Guitar Hero III retains much of the same gameplay as the previous titles in the series; players still use a specially designed guitar controller to play along with colored gems scrolling down the middle of the screen while the band in the background reflects the performance. There are many small differences, mostly made to how the notes are played. These differences include the gems now being able to be Hammered On and Pulled Off to better imitate how an actual guitarist would play the song. The timing window has also been extended, making for generally easier squeezes. Also, for HOPOs, instead of having to press the fret only when the gem comes down, players can now hit the fret at any time before it's played, as long as they are still holding it when the gem falls into the notecatcher. Also, there is no option for a Multiplayer Quick Play, besides a patch released for the Xbox 360 version of the game.
Four of the systems feature wireless controllers. The seventh generation consoles (PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360) have Gibson Les Paul controllers, while the PlayStation 2 version features a black Kramer Striker, and the Windows and Macintosh versions feature a wired Gibson X-plorer. The Wii port is somewhat unique in that the Wii Remote must be inserted into the guitar controller, and utilizes the Wii Remote's miniature speaker and rumble feature.
Battle Mode Edit
Battle Mode is an exciting prominent new feature. It is a new multiplayer option, and also plays an important role in Career Mode. After a certain encore is finished, a famous guitarist comes out from backstage and challenges the player to a guitar duel, and two fretboards appear (one for the player, the other for the challenger). During the mode, the two charts alternate solo sections. Certain note sequences are designated as battles notes that give the player power-ups if every note is played without overstrumming. In order to win this mode, the player must use the power-ups to make the opponent fail out. There are eight power-ups that can be used, two of which break the opponent's guitar, preventing them from playing until they have performed a task to "fix" their guitar, and three of which make it more difficult to hit notes for a given time. These power-ups are:
- Amp Overload – Causes the notes to flash on and off, and the fretboard to shake. Its icon is a thunderbolt.
- Broken Whammy – Forces the opponent to tilt the whammy bar repeatedly until they can play again. Its icon is a wavy line.
- Broken String – Forces the opponent to press a fret button repeatedly until they can play again. It's icon is a pair of scissors.
- Death Drain – Quickly lowers the opponent's Rock Meter, regardless of how successful they are playing. Only used in Sudden Death. Its icon is skulls with bones.
- Difficulty Up – Changes the opponent's chart to the next higher difficulty, taking a moment before doing so. Its icon is a cross.
- Double Notes – Adds one gem to all the notes (except 3-note chords), taking a moment before doing so. Its icon is two 16th notes.
- Lefty Flip – Reverses the fretboard. Its icon is an upside-down smiley face.
- Power-Up Steal – Takes the opponent's power-up, if they have one. If not, the power-up is lost. Its icon is a hand.
If the player can beat the boss, that character will be made available for purchase as a playable character in the store, and he will play the encore (usually a song which that character has performed in real life) along with the player. The three boss battles are:
- Tom Morello, guitarist for Rage Against the Machine and then-Audioslave, who appears at the end of the second tier. He later joins the player for "Bulls on Parade" during the encore.
- Slash, guitarist for Velvet Revolver and previously Guns N' Roses, who appears at the end of the fifth tier. He later joins the player for "Welcome to the Jungle" during the encore.
- Lou, the fictional Devil and previously manager of the cover band which the player's character performs in. He appears at the end of the eighth tier, challenging the player to "The Devil Went Down To Georgia".
In the Career setlist, for the boss battles, it is only noted whether the player has beaten the boss, and not how many stars or what score were obtained, as there is no multiplier. Before the free Boss Battles downloadable song pack was released, there was no way to play these boss battle songs in the Practice, Quick Play, or Multiplayer modes.
Neversoft lead developer Alan Flores revealed that Guitar Hero III has a cast of thirteen characters. Characters returning from previous titles are Johnny Napalm, Judy Nails, Axel Steel, Izzy Sparks, Casey Lynch, Lars Ümlaüt, and Xavier Stone; Midori is an original playable character that can be selected. Additionally, each system has two additional playable characters that can be unlocked: the Wii and PlayStation 2 versions include Metalhead and Elroy Budvis, while the PlayStation 3, PC, and Xbox 360 versions include the God of Rock and the Grim Ripper.
In addition, the player can unlock the three boss characters: Tom Morello, Slash, and Lou, once they have completed their respective boss battles in Career mode. While Bret Michaels appears in the game and sings specific songs, he is not a playable character in the game without use of a code. Michaels is only included in the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game, but can be seen via a cheat in the Wii and PlayStation 2 versions, as well.
- Mitch's Moose Lounge
- Video Shoot
- Ye Olde Royal Odeon
- Shanker's Island
- Desert Rock Tour
- Kaiju Megadome
- Lou's Inferno
Set List Edit
Main article: Guitar Hero III (Set List)
The achievements for the Xbox 360 version of the game can be viewed here.