Players work the four frets in either left- or right-hand mode, and strum on the DS screen to play notes. An on-screen whammy bar activates sustain effects, or gamers can just hold the stylus down after picking for the same results. Like a real rock-star, players activate Star Power by yelling at the DS. We recommend phrases like "I only eat green M&Ms," or "Hello, Cleveland!" If you're already geeking out enough playing this game in public, we don't know why you'd be too self-conscious to yell, but an on-screen icon also activates that bonus if you want to be discreet.
A new duel system tops the multiplayer modes. With a local, direct wireless connection, two players compete to turn in the best performance, although they also earn power-ups to harass each other. Try to screw up your friend with a camera flash, brightly popping the screen to white; or send groupies over who demand autographs, covering up the strum area until you sign a T-shirt. Other distractions force an opponent to restring a guitar, ramp up their difficulty, or overload their amp momentarily so the audio cuts out. Your guitar might even catch on fire, forcing you to blow on the mic to put it out.
The duel mode and complete port of other major points of the game make this version of Guitar Hero worth watching. Look for it in June.