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 ample measure.
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 enjoyable album.
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.