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Xbox Review - 'MTV Music Generator 3'

by Paul Reith on June 22, 2004 @ 1:24 a.m. PDT

MTV Music Generator 3 lets you generate original music tracks and remix some of the biggest hip-hop, rap and dance tracks on the fly. Bring some of your favourite artists together combining samples from different songs and take them head-to-head in a unique remixed track. Snoop Dogg, OutKast, Sean Paul, Carl Cox and more headline Codemasters' MTV Music Generator 3.

Genre: Music Creation
Publisher: Codemasters
Developer: Mix Max
Release Date: June 15, 2004

Buy 'MTV MUSIC GENERATOR 3': Xbox | PlayStation 2

It’s time to face the music and see if you really have what it takes. Codemasters called on developer Mix Max to make the third MTV Music Generator title a hit, and it might just get them a gold album. MTV Music Generator 3: This Is The Remix brings back a fresh remix machine for PS2, and offers the title on Xbox for the first time with a fresh look, new licensed songs, and sampling capabilities from your music collection – sounds nice, but we need to see if this program delivers.

MTV Music Generator 3 begins with a main menu that doesn’t give much guidance, but the first stop is definitely the remixer. With ten artists to choose from, the best way to get a feel for this interface is to tweak a song you know. The remixer gives you general tools to create a new sound without making the neighborhood dogs howl at your creations. Essentially, Mix Max threw several mixes of the same song on the disk, and now you have the power to blend the elements of those mixes together in a fashion you choose. Remixing is enjoyable, and if you know most of the ten, the remixer might keep you occupied for awhile to give you an overall understanding of how the song’s elements fit together.

After getting used to the user interface in the remixer, hit the studio. If you have any problems with the controls, head to tutorials in the options menu to understand how the controls work before laying down tracks. The tutorials reveal additional functionality to do some pretty amazing things that are difficult to find by just playing the game, and the tutorials actually improve your skills of handling the system. Going to the studio through the remixer places the full song into the mixer to reveal how a song is broken into packets, and just how powerful this mixer can be. Each song uses about eleven channels, leaving about half of twenty-four available channels to make the song something completely different than the original.

Starting in the studio from scratch is not too hard. By selecting an artist, the player can go into the studio with access to all the sounds of the artist, and the ability to use their talent with creative discretion. Each artist only has a few preloaded samples in the studio, but that is no problem as the sample base for each artist has plenty of options. Unfortunately, even today’s consoles don’t have the memory or computing power to have all of the samples at your fingertips, leaving a rather tedious process of sorting through all available clips to find the best. Thankfully, holding ten each of drum, bass, riff, and vocal samples is no problem, and unused samples can always be swapped out for others, leaving plenty of room for creativity after you figure out which samples to use. This doesn’t seem to be a daunting task at first, but DJ Marky gives you well over 100 drum samples to choose from, so it does take a considerable time investment to find what you like.

When you lay down some good beats and make some tracks that won’t send everyone in the house looking for another room, there’s always the challenge of hopping off to another artist’s studio, but don’t forget the chance to try making your own samples. Music Generator 3 has a beat box and melody maker for you to create your own music, and use the samples of your artist as supplemental material instead of just juggling someone else’s work. The beat box and melody maker are probably the two easiest elements to make something sound good. A great complex beat can be built in less than five minutes, making creation of intro and transition beats a real possibility when building a new mix. The melody maker is also simple to use, and even gives a helping hand in generating the melody to get you started, allowing quick creation of a melody.

Pulling all these elements together makes a pretty good basic mix machine. In order to allow more personal custom mixing, a ripper was added to the system. It is pretty weak, but if you know which 8 seconds (the legal limit at which songs can be sampled without royalties/approvals) of a song you want to sample, you can find it, rip it, and adjust tempo to match your song. Successful ripping is challenging and can be enjoyable, but with the 8 second limitation only look to add one-liners or certain beats to your music, eventhough you do get to make 20 samples.

Visually, Music Generator 3 is tight. Everything is squarish and grid-like to give you the feeling of precision and regulation, lending your ego a little help in the “I feel like I have control” category. Stylistically the game appears to match MTV’s more recent image, lending the feel of the channel to the game. The only issue is that some of the sample icons are hard to see in the studio, as the background is a little too dark.

Audibly, the game is excellent, with nearly all of each song sounding exactly like the original radio edit. Only one of the alterations is really noticeable, and we’ll leave it for you to find. The general remixes are very good, sounding like something you might hear in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles or Miami, and the alternative samples at your disposal in the studio are pretty good too. Sound quality of the ripper is average, but better than expected, allowing an overall musical experience that really is amazing when compared to the cost of other equipment to produce the same result.

Overall, MTV Music Generator 3: This Is The Remix delivers the goods, and gives you enough control to make something of the samples yourself. Codemasters should be pleased with their offering, a game to remix 10 licensed songs by allowing the user control of very specific samples of the song and including many alternative samples for creative license. Finally, by keeping the samples together by artist, some of the most difficult technical issues (like getting the beats-per-minute of samples to match) were avoided. If you have ever thought it would be fun or easy to be a DJ, this game is for you. MTV MG3 is a way to try your hand at mixing and sampling without spending thousands on synthesizer equipment, and find out how difficult it is to make a solid three-minute track.

Score : 8.1/10

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