For one reason or another, my roommate and I recently got the urge to play through all of the Donkey Kong Country games, 100%, one after the other. The first DKC was fun, as always, and went down quite quickly; Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest took a bit longer though. It wasn’t just that the game is longer and more difficult than its predecessor, it’s that it also got us to stop several times just to appreciate the music. Even in this age of fully orchestrated soundtracks, DKC2’s small selection of MIDI themes still sounds incredible, and Stickerbrush Symphony might just be among the best of the bunch! Continue reading Resonance: Stickerbrush Symphony
Ever since I made a certain deal with a friend of mine, the only game that’s been on my mind lately has been Okami. It’s a game that I’ve only played through once, despite how much I enjoyed it during my time with it. It’s actually another one of those games that I’ve been meaning to get back to for the longest time, but never have for one reason or another (you know how it is). Actually, it’s been so long that I’ve almost completely forgotten the game. The characters, the story beats, the music, it’s all gone. I did just recently remember one song from the game though. One so awesome that it was able to linger in this foggy memory of mine while all the rest faded completely. This song is: “Battle of Orochi II” and it’s absolutely magnificent! Continue reading Resonance: Battle of Orochi II
Chrono Trigger is an exceptional game. Many people who’ve played it (perhaps even most who’ve played it) will say that it’s an excellent game; some even go so far as to call it a masterpiece of the JRPG genre. I absolutely agree with that sentiment, but I feel that “exceptional” is the best word to describe a game like Chrono Trigger. Not because it just so good, but because there’s so much that sets it apart from peers like Final Fantasy VI or Super Mario RPG. Its battle system is unique. The way it uses and treats its characters is unique, and its soundtrack is something special in itself. It’s not just that the songs are great, but that they also used with such impact. Each one feels just right for each use and one in particular is always able to draw out the feels, even when you know it’s coming. That song is known as “At the Bottom of the Night.” Continue reading Resonance: At the Bottom of the Night
It’s probably been at least four years since I last played Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars at this point, and yet I can hum just about any track from it almost effortlessly. Earlier this week, The Duck of Indeed made a post talking about how having a lack of nostalgia for Super Mario RPG may have hampered their experience with the game, and that got me thinking. I grew up with this game, and yet I never really thought about what it was that kept me coming back to it. The battles are fun and the world is interesting, but not in any way that I’d say is particularly special. My conclusion then was that it was the game’s music that made it a timeless favorite, and “Fight Against Kajidoh” especially.
The original BioShock really did have an incredible cast of characters didn’t it? The likes of Andrew Ryan and Atlas stick out the most, but the more one thinks about the game, the more characters pop back into the ol’ memory. There’s Brigid Tenenbaum, the repentant scientist; Yi Suchong, the one whose reach exceeded his grasp; J.S. Steinman the mad surgeon; and then there’s Sander Cohen the regretful artist. Sander Cohen is unique in this group though, as his motivations are somewhat unclear and the game leaves it to the player to decide what his agenda is. For a long time, I thought he was simply another madman. Madness is rather common in Rapture, so it wouldn’t be all that surprising to find that it had taken an already eccentric creative and sent him over the edge. However, that opinion changed once I took a closer look at his character theme: “Dancers on a String”.
I’m of the opinion that Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest is home to one of the best soundtracks of the SNES era. It just has so much variety to it. In one section we’ve got the tense exciting tones of a high-seas adventure, while in another we get the claustrophobic tension of trying to navigate a dank and deadly castle. The music also compliments the game in a way that I don’t notice very often. See, it’s very easy to line up a game’s tone and/or style with it’s music, but how often would you say that you’re able to relate the music to the game’s pacing? Probably not very often. Pacing is a difficult thing to identify outside of story beats, yet the music of DKC2 is allows us to do just that, and I’d say that “Forest Interlude” is a excellent example of this. Continue reading Resonance: Forest Interlude
It’s not all that unusual for a piece of game music to affect someone. Really, that’s kind of what this whole “Resonance” series is about: the songs that affect us and stay with us for one reason or another. What I do think is unusual is for a piece of video game music to affect the player in the exact same way that it’s supposed to affect the characters on-screen. The Elegy of Emptiness is one such song. Continue reading Resonance: Elegy of Emptiness