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DTS presents
Queen: The Game (1980)

"This is your lifeódon't play hard to get
It's a free world all you have to do is fall in love
Play the game."

- Freddie Mercury from Play the Game

Review By: Brian Calhoun  
Published: April 29, 2003

Stars: Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon
Run Time: 00h:34m:49s
Release Date: April 08, 2003
UPC: 692860111097
Genre: rock


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A B+A D+

DVD Review

Queen is one of only a few rock bands that have created an undeniably unique musical sound. The combination of operatic vocals, squealing guitars, and powerful rhythms form such an unusual blend that I often find the music difficult to stereotype as typical "rock 'n' roll." The Game is the first Queen album of the 1980s, and while somewhat of a departure from their 1970s material, it is one of the band's finest efforts. Most surprising is the first use of synthesizers on a Queen album, the absence of this instrument something Queen always boasted about, prior to The Game. Though this decision disappointed a number of Queen fans, many, like myself, found the inclusion of synthesizers a welcome addition to the album. While the synthesizers never take on a lead role in any one song, their contribution adds significantly to the magic of each song.

Each of the 10 tracks on The Game are elegant works of art, filled with strong melodies, lyrics, and grooves. It is no surprise that The Game yielded many of Queen's biggest hits, including the groovy Another One Bites the Dust, and the hard rockin' Dragon Attack. The album also contains beautiful lyrics, including the profound Play the Game and the tender Save Me. Perhaps part of the success of these songs can be attributed to the fact that each band member has sole writing credit on at least two tracks, which is certainly a rarity in many bands. Each member's unique contributions seem to have truly helped Queen's sound flourish and remain fresh.

Though The Game can be considered an essential Queen album, it is only now, twenty-three years after its initial release, that the beauty of this is album is able to shine. Hearing The Game in the crystal clear clarity of DVD-Audio is a magnificent experience, much like hearing the album for the very first time. The bass guitar and lead guitar complement one another perfectly, with Brian May's guitar screeching across the room while John Deacon's punchy midrange bass tone fills in the lower register. Roger Taylor's kick drum forms a strong and consistent foundation, and is guaranteed to satisfy lovers of deep and powerful bass. Freddie Mercury's lead vocals sound clearer and more distinct than ever before, while the angelic backing vocals soar through the surround speakers, creating a fully enveloping soundfield. Die-hard queen fans who worry that a 5.1 surround mix may be an abomination of the original stereo recording can safely stop worrying. Meticulous care has gone into creating a surround mix that is both tasteful and exhilarating. This DVD-Audio version of The Game is sure to please Queen fanatics and will also more than likely generate a number of new fans as well.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DTSEnglishno
PCMEnglishno
Advanced ResolutionTypeRemote Access
Surround96k/24-bitno


Audio Transfer Review: The 96k/24-bit DVD-Audio track is a wonderfully clean and dynamic sonic experience that sounds as if it were recorded just yesterday. Major kudos should be given to the way in which the original stereo recording has been remastered and remixed for 5.1 surround sound. So natural is the surround mix, that it sounds as if the 5.1 format was what the band originally had in mind. Never does any portion of this mix sound processed or gimmicky, as is often the case with stereo tracks remixed into surround sound. While the mix may seem to lean towards the front soundstage, this is merely because the rear speakers are used judiciously throughout. Many impressive surround gimmicks are used, but the mix predominately utilizes all six channels to form a completely engulfing sonic experience. The tones are sheer perfection from start to finish; May's guitar is appropriately ear-piercing, his trebly tone filling the entire room. John Deacon's bass guitar tone encircles itself around Roger Taylor's pounding kick drum to form a perfectly tight groove. The low end is earth shattering yet beautifully balanced with a round tonal quality that is never overpowering. This surround mix has been specifically mastered to be compatible with home theater systems, which is a benefit to those like myself who do not have five full range speakers or an ICBM. While I was greatly pleased to find that this technique routed the deep bass to the .1 LFE channel on each track, this method may irk serious audiophiles who utilize full range speakers all around. The only gripe I can offer is that the audio seems a tad brittle on occasion, but this is a minor nit pick for an otherwise fantastic auditory experience.

Also available is a DTS mix. This track is also phenomenal, but lacks the subtle nuances that the DVD-Audio track provides. While fidelity is a bit clearer and cleaner on the DVD-Audio track, any improvements are negligible, and both tracks are truly outstanding.

For those who crave the original stereo mix, it has also been included and tastefully remastered. Par for the course, the PCM stereo mix is also a sonic delight, yet even purists may find themselves intrigued by how tastefully the surround mixes preserve as well as expand upon the original stereo elements.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Music/Song Access with 10 cues and remote access
Packaging: Super Jewel Box
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. On-Screen Lyrics
  2. Photo Gallery
Extras Review: The first of two special features is the on-screen lyrics section. Unfortunately, when listening to the DVD-Audio version, the listener must advance each page of lyrics manually. Even more odd is the fact that the lyrics do advance automatically when listening to the DTS version. Nevertheless, I appreciate the ability to view the lyrics on a large screen rather than fumbling through a tiny booklet.

Also included is a brief photo gallery. This brief and unimpressive feature merely contains several pictures of the band and a few promotional shots.

Extras Grade: D+

 

Final Comments

Queen's legendary album The Game comes to DVD-Audio with stunning stereo and surround mixes. This release is a must have for anyone who appreciates great music and compelling surround sound.

 


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