See us hitting Rock Band 2 cymbals rhythmically with sticks

We here at GamesRadar do very little peripheral coverage – mostly because most of it’s crap. However, when Mad Catz rolled in yesterday with a metric ton of legitimately awesome Rock Band 2 gear, including the long-awaited cymbals, we decided to make an exception. Did you think you were done spending money on Rock Band stuff? That was silly of you. Watch these videos and see how wrong you were.

First things first: These are the official Rock Band 2 cymbals. There is no Harmonix version. These are it. You can buy one, two, or all three cymbals and their heights can be adjusted to suit your whims. You can hit them any time you’re asked to hit the drum head of the same color (blue, yellow, or green). However, the game can actually tell whether you’re hitting a cymbal or a drum, so during free play mode or the moments when you get to play freestyle during those Overdrive fills, you’ll hear cymbal sounds when you hit them.

The next item was a surprise to us. It’s a portable drum kit basically consisting of just the important bits and no stand. It’s not the best for use on the floor or your lap, but if you set them on a desk they work beautifully. Comically, just in case full-length sticks don’t fit into your bag, the included sticks can be unscrewed into two halves like a fancy pool cue.

But what about those of us who don’t play drums? Mad Catz has something for you, too. Bassists get an actual bass controller, complete with a thumb rest and a split strum bar so you can play using your fingers if you so desire. The game also recognizes the bass controller and will automatically assign it the bass part. And for singers, there’s a microphone with the controller buttons built right in. It’ s about time someone invented that.

But our favorite items of the day were these two beauties: Super high-end controllers made out of actual Fender instruments. For guitarists, there’s a guitar controller crafted from an actual Fender Squier Stratocaster in a lickable cherry burst finish. And bassists get a black-on-white Fender P-bass. These babies won’t come out until early 2009 – and we expect them to cost around $250-300 bills – but they sure are pretty, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll look less like a bunch of drunken baboons flailing away at childrens’ toys when playing Rock Band 2 with them. But maybe not.

There were some other things as well: Rock Band 2 faceplates and skins, a mic stand, a guitar stand, coffin cases for your controllers. Sure, it might be overkill to grab onto this stuff, but face it: You’ve already jumped the shark. Might as well go with it.

Sep 17, 2008

Eric Bratcher
I was the founding Executive Editor/Editor in Chief here at GR, charged with making sure we published great stories every day without burning down the building or getting sued. Which isn't nearly as easy as you might imagine. I don't work for GR any longer, but I still come here - why wouldn't I? It's awesome. I'm a fairly average person who has nursed an above average love of video games since I first played Pong just over 30 years ago. I entered the games journalism world as a freelancer and have since been on staff at the magazines Next Generation and PSM before coming over to GamesRadar. Outside of gaming, I also love music (especially classic metal and hard rock), my lovely wife, my pet pig Bacon, Japanese monster movies, and my dented, now dearly departed '89 Ranger pickup truck. I pray sincerely. I cheer for the Bears, Bulls, and White Sox. And behind Tyler Nagata, I am probably the GR staffer least likely to get arrested... again.