The New Console War: Music Games -- A Look at Each Game's Drum Set

Even if Konami did it first (see: "Drummania"), "Rock Band" introduced most people to video game drumming. It was no surprise "Guitar Hero" has added drums to their latest iteration and Konami's "Rock Revolution" also includes it.

But each game's approach to the drums is different from one another, different enough that it could make a difference to which game you end up buying.

To be fair, we don't yet know what changes Harmonix and MTV Games will be making to their drum set for the next version of "Rock Band." For now, however, we'll have to base it on what we know and use the current drums as a template.

With that in mind, let's take a look at what makes each drum set unique.

"Rock Band"

Right now, Harmonix's drum set is the standard -- four drum pads and a kick pedal. These were also the first instruments Harmonix developed without the aid of peripheral maker Red Octane, however, and it showed. Users have complained of snapping kick pedals and excessive noise when hitting the drums.

Accessories have since remedied these issues, but we hope (and expect) Harmonix to take care of it at the hardware level with their next set of instruments.


"Rock Revolution"

Konami's developing the most complex drum set of the three.

With six drum pads, it's somewhat daunting to sit down with at first. And because the drum pads are not the same size or shape, your first sessions with "Rock Revolution" are spent hitting the plastic more often than hitting a drum pad. With the addition of a kick pedal, that makes seven possible inputs, however, which means "Rock Revolution" could come closest to replicating the drum experience for the hardcore.

I asked "Rock Revolution" associate producer Keith Matejka to explain how they decided to settle on such a complex set.

"This was a very organic process," he said. "We thought about the music we wanted to have in the game and started with the number of drums we would need to accurately play that music. Some of these big rock drummers have huge drum kits, so we way too many pads. We started taking pieces away and saw how it felt. When it felt limiting, we added pieces back in. In the end, we decided on the six pads – Snare, HiHat, Crash, Tom, Ride, and Floor Tom."


"Guitar Hero: World Tour"

What we've seen of "Gutiar Hero: World Tour"'s set certainly makes it the most ambitious.

"Guitar Hero"'s take has the least amount of drum pads, but makes up for that with two separate cymbals attached to the side of the kit. Not only that, but every drum pad is touch-sensitive, which means the weight and power of your drumming makes a difference in what's being reflected in the game itself.

Some changes to the kit are direct responses to complaints leveled at the "Rock Band" set, and one of my own chief complaints. "One of the things we really wanted to do was make it quieter than our competitor's kit," said "Guitar Hero" project director Brian Bright to Game Informer. "The drums are loud as hell and it's distracting. Everyone else in the room is like "Shut up!""


Gamers, which drum set most appeals to you?


Have a hot tip? Is there a topic that Multiplayer should be covering and isn't? Maybe you want something none of these sets have. Drop me an e-mail.