Guitar Zero 2

Infobox VG
title = Guitar Zero 2
caption = 

developer = Callisto2002
publisher = N/A
designer =
released ="'Beta 6.3"vgrelease|August 3, 2008 [ [ Guitar Zero 2 beta 6 update 3 released] ]
genre = Music
modes = Single-player, multiplayer
platforms = PC

Guitar Zero 1

Guitar Zero started out as a Guitar Hero clone meant to be "much more of an outright clone than Frets on Fire." [ [ "Guitar...Zero?" at Kotako] , Guitar Zero is much more of an outright clone of GHII than FOF.] It was heavily criticized for not having any original aspects or concepts, as well as being nearly impossible to modify, and using .dat files instead of the relatively easier to use .mid's that Frets on Fire used. It also had little support for controls; joy2key, a popular, free joystick configuring application at the time, had to be used for those with a PS2 Guitar and PS2 to USB Adapter. Those without a PS2 Guitar and/or adapter, could not play the game. No source code was ever released, and the game soon died.

Although the first Guitar Zero is often regarded by many as a general failure, it did receive some attention from a few dissatisfied Frets on Fire players. [ [ "Looks cool" at Softonic] , One of many opinions on the Guitar Zero vs. Frets on Fire dynamic.] A link to the original Guitar Zero Forums was added on the Frets on Fire wiki. It was updated after Guitar Zero 2 began to be made.

Guitar Zero 2

Guitar Zero lay dormant for a number of months, but in early 2007 a spiritual successor was started by coder Callisto2002. The new game was created in the same style as the original but was much more user friendly. Although Guitar Zero 1's DAT format was still being used, controls were much easier to set, using an in-game button mapping system. Almost all types of controllers could be used, and the keyboard was also an option for the player. The new Guitar Zero also uses a number of proprietary formats which allow for easy modification of the game. It was written in C Sharp programming language, and took advantage of DirectX features, pixel shaders, and Microsoft XNA.

Game Developement

Betas 2 - 5

As the game became more popular, the creator had to implement more and more features to keep the community and players happy. One of the first new features was the ability to use .mid files. This allowed for compatibility of Frets on Fire songs, and made custom songs much easier to make. Another early feature added to the game was the option for different multi-player modes, such as co-op. Around betas 3 and 4, support for .chart files was made, allowing custom songs to be made easier than ever before. Also implemented around this time was an experimental whammying effect. Callisto2002 also implemented a "stats bar" in the setlist, which shows song information, album covers, times the song has been played, a percentage of notes hit and high scores. A poll was taken for a new name for the game, and the names Frontman and GuitarZ got the highest votes, although an official name has yet to be chosen. [ [ "NAME THAT GAME MKII" at the Guitar Zero Forums] , The thread where new names for the game were suggested.] [ [ "NAME TIME!" at the Guitar Zero Forums] , A poll for the forum members to decide upon a new name for Guitar Zero 2.]

Beta 6

After beta 5 and it's updates were released, the community and the game both experienced little to no growth for a few months. With no source code released, it seemed as if the second game would end up like the first. Then on June 15, 2008, callisto2002 released beta 6, which added many more features to the game than a normal update. In .chart files, the "*" event was now functioning, making the Guitar Hero III files run better than before. The rock meter was also made to be much harder than before. It now functions exactly like Guitar Hero III's rock meter. [ [ "GZ Beta 6" at the Guitar Zero Forums] , callisto2002 replies to jd's statement concerning the rock meter.] Among other features, the ability to play movies in the background while playing, and use animated 2d characters and stages was added, which greatly improved the game's visual appeal. Soon afterward 3 updates followed, adding solo detection and a star power meter, two highly requested features.


Both games feature gameplay very similar to the Guitar Hero series, where the player must hit colored "notes" as they slide across the fretboard. The player cannot miss too many notes or they will fail the song.  The player can play songs in his/her song library on four difficulties: Easy, Medium, Hard or Expert, similar to Guitar Hero.

Songs are chosen on a screen resembling the set list from the Guitar Hero games. Unlike Guitar Hero, album covers, genres, dates, average hit percent, and high scores are shown in a stats bar when a song is selected. When the player selects a song, they are taken to the stage, where a fretboard, rock meter, point counter, and Star Power meter are displayed. 


This mode is for one player. After selecting this mode on the main menu, the player must play a song from their song library completely through. They score points for hitting a note correctly, and get more points for holding a note and/or using the whammy bar. While playing, if the player hits several notes perfectly, the point counter multiplies the score by 2, 3 or 4. The player can also get "Star Power" by hitting a set of star-shaped notes perfectly. When the player can hold a star-shaped note, he/she can whammy the note for more Star Power. To use Star Power, the meter for it must be at least half-way filled. The player must then hit a button or hold their guitar in an upward position to activate it. During Star Power, the player can get a 4, 6 or 8 point multiplier, and cannot get below a 2 point multiplier. While using Star Power, it is also much harder to fail. However, Star Power wears off quickly, so the player must use it at a strategic time. When the song is completed, the player is shown his/her final score, and the percent of notes he/she hit. Critics then give the show a 3, 4, or 5 star review, based on the average point multiplier the player kept throughout the song.

Training Mode

This mode is similar to Quickplay, except the player cannot fail a song, and can slow the song down to learn parts, as well as choosing specific sections of a song to play. The player may also choose a bass or rhythm guitar part to play.


This mode is similar to Quickplay. However, in multiplayer, two people can play. There are several ways to play a multiplayer game.

; Face-Off: both players get different sections of the song to play, and one player can play on a different difficulty than the other. In Face-Off, both players try to play the song better than the other. This means that the player who does not fail, or hits more notes, wins.; Pro Face-Off: similar to Face-Off, except that both players must play on the same difficulty, and both get the same set of notes.; Co-Op: The players must work together to clear a song. Neither player can fail, or the crowd throws you off the stage, just as in Quickplay. One player plays the lead guitar part, while the other plays the bass or rhythm part.

Future Development

Drum and mic support are currently being implemented, as well as simple 3d stages. Many new mods have been made, as well as several song packs and quite a few single custom songs. A website was made recently by forums member ConfusingBoat. [ [ "Guitar Zero 2 Official Website"] , The Official Website.] An original tutorial pack is being made by member escortdew, a FAQ was made by member Triple D, and the forum is currently being rearranged to help newcomers find their way around easily. Creator callisto2002 has also made a blog about his progress in the game. [ [ "Game Without a Name" at blogspot] , Callisto2002's official Guitar Zero 2 development thread.]

Career Mode

Similar to the Career Mode in the Guitar Hero series, author Callisto2002 stated that once 3d stages were implemented into the game, that a Career Mode would follow. However, 3d Stages might be hard to implement, and not much talk of this feature since then. [ [ "GZII" at the Guitar Zero Forums] , Once we have a 3d stage and players, I'd [callisto2002] be willing to implement some kind of career mode as well..]

Online Play

The idea of online play has been brought up many times by not only the members of the forums, but also creator callisto2002 himself.  The Guitar Zero 2 Website by ConfusingBoat is ready for online play as soon as it is implemented. [ [ "ASP.NET Site for Guitar Zero, Anyone?" at the Guitar Zero Forums] , discussion of the Guitar Zero 2 site.]


The following are already-implemented features and their descriptions.

Joystick and Guitar Controller Support

The player can use the keyboard to play the game; however, for players with laptops and notebooks, which make use of a keyboard which is attached to the monitor, it can be difficult to use the keyboard. Virtually any kind of joystick can be used. Those with a Rock Band PS2/PS3 or XBOX360 guitar can easily hook the USB port into the computer and use them in game also. Other guitars such as the Xplorer guitar can be used very easily also. For those with a PS2 to USB converter, any PS2 guitar can be used. Wii guitar controllers for Guitar Hero III and games can be used, but require a bluetooth adapter, and a program called GlovePie. Virtually any PS3 or XBOX/XBOX360 guitar controllers may be used. [ [ "Controller Support" at the Guitar Zero Forums] , Forums moderator hzac explains how to properly install drivers for and/or use guitar controllers in the game.]

Song Support

Guitar Zero 2 supports .ogg audio format, and can read note charts from .midi files and .chart files, as well as the .dat file format used for the original Guitar Zero.  This allows for a wide range of different users to import their songs into the game from the popular Frets on Fire Guitar Hero clone.  

Custom songs can be made using programs like Feedback Chart Editor and Freetar Editor.  These programs are also used partially in the conversion of the Guitar Hero series songs, as well as most Rock Band songs.


The game code at this time cannot be modded. However, the game makes use of the Microsoft XNA libraries and the XML markup language, as well as .png image files, making visually-based modifications relatively simple.

Praise and Criticism

The game has been praised for requiring little to nothing of players' systems to be able to run. The requirements of the game are very little compared to competing games such as Frets on Fire or Unsigned. However, it has been criticized for the use of pixel shaders [ [ "Play Without Pixel Shaders" at the Guitar Zero Forums] , Forums members try to get the game to work without pixel shaders, but without prevail.] , a feature which some deem unnecessary to allow gameplay. The game has also received critical acclaim for the whammy feature, as well as the allowance of custom Star Power in songs. Recently the callisto2002 added a feature to detect solo's in songs, and show percentage of notes hit during them, much like the Rock Band game does. This feature also received much praise. However complaints have been made that most Guitar Hero games still do not show solo's in-game, with the exclusion of Guitar Hero's I, II, and Rock the 80's. The game has also gotten criticism for it's difficulty. Many believe the game is harder than Guitar Hero III, the Guitar Hero game usually dubbed as the hardest of the series. [ [ "Fast Failing?" at the Guitar Zero Forums] , Questions are raised about the difficulty of the game/rock meter.] The two main reasons for the difficulty, it is believed, are the board perspective, and the note window, or the window of opportunity to hit a note. It has been said by many that the note window is too big, or that the note window should be change-able. Others say the note window is too small. [ [ "Guitar Star Wish List" at the Guitar Zero Forums] , CJB100 and others ask about change-able note windows; alexfighter brings up board perspective.] Overall the game is viewed as one of the major Guitar Hero clones on the internet today.

See Also

*Guitar Hero (series)
*Frets on Fire
*Rock Band


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