Guitar Hero was still on top of the world in June of 2009, so it made sense that Activision would continue pumping out title after title. Enter Guitar Hero: Smash Hits (Guitar Hero: Greatest Hits in Europe and Australia), the 2nd game in the series released in 2009, and in the eyes of many casual fans the turning point against the Guitar Hero franchise.
Smash Hits featured 49 of the most popular (and obtainable) tracks from Guitar Hero, Guitar Hero II, Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s, Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, and Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, many of which were now appearing as master tracks and, for the first time, playable in a full band setting. Massive artists like Queen, Avenged Sevenfold, and KISS were mixed in with smaller fan favourites like The Sword, Helmet, and Priestess. And of course, no collection of Smash Hits would be complete without the song synonymous with Guitar Hero: Through the Fire and Flames.
The venues in the game were all based on Wonders of the World with players being able to play in the Amazon Rain Forest, the Grand Canyon, Polar Ice Caps, the London Sewerage System, The Sphinx, The Great Wall of China, Atlantis, and Québec City. The idea behind this was that Guitar Hero: Smash Hits would allow you to play The Greatest Songs in The Greatest Places.
Reception to the game was average at best with a lot of criticism being directed at the fact that no meaningful gameplay changes were made from Guitar Hero: Metallica, as well as the fact that the songs were all repeated from other games. In addition, many hardcore players weren’t happy with the re-charting of songs like Through the Fire and Flames (made easier by replacing the HOPOs with tap notes), and Raining Blood (with the closing lightning strike being charted to the series’ first every five note-chord).
The nature of Smash Hits means that it took some of the most well known and beloved songs from franchise history. As such, of the 49 song setlist there are currently a whopping 36 playable in Rocksmith 2014. This gives us 73% total completion, the highest percentage we’ve seen yet in Setlist Sunday.
|Artist||Song||Date in Rocksmith|
|Aerosmith||Back in the Saddle||N/A|
|Alice in Chains||Them Bones||11/12/2013|
|Anthrax||Caught in a Mosh||03/24/2015|
|Avenged Sevenfold||Beast and the Harlot||10/22/2013|
|Blue Öyster Cult||Godzilla||06/26/2012|
|Boston||More Than a Feeling||11/15/2011|
|Deep Purple||Smoke on the Water||11/15/2011|
|The Donnas||Take It Off||03/08/2016|
|DragonForce||Through the Fire and Flames||10/24/2017|
|The Exies||Hey You||N/A|
|Extreme||Play With Me||04/19/2016|
|Foo Fighters||Monkey Wrench||11/18/2014|
|Franz Ferdinand||Take Me Out||10/18/2011|
|Helmet||Unsung (Live in Chicago)||9/11/2018*|
|Iron Maiden||The Trooper||10/22/2013|
|Joan Jett & the Blackhearts||I Love Rock and Roll||N/A|
|Judas Priest||Electric Eye||04/19/2016 **|
|Kansas||Carry on Wayward Son||02/18/2013|
|KISS||Rock and Roll All Nite *||10/22/2013|
|Lamb of God||Laid to Rest||07/29/2014|
|Living Colour||Cult of Personality *||03/05/2013|
|Lynyrd Skynyrd||Free Bird||11/01/2011|
|Mötley Crüe||Shout at the Devil||12/15/2015|
|Ozzy Osbourne||Bark at the Moon||N/A|
|Pantera||Cowboys from Hell (Live)||12/04/2012 ***|
|Pat Benatar||Hit Me with Your Best Shot||06/26/2012|
|The Police||Message in a Bottle||03/01/2012|
|Poison||Nothin’ But a Good Time||10/21/2014|
|Queens of the Stone Age||No One Knows||06/02/2015|
|Rage Against the Machine||Killing in the Name||12/09/2014|
|RATT||Round and Round||10/22/2013|
|The Reverend Horton Heat||Psychobilly Freakout||N/A|
|Stone Temple Pilots||Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart||02/05/2019|
|The Sword||Freya *||N/A|
|Twisted Sister||I Wanna Rock *||02/07/2017|
|White Zombie||Thunder Kiss ’65||10/22/2013|
NOTE: While Smoke on the Water is an original recording, the version used in Rocksmith uses an alternate take of the guitar solo.
* Denotes a re-recorded version of the track.
** Denotes that the track does not contain the intro.
*** Denotes the studio version of the track in Rocksmith.
As for choosing what songs we’d like to see in Rocksmith, we figured that in the spirit of Smash Hits, we should just mention again songs we mentioned in previous Setlist Sunday articles. Here are the nine we’d still like to see in Rocksmith 2014!
Aerosmith – Back in the Saddle
Originally featured in Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, definitely put this one in the category of “should have been in the first pack”, Back in the Saddle is one of the most beloved Aerosmith tracks. Featuring a great riff throughout (an overarching theme with Aerosmith songs) and a great solo, this one is sure to be a blast to play.
DragonForce – Through the Fire and Flames
Originally featured in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, you thought Play with Me was hard? One of the hardest songs in rhythm game history, few songs are as synonymous with the genre as Through the Fire and Flames. And before you think that this wouldn’t work in a game with real guitars, remember that this was available as DLC for Rock Band 3. With Pro-Guitar/Bass. Just imagine how impressive you’d be to your friends if you could bust this one out!
Helmet – Unsung
Originally featured in Guitar Hero, fans of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas may remember this seminal 90s alt-rock track. A live version appeared in Guitar Hero: Smash Hits, although it doesn’t export. Other than that, this song has never re-appeared in a rhythm game. It would certainly be at home rounding off a possible Hit Singles VI…
Jane’s Addiction – Stop!
Originally featured in Guitar Hero II, I know I was disappointed that the recent Jane’s Addiction pack didn’t feature this song. One of the greatest songs Jane’s Addiction ever performed, it’s about time we see this pop up in games again.
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts – I Love Rock and Roll
Originally featured in Guitar Hero, all we have to say is seriously? We’ve had how many “Rock Hits”, “Hit Singles”, and “Women Who Rock” packs and yet somehow we still don’t have one of the very definitions of “classic rock”? Come on, Rocksmith!
Ozzy Osbourne – Bark at the Moon
Originally featured in Guitar Hero, this was the first “final boss” in the series. Bark at the Moon is a rhythm game classic. It appeared again as DLC for Rock Band 3 where it was exclusive to purchasers the Ozzy Osbourne 8-Pack. Hopefully the licensing doesn’t wind up to be prohibitively tricky and we see this song in Rocksmith soon.
The Reverend Horton Heat – Psychobilly Freakout
Originally featured in Guitar Hero II, this is a great high-level guitar showcase, and would fit in nicely with the player-base who are looking for more of a challenge. Hopefully next time we get a rockabilly pack, we see this make an appearance!
Stone Temple Pilots – Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart
Originally featured in Guitar Hero II, this was yet another case of “I can’t believe this didn’t make the pack”, especially when you consider this is one of Stone Temple Pilots’ most well known and beloved songs. While recent events may complicate licensing, one can only hope we get more STP in the game, and that this is the first song we get.
Twisted Sister – I Wanna Rock
Originally featured in Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s, don’t you think it’s time we get another song from Twisted Sister? While the riff is simplistic, it’s incredibly satisfying and features two great solos by Ojeda/French. If that’s not enough, in 2009 it was named the 17th VH1 Greatest Hard Rock Songs by VH1!
There’s our picks, what songs would you like to see from Guitar Hero: Smash Hits end up in Rocksmith 2014? Let us know!