I am the walrus: Beatles Rock Band launches.

Let me give a big thank you to Neversoft and Harmonix. You two fine companies give me a free article every two months or so. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, guess what two IPs are coming out with new games this fall?

That's right parents of kids with already too much money in plastic instruments, Guitar Hero 5 and Rock Band: Beatles are set to release in the coming weeks.

So why in the heck do you have to buy even more games and instruments for an already overgrown genre of titles? Well, there are new features, per se, and new songs. I'll discuss each game below and then you can decide whether or not it's worth it.

Guitar Hero 5: (Wii, X360, PS3) Rated T for Teen
http://gh5.guitarhero.com/about.php

First off, the link above skips the intro video with the naked people covered in censor bars dancing around the screen. Consider it a free gift from the guy who cares.

This time around, Guitar Hero has added a new feature which allows you to play with any combination of instruments with party play mode. Want to rock out with four guitars? Can do. Two drums and two microphones? Can do that too. A neat feature I guess, but really, what's the point?

Secondly, on the Wii version you can rock out with your Mii in song creator mode and on the 360 you can play in any mode using your Xbox avatar (with the addition of purchasable avatar instruments via Xbox marketplace). You also can import all of your downloaded songs from GH: World Tour right into GH5.

GH5 also adds the drop in/drop out feature allowing players to jump in and out of the game seamlessly without disrupting gameplay. In GH5 you can rock out to 85 new songs by 83 artists using all the instruments you already own and thank goodness for that! Also, for a limited time you can get a copy of Guitar Hero: Van Halen with purchase of GH5 (see website for details).


Rock Band: Beatles (Wii, X360, PS3) Rated T for Teen
www.thebeatlesrockband.com

I'm actually pretty stoked about this title seeing as I'm a huge Beatles fan, but let me give you some downsides before I talk about how awesome this game will be.

First and foremost, Rock Band: Beatles is a standalone title. No songs you have previously downloaded will be able to be imported over. Unlike other Rock Band extra titles (Rock Band: AC/DC), you can't import the song list onto your hard drive for use inside Rock Band 1 or Rock Band 2. Kind of sucks I know, but now on to the upsides!

In Rock Band: Beatles you start out as a young John, Paul, George and Ringo who are just starting off as a musical group playing gigs like the historic Cavern Club. As you progress throughout the game you move on to the Ed Sullivan Show, Shea Stadium, etc. Your song lists coincide with the era of The Beatles along with your stage outfits, instruments and infamous looks of the Beatles (i.e. the Bowl Cut days). As you hit certain points in the song library you'll hit cinematic events from Beatles history such as an animated Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band video in the background, the black and white Ed Sullivan Show intro, walking out onto the stage of Shea, etc.

I'm completely excited about playing through the Beatles library chronologically; even more for the history of the group and watching them evolve. But here's the kicker: In Rock Band: Beatles, microphones are supported along with the instruments, meaning you can sing in three part harmony -- Beatles style! The game drops on 9/9/09 (as I've mentioned a thousand times on here).

As I'm sure you can see, the Guitar Hero and Rock Band lines just keep coming out with more and more titles. Look around, do the research, and only buy it if you must, not just because your music game addicted small ones demand it.

Until next time, play on!