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A spin-off of the Guitar Hero series by Activision, developed by FreeStyleGames, DJ Hero is a large variation on the usual instrument-peripheral-rhythm-game-genre, in which instead of a representation of a conventionally popular instrument like a guitar, bass, or drums, you use a turntable peripheral. The difference comes from that while you do press buttons alongside on-screen prompts to interpret a song (albeit with two fewer buttons), some notes require you to hold down the button and "scratch" the turntable. In addition, you also have to adjust your "cross-fader" bar to match the note highways on screen.
The soundtrack of the series consists of remixes/mashups of various songs produced both in-house by the developers, or by the several artists brought into the project, including and not limited to Grandmaster Flash, Daft Punk, the late DJ AM, Deadmau5, Tiësto, and RZA of Wu-Tang Clan fame.
The original game was released on October 27, 2009, and DJ Hero 2 has been released on October 19, 2010.
Bears slight conceptual similarity to the Beatmania series.
This game provides examples of:
- And Your Reward Is Setlists, Clothes, Headphones, Decks, Deck Skins (first game only), DJs, Venues, and Bonus Beats.
- Downloadable Content: Purchased by the bunch (Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3) or separately (Wii), averaging to about three mixes per setlist throughout the course of the series, regardless of whether you include the Tiësto Mix Pack and the mashup of Lady Gaga and Deadmau5 (both of which were free for a limited time) or not.
- The fact that it's Activision should indicate that this DLC is extremely expensive. Roughly $7.99 for a pack of 3 songs.
- Final Exam Boss: While not a final boss per se, the Groundhog beat juggle is undoubtedly the hardest mix in the first game, and manages to test all the skills you've learned by gradually escalating the number of things you need to do at once.
- This also appears sometimes in DJ Hero 2. In Empire Mode, you have boss "fights" with the real DJ's (Tiësto, Deadmau5, etc.)
- Particularly of note from DJ Hero 2 is "Super Battle Breaks" by DJ Qbert, which outright tells you which "round" of difficulty you're in as the mix progresses.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: DJ Shadow
- Life Meter: Completely Missing In Action! Now you can play without worrying about failing out and still have your score saved.
- Mix and Match: The results of many of the mash-ups, picking and mixing from songs of different genres. See X Meets Y below.
- Rhythm Game
- Sampling: Being based around DJing, this is actually one of the features of the game.
- Sequel Difficulty Spike: DJ Hero 2 added in not just freestyle scratches and crossfades, but also held taps and scratches.
- Serious Business: During his mix of Rockit and Lapdance, Grandmaster Flash yells this.
- Stealth Pun: DJ Hero 2 can be bought as part of a bundle that includes two turntable controllers and a microphone peripheral. Fans of the artist Beck may be familiar with phrase "two turntables and a microphone" (sadly Beck doesn't appear in this game in any form)...
- Though the track that made that phrase famous is in the first game.
- Third Is 3D: DJ Hero 3D. It is not the third main series game, though, but rather an installment for the Nintendo 3DS.
- Unfortunately, it has died along with the Guitar Hero series.
- Time Travel: Both games allow for spinning the DJ disc backwards to rewind the song a number of measures. There are some mechanical differences between the games, however:
- In the first game, you can either rewind one measure (360˚) or two measures (720˚) depending on how many revolutions you spin the disc backwards. This feature was not available on any mode involving two players.
- In the second game, rewinds take you to the previous section or the beginning of the current sections, shown by "rewind markers" that pass by. There is a power deck that can take you back two sections. Rewinding is possible in two player modes at least.
- Title Drop: A few times in the first game (Intergalactic Vs. Rapture is one of them), but special mention goes to the mashup of Foreigner's 'Juke Box Hero' and Z-Trip and MURS' 'DJ Hero'. Button-wise, Tiësto's Elements of Life vs. Benny Benassi's Satisfaction on Hard and Expert.
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: Being able to play with the Guitar on select songs in the first game.
- Similarly, being able to sing a large amount of mixes from the second game.
- What Could Have Been: DJ Hero 3D, we hardly knew ya.
- X Meets Y: Most of the tracks in the series are Mash-ups, mixing together two songs and cutting them together to make a unique animal.