What, No "Lord of the Thighs"?
Actually, forget about screwing around with Aerosmith's debut album; the 70s aren't fully featured in any way. The original "Walk This Way," "Kings and Queens," and "Let the Music Do the Talking," are only present as Vault tracks you can unlock or purchase and then play solely as one-off performances. "Remember (Walking in the Sand)," "Same Old Song and Dance," (which was on GH III but still needs to be here) "Lord of the Thighs," and "Home Tonight" aren't present at all. Neither is "Last Child," which for my money is the funkiest, dirtiest song Aerosmith has ever recorded (yes, I know it was on GH II, but that wasn't the original, and at any rate, as with "Same Old," the song still needs to be here). I don't expect the game to include all of my favorites, but these are iconic tunes, and it's not like the game already has a loaded soundtrack, as it clocks in at just 41 songs.
Only the Orpheum level seems properly planned out and executed, as it's based on the band's 80s reunion gig and the tunes are all latter-day comeback tracks like 1987's "Rag Doll," 1989's "Love in an Elevator," and 1993's "Livin' On the Edge." Even then, though, the game omits a lot of big hits from this era and beyond. I sure never want to hear the treacly "Angel" again, but it's one of the biggest power ballads of the 80s, so it's strange not to find it here. Same with "Dude Looks Like A Lady," "Janie's Got A Gun," "What It Takes," "Cryin," "I Don't Want to Miss A Thing," "Jaded," and "Just Push Play." A lot of these tracks haven't aged well, and god knows that all copies of "I Don't Want to Miss A Thing" need to be stuck on a rocket and fired into the sun, although they should still be represented in any full-priced game purporting to deal with Aerosmith's entire career. It's galling that there are so many holes here, especially when the game does manage to throw in kinda-Aerosmith filler such as Joe Perry Project songs from the early 80s.
The completely non-Aerosmith songs here are even more spotty. Each level starts off with a pair of tunes supposedly from acts that influenced Aerosmith, but they actually seem more like odds and ends that Activision had the licenses for but never bothered to use in a previous game. They don't really fit here, and also seem anachronistic in relation to the time periods represented in the level themes. How Cheap Trick's "Dream Police" from 1979 could have anything to do with a high school gig in 1970 is beyond me. Same with how a 1988 hit like Joan Jett's "I Hate Myself For Loving You," could be connected with a gig in New York in 1972. Still, at least these tunes are more tolerable than the lame covers. "All the Young Dudes" sounds like a parody of the Mott the Hoople original, and Dave Davies should sue over the evisceration of his great guitar work in the game's wimpy cover of "All Day and All of the Night."
Aerosmith should probably sue, too, for the ridiculous way that the game depicts them. Each level kicks off with videos of the band members separately reminiscing, but these clips are edited together in such a clumsy way that the comments don't make any sense. You'll get goofy stories only partly told, Steve Tyler going on about some incident where a guy tried to shove his fist into his mouth, and a bunch of other absurd commentary that is best skipped over. Some of the scenes are so dark that you can't make out any details, either. Joe Perry often looks like he shot some of his clips in blackface.
Other than that, though, this is boilerplate Guitar Hero. The graphics and animations are kind of poor, if not bad enough to complain about. Aerosmith itself looks pretty good, at least, although this digital take on Tyler is awfully restrained and drummer Joey Kramer looks like the world's oldest N'Sync wannabe thanks to his fruity soul patch. The only real irritant with the overall presentation is how the volume goes up by about a third every time you move from an opening song by a non-Aerosmith act to a tune by the big guys. That gets more than a little aggravating, especially if you're playing late at night with a cranky wife sleeping upstairs.