Pow! (or how I overcame Zero’s borked talkies in about an hour)

August 11, 2009 at 5:18 pm (Rock Band) (, , , , , , , , )

I really really REALLY need to start doing a little background research on songs before I give people the chance to vote for them. Why, you ask? Because it turns out that, for the 2nd time in the space of a week, my readers gleefully saddled me with a song that is known to contain difficult-to-hit talky phrases! Apparently my blog’s target demographic consists of sadistic jerk-faces, but I’d pretty much figured that out before this. Of course, I didn’t discover the tidbit about the tough talkies until AFTER Smashing Pumpkins’ “Zero” emerged as the winner of the latest poll! Oh, ignorance, what a tangled web you weave! At least in this case – as opposed to last week’s “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race” fiasco – I had enough forethought to do a search for info on “Zero” before I started my FC attempts, so I was able to (somewhat) prepare myself for the challenges that lay ahead. With the tiny voice in the back of my head cursing my voting audience all the while, I got started on what was sure to be a marathon session…

Ugh! My first run of the night was…well…just pathetic really! Out of the track’s 35 phrases, I messed up on a grand total of 8! Yikes! True, 5 of those phrases were talkies either in whole or in part, but still…94%?! That’s just downright sad! I could see right away that this would be a song I’d have to sing all the way through on most if not all of my attempts, since virtually all the phrases I stumbled on came after the halfway mark. Well, at least its a short song, right? Over the next 7 tries, I managed to improve my accuracy on pretty much everything except the notorious talky lines, earning me final scores ranging from 96-98%. Unfortunately, I also started having intermittent issues with the song’s final phrase after the 3rd run. I decided not to worry about that hurdle yet, since passing that phrase was moot until I could consistently hit the talkies that preceded it.

On the advice of one of my regular UstreamTV audience members (thanks Timeseer/Necrosavent!) I made some adjustments to my vocal settings just before my 9th attempt. I didn’t emulate his settings exactly because we use different microphones (his is MadCatz, mine is RB2 stock), but I raised my sensitivity to just under halfway and my mic volume just above 3/4. The vocal track was already set to max, so I left it as is. This tweaking seemed to improve matters, as I immediately passed the song’s first 4 talkies with ease, yay! I still flubbed phrases 31 (“You blame yourself for wanting more”) and 35 (“She’s my one and only”) with Strongs, but didn’t mind too much since I could finally see victory hovering just beyond my reach…just a little further…

Oh noes! On my very next try I fell victim to that eternal bane of Rock Band vocalists everywhere; the final phrase epic choke miss! Argh. What’s worse is, I missed it with a Weak rating, and apparently one Weak phrase sucks more out of your percentage than 2 Strongs, resulting in a craptastic 98% score! Gotta love that crazy vox scoring math, huh? Following this (apparently unsettling) helping of failsauce, I went on to miss talky phrases I’d previously bested on my next 4 attempts! My 15th try was a virtual repeat of my 10th, with my voice giving out as I tried – and failed – to make the transition to the lowest part of my range for the tail end of the song’s last line! Maybe what I needed here was a different approach? With that inkling of an idea in my head, I offered up my 16th run as a sacrifice to the gods of singing in a higher than normal octave. It only took me about a verse to figure out how to hit the charted pitch in a higher part of my range, so without bothering to finish the song I hit restart, hoping I could remember how & where to change octaves on my next try…

Success! I ended up only using the octave switching tactic on 2 phrases, but it was well worth the extra effort to finally get this particular FC out of the way! Even better, I never had to resort to any borderline-cheating tricks to hit the difficult talkies, yays! Its actually taken me longer to write this post than it did to get 100% on the song, sheesh! Now its time for me to start getting ready for my weekly RB bar night, so enjoy the video of “Zero” below, and don’t forget to vote in the poll! I’m pretty sure all of today’s choices are glitch-free, so go ahead, do your worst!

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