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Music 3000

“I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes; then you’d know what a drag it is to see you” Bob Dylan

From an early age music has played an important part in my life, no thanks to my record-collecting hippie dad. At infant school I was playing air guitar to Day Tripper, knew the words to Hey Jude and used to jingle to Yellow Submarine whilst the others were learning nursery rhymes. Primary school days I would spend reciting lines from Summer Of ’69 and drumming Run To You by Bryan Adams. But it was secondary school where I had the pleasures of Oasis, (their third album Be Here Now was released on my 12th birthday) U2 and Blink 182 to name a few. Leaving school was probably the biggest day of my life, for now I was free of the people that were in love with pop. Sure, some it’s ok but I don’t like Spice Girls, S-Club 7, Steps or Blue, I was a lover of good music. The amount of times I got beatings for saying that Hear-say are a one-hit wonder (which they were!), but I was now free to walk round the streets of Watford with tape player in hand grooving to some Reggae track found on a scratched 25p album I bought at the car boot on the previous Sunday. Life was pure bliss until I discovered the delights of Hootie and the Blowfish and Foo Fighters.

“take what you need and be on your way and stop crying your heart out” Oasis

Where the problem lies for people like me is where on earth do you find the time to learn how to play like Eric Clapton? Most of us at Thunderbolt have full-time jobs, girlfriends, games to review and not enough hours to sleep, and synthesisers are far too expensive to buy. Well ever since the PSOne days a company called Jester have been developing the successful and appropriately named Music titles. The first released low-key onto the market and was discovered too late by many as the second, Music 2000 came along with flying banners, free doughnuts and £5 and hour room service. Well it might as well have done…

“tangled up in blue, I only want to be with you” Hootie and the Blowfish

Music was successful in the way you could create tracks. Beginners could select pre-made sounds and join them together whereas the more advanced players could delve into the world of making riffs, tampering with pause length and tempos and generally making music. Boosted with a simple interface, in-depth explanations of various sections this was a sure winner. And remember those wacky videos on channels such as MTV? You could create those too. Fading lights, weird graphics and beat-matching angles were all included making this the most complex music title to date. Thing was no matter how many sounds and instruments the developers added there was always a sample someone wanted that wasn’t included.

“why does it always rain on me?” Travis

In an age where almost every gadget is USB-compatible it was only a matter of time until something was released that could let us record our own samples. So sure enough, Jester released a USB microphone with its latest title Music 3000. Resisting the temptation to tape the fuzzy end to your arse and fart into it is almost non-existent, just make sure the folks at home are out. Unfortunately the first time you hear your voice played back brings back memories of your dismal performance at the disco you went to after watching Saturday Night Fever. This is where you realise you can’t sing a note without looking behind you for a cat being strangled. Playback is very clear indeed and you can mess about with your voice or tune afterwards to your hearts content. The ideas are limitless- attempt a full chorus of Wonderwall or sit back and give out one gut-wrenching burp, either way it sounds just like the samples pre-recorded for the game.

“Halo, god only knows, right behind me everywhere I go” Foo Fighters

Making a number one hit is just as simple- this time round Jester has included a tutorial which covers every aspect of song writing and video making known to man. This makes it so much easier to get to grips with Music 3000 than a manual would ever consider as you will come out knowing exactly which button does what. Selecting the sound library brings up a menu of riffs and samples listed under each music type- Indie, Metal, Pop, Garage, Hip Hop and Trance. Under each another list comes up with Bass, Melody, Vocals and Percussion. Drums include kick drum loops, hi-hat rallies and snare raps whilst Bass holds funky tunes along with a 4-sample section labelled Bob D (Dylan no doubt- these guys do have taste!). Click on the sample you want and place it on the music sheet, where you can change the structure and tempo amongst other things. Making a decent pop or indie track is possible at last as you can group together guitars and drum kits to bash out your tunes. A mate of mine even made a great take on Travis’ Driftwood, minus the out-of-tune vocals done by yours truly. The aim of the main creation mode is to find a style that you like and muck about with the ‘DNA’ to make the tune you like. The simplistic nature and laid-back style creates a comforting atmosphere where tension never reaches boiling point.

“I just want to dance the night away” The Mavericks

The same goes for making videos for all your hits. Selecting a background, changing the colour and speed, angles etc is so simple it’ll bring a tear to your eye. Within minutes amazing graphics will be flashing on-screen and make your songs look ‘puka’ as it were. Many pass off the opportunity of a few clips and leave the computer to generate a video. Fair do’s, but it’s so much more satisfying watching a film that you made yourself as you can go back and make changes accordingly.

To be quite honest it is quite hard reviewing a music game because they all have one thing in common- they make music! In reality a game which does what it is supposed to do is a direct 10/10 without question, which would mean every music creation title created would be the best around. What separates Music 3000 from the crowd is the simplicity of making groovy tunes and stylish videos in a relaxing environment whilst being complex enough to allow advanced users to get their teeth into it.

A very enjoyable experience at a below-par price (£29.99 when going to press) with the most anticipated device for years. At just £17.99 the USB microphone is at a good price for anyone to afford and complements the game well.

Anyone looking for a fresh experience would feel at home here as would music lovers alike.

9 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Senior Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in June 2002.

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