MTV Music Generator 3 may not be a game in the truest sense, but that doesn't mean it won't hold your interest. As one of the few creative titles for the home consoles, MTV's beauty isn't in what ships with the game but what you can make with it.
In its most basic form, samples are like the audio equivalent of LEGO bricks. Self contained beats; samples can be assembled by dropping them into the mixing program and then playing the resulting file. Arranging samples chronologically allows for a simple song, while a more complex piece can be created by placing multiple samples on different tracks at the same point in the timeline.
Experienced song writers will no doubt want to start with a blank slate - and the game allows you to do so - but beginners will find the remix mode a much friendlier option. In this mode (accessible from the main screen) you can choose one of 10 well-known songs from artists such as OutKast, Krafty Kuts or Carl Cox to load into the mixer.
Once you are familiar with moving samples around in the main remix interface, you can start the studio with a blank slate. This gives you a freedom that simply isn't present when you are remixing someone else's work. The one limitation on studio mode has to do with the sample banks. You have to choose one of the 10 songs as an overall style, and you can only use samples that fit said style.
Experienced mixers will no doubt be frustrated by this, however the limitation is in place for a very good reason - timing. All the samples that are in a track library are matched for tempo. Mixing samples of different tempos requires a lot of skill and by keeping things limited, the developers ensured that beginners would not be overwhelmed.
If the included samples are not complex enough for you to play with, you can create some of your own with the built-in ripping applet. This will load up any song stored on the Xbox hard drive or rip one from your own audio CDs and allow you to clip a certain section. Because there is no easy way to output your creations (an option to copy a mix to the Xbox hard drive as a custom soundtrack would have been HIGHLY appreciated) you can only listen to them from within the game. But if you wish to output your tracks to CD or MP3, you have to connect your console to a PC.
Creating music is a challenging task, but the MTV Music Generator 3 makes it possible for anyone to produce listenable tunes in short order. No, it will not replace a professional sampler and remixing program for the PC, but for a casual user the provided tools are more than enough to get things done and the ease of use cannot be beat.
SCORE CARDVisuals: Easy to understand at a glance
Audio: Excellent mixing capabilities
Gameplay: Intuitive interface, ease of use
Developer: Mix Max