Starting out life on the PSOne the music series has allowed non-PC owners the chance to create music of their choice for a few years now. While the original music releases where comprehensive in terms of samples and what you could do to your created master piece the interface and bemusing assortment of options often left people confused and not able to engage with what should be a fun and creative experience. So does the latest PS2 version offer anything new to the aspiring musician? And can it really offer anything against a few instruments and a PC?
Well yes and no really, obviously the PC is the tool of choice for anyone really serious about trying to make music, the amount of programmes and diversity present along with the fact you can record instruments from source along with numerous other things means anyone really serious about making a music demo should use what is on offer in the home computer market. However, if you have a passing interest in music and often wondered if you had it in you to create a musical master piece in your spare time this could well fit the bill.
First of all there are a lot more samples available for this version of music, whatever type of music you want to make is represented and you can take parts from various genres to create something new. Basically, this is music as you know it on PSOne just with more of everything, more sounds, more remixing tools and while good for Music veterans, is not so great in the big scheme of things. Countless games and programmes over the years have produced sequels using almost identical control systems. This is fine if the interface is perfect, however with the music series it is clear that the interface is not perfect and could really have done with being refined a touch, if anything the controls in Music 3000 are even trickier than before. So much so that half the time you really do not know what you are doing as the layout just seems to be completely illogical.
One nice inclusion is the lessons option; this takes you from the basics through to more complex operations step by step. Apart from taking you through all the functions available it really does show just how ridiculous the control system is, move this with the right analogue stick, then move that with the cursor (not the left analogues stick oh no) then press that with R3 then move that. You get the idea. Absolutely no attempt has been made to turn the control pad into part of the musical process, instead it acts as a barrier to inspiration and makes the process so lifeless and frustrating that even when you know what the programme can do it is so hard to do it you may find yourself just not bothering.
Everything you need to make the perfect tune is hidden somewhere in this programme, after the initial creation has been laid down you can remix it and do all manner of small adjustments and additions from changing the pitch and tone of an individual note to altering a beat, you name it, you can do it and with the game offering support for a microphone you can sing vocals onto it as well. All you need is patience and persistence to overcome the controls and eventually you may find there is a lot of fun to be had from the title. You can also get a USB attachment allowing more samples and tracks to be downloaded as well meaning an almost limitless amount of material will at any PS2 DJ’s disposal, so this at least makes Music 3000 close the gap on PC software, if only a little bit.
As well as the music, you can also mess around with visuals for your brand new tune, you can alter which field objects move in and pick from a large selection of images. The option is available to randomly create visuals should you be lacking in inspiration and directorial flair as well, another area which manages to raise the programme up a notch from its last incantation.
Overall, Music 3000 is both very good and shockingly bad, the controls are some of the worst we have ever come across and are so bad that they really undermine the creative process of putting together a piece of music. That said what is In the programme is excellent for the PS2 and for anyone without a PC this may well be all you need to start creating some well put together efforts. But be warned in order to find all the brilliance present you have to really be patient and you have to ask yourself simply can you be bothered to put up with the controls? If the answer is yes you will find a rewarding, if frustrating, musical experience awaits you.