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Ugh, stop twitching
the guitar hero 4 drum kit
music Posted 2008-07-17 00:48:12 by Jim Crawford
Neversoft/Activision/RedOctane has attempted to one-up Harmonix's Rock Band drum kit by adding an additional input and using elevated cymbals in the drum kit for Guitar Hero 4. Having six inputs on the drums is nice, and having elevated cymbals is nice -- it sure looks a lot more like a real kit -- but I'm not so sure that it's going to actually provide a more authentic drumming experience. How would they handle something like Run to the Hills? First of all, the fill at the end of each section uses four toms and the GH4 kit only has three. No go. More generally, the position of the hihat is going to make 16th note patterns very difficult.

Check out the Santeria gameplay video. You can tell from the drum chart that the original drummer played with both hands on the hat, because he never plays the snare and the hat at the same time -- this is essentially the 16th note rock pattern with a 2:1 swing. Note that the guy playing the plastic drums plays the hihat with just one hand. Not easy to do, because of the rapid fire double hits, but within reason because of the swing and the low tempo. It wouldn't be within reason on Run to the Hills (or Orange Crush, or The Hand That Feeds, or Flirtin' With Disaster, or Everlong from Rock Band 2, or...)

The game has no choice but to ask you to play it that way. It can't do the pad swapping trick that Rock Band does because the hihat input is physically distinct from the snare input. It would be doable to bring your right hand down and hit the snare, which is the way you would play such a rhythm on a real drum kit. This would be a little awkward because of the physical layout, but I think the greater obstacle would be reading it; you'd need to mentally assign the leftmost (red) note gem to your right hand, and the right (yellow) note gem to your left hand.

The best solution I can think of would be to swap the onscreen positions of the yellow and red note gems during such patterns, which would require some explanation (and probably a mid-song signal, in some cases) and probably confuse and annoy people, probably to the extent that I suspect Neversoft would be unwilling to do it.

Another solution would be to just play the snare hits with your left hand, which would suck for a couple of reasons. One is that it will screw up people who want to move on to real drums. The other is that the right hand is trained to play eighth note patterns on the beat, which is where the snare usually falls in the rhythm. If you want to play the snare with the left hand, you'll need to play the on-beat hits with your left hand and the off-beat hits with the right, which is a lot less natural. And will screw up people who want to move on to real drums.
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