaw Hedgemaze Mayhem (Zombies Ate My neighbors)
Temple Of Ice (LoZ: Phantom Hourglass)

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