Everything you need to know about Guitar Hero World Tour

... but were too afraid to ask!

Even more intriguing: The game's newfangled "advanced studio" mode lets you actually create your own music from scratch. I don't know if you're familiar with Apple's GarageBand, but it's the same basic idea, a simplified compositional tool that captures MIDI data (and in the case of the PS3 version, you can even plug in a MIDI-compatible computer) as entered, either note-by-note or in real-time.

"Great," you're probably saying, "but what'll that set me back?"

You've actually got a few options here. You can spring for the whole caboodle and take your wallet for a white-knuckle $190 spin. You can opt for just the "guitar kit" version for $100 which comes with, erm, just the guitar. Or you can grab the game all by it's lonesome for $60 and not a penny more if you don't mind using your existing plastic axe. That's right, World Tour is backwards compatible with older Guitar Hero peripherals (and even a few Rock Band and Rock Revolution controllers, or so rumor has it).

As for the track list, think...mellower. Who really wants to group-fumble through DragonForce's "Through the Fire and Flames" or Iron Maiden's "Number of the Beast" anyway? In World Tour, you'll be jamming to more tuneful stuff like The Guess Who's "American Woman" and Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" and Bob Seger's "Hollywood Nights." Somehow even Michael Jackson ("Beat It") and Wings ("Band on the Run") made it in.

Not to worry, the downloadable content's already stacked to the gills with Metallica and Ted Nugent and Oasis tracks, so it's not a total pop-fest, but then you wouldn't catch me dead listening to Rick Springfield's "Jesse's Girl," but I absolutely cannot wait to play it. Oh yeah, take note Wii owners, this is the first Guitar Hero game to finally support Wii download functionality.

Will it sell? That'd be where you come in, but it certainly looks like a deal-maker on paper, bound to ratchet up the profile of a rapidly growing idiom that's become a kind of second-market-for-musical-oldies phenomenon.

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Matt Peckham

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