The rock group Queen produced a
respectable body of work from its inception in 1973 on through the 1980s and
even the 1990s. The 1980 release The Game offers a classic selection of
rock, with a strong focus on the vocal talents of lead singer Freddie Mercury,
backed up by an assertive but not too "heavy" rock sound, with a hint
of electronic music added in. Fans of the group will, of course, appreciate The
Game, and listeners who've encountered Queen mainly through their Greatest
Hits compilations will find this album a great opening into their
individual releases. "Play the Game," "Another One Bites the
Dust," and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" appeared in a Greatest
Hits release, and for good reason – they're great songs. But fortunately
that's the extent of the duplication in the play list, with seven other songs
filling it out that have the same "classic sound" of their hits in
There are both catchy, rhythmic
songs like "Another One Bites the Dust," "Dragon Attack,"
and "Don't Try Suicide," and softer, more ballad-like pieces like
"Sail Away Sweet Sister." Personally, I enjoyed the more aggressive
rock tracks more than the gentler songs, as they have a nice energy without the
harshness of heavy metal (which I dislike). On the whole, it's a definitely
The DVD menu interface is one
of the better I've seen so far with DVD-Audio, taking advantage of the visual
side of things to add extra content. The menus are very straightforward and
easy to navigate; through a set of icons at the bottom of the screen, at any
time you can skip to the next or previous song, go to a photo gallery, view a
song list, or return to the main menu.
While each song is playing, on
the screen we see the song's title and songwriter, along with the lyrics for
that song, which is a very nice touch. The lyrics are printed in a fairly large
and easy-to-read font, so not all the song's lyrics fit on a single screen; as
the song progresses, the image on-screen changes to show the next set of lyrics.
The full play list is: Play the
Game, Dragon Attack, Another One Bites the Dust, Need Your Loving Tonight,
Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Rock It (Prime Jive), Don't Try Suicide, Sail
Away Sweet Sister, Coming Soon, and Save Me.
I was impressed with the very
high quality of the DTS 5.1 sound. It's clear and sharp, with the singers'
voices having a full, natural quality, and the instruments also sounding full
and rich. The surround is handled extraordinarily well throughout the album.
For all the songs, the music is given a nice spatial separation, with lead
vocals focused in the center channel and the instruments and backup vocals
distributed throughout all the channels. The Many of the songs, such as
"Play the Game," offer a truly amazing and aggressive use of surround
over and above the solid baseline of the album; you won't mistake this
DVD-Audio for a CD, that's for sure.
Two other audio track options
are provided: a DVD-Audio-only 5.1 surround track, and a PCM (non-lossy) track
in 2.0 stereo. All three tracks are presented at 96kHz 24-bit. I was only able
to play the DTS track on my setup, not the PCM track, possibly because the PCM
track required a different audio setup. In any case, the DTS track is a
knockout, and with 5.1 channels compared to only 2.0, it's certainly the one to
play if you can.
As I mentioned in the main body
of the review, The Game presents the lyrics of each song as it's
playing, which is a truly great idea. A photo gallery is also included on the
DVD. The disc also comes with a foldout insert booklet that has complete lyrics
for all the songs, plus a short section of production notes.
After being introduced to Queen
through their Greatest Hits, I found The Game to be a very solid
and enjoyable album, with that punchy rock sound of the late 1970s and early
80s. With its sleek menu interface, and of course outstanding DTS audio track,
The Game is well worth adding to your collection.