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Online Jamming

Sony's AMPLITUDE has James movin' to the beat

By James Stevenson     February 21, 2003


AMPLITUDE
© 2003 Sony

I wasn't really sure what I was going to end up writing this column about I've been super busy over the past couple of weeks with school projects, and haven't had much time to play any video games. That all changed yesterday when the latest build of Sony's AMPLITUDE crossed my desk. Within moments I had the game booted up and was enjoying the new boot-up sequence, vast collection of new music, and online gameplay. But mainly it's been all about the online play.


I guess I would love to talk about some of the music in the game but a vast majority of it is still unannounced and I can't reveal any of it here. As a fan of rock music though, I'm pretty pleased with the selection. What I can say is that Blink 182's "The Rock Show", Weezer's "Dope Nose", The Crystal Method's remix of P.O.D.'s "Boom" and Freezepop's "Super Sprode" are just the beginning of an excellent track assortment. I don't want to go too in-depth into the game but the music itself makes the game all the more enjoyable.


While the game has had many other improvements the biggest is the online play. I jumped on last night and began trying to find games against the few other people who currently have online builds. I finally managed to hook up with someone and play a couple of songs in the normal versus mode. You can get up to four people playing and my opponent quickly wanted to go up to the "Brutal" difficulty level. It's really amazing how fluid the game moves considering how important timing is in a rhythm/music game. I'm playing on broadband but from what I've been told, the game is very dial-up friendly.


That leads in today: I had a chance to get a few three-player games in, I was playing with a pair of Sony PR reps, Heather and Ryan. We logged onto the server and got into quite a few good games. The multiplayer

AMPLITUDE

becomes a bit more difficult with three people I can only imagine four good players playing at the same time. Strategy on which tracks to hit and when to use power-ups becomes even more powerful. Your not-so-humble correspondent managed to win every game he played against the Sony reps (Sorry Heather!) but is positive of a certain humbling coming this weekend from other journalists.


There's also a remix mode and a "dueling banjos"-style mode. The remix mode allows you to remix the songs included in the game which is actually pretty cool if you have some sort of musical talent. I haven't tried the duel mode yet but I'm looking forward to it.


AMPLITUDE is currently set to release on March 25th, so when you're picking up a copy of THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: THE WIND WAKER you should probably pick up AMP too. Look for our full review next month.


TIDBITS


Gunpei Yopoi, the creator of the Game Boy, will be honored with the Game Developers Conference Lifetime Achievement Award... MechAssault online content has finally been released... Square and Electronic Arts have terminated their publishing agreement...


ON SHELVES

Lots of good stuff coming out this week: INDIANA JONES AND THE EMPEROR'S TOMB, MASTER OF

INDIANA JONES AND THE EMPEROR'S TOMB

ORION III
, XENOSAGA, and KUNG FU CHAOS. Depending on your tastes, all of these games will probably satisfy you.

Gamers' Thumb is our weekly Video Game column.

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