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Friday, May 4, 2012

Favorite Tunes #8: Town Themes

This installment of Favorite Tunes covers town themes. There's something special about entering a town or a city and be greeted with its theme music. The bulk of town themes tend to be on the calm and cheerful side. But every now and then you'll get a highly energetic melody or a melancholy song to reflect the downbeat nature of the happenings in the town. Whatever the case may be, there's just an undeniable awesomeness to these themes that make exploring towns in RPGs such a treat.

Concert Hall - Opoona (Wii)
Never played Opoona? Neither have I. However, I have had the pleasure of hear it's amazing soundtrack, which boasts contributors such as Manabu Namiki, Hitoshi Sakimoto, and Masahru Iwata to name a few. I would call Concert Hall a stunning piece of music, but that wouldn't even come close to doing it justice. Beautiful, heartfelt, moving, peaceful; there really aren't enough words to describe how much this particular track touches my soul. Make no mistake, the entire Opoona score is grand, but Concert Hall is video game music perfection.

Rogueport - Papere Mario: The Thousand Year Door (GCN)

As a huge fan of Mario, I've played nearly all of his games. I finished Paper Mario years ago and I bought Super Paper Mario late in 2011. This one I've never played because I do not own it. But after hearing this theme, I really want to check this game out and see what Rogueport is all about. What kinda town is it? Is it as lively as this track suggests? I must know!

Welcome to Station Square - Sonic Adventure (DC, GCN)

Sonic Adventure wasn't perfect but it was far from being a bad Sonic game. Generally viewed as the first of the 3D Sonic titles (Sonic Jam, a compilation Sonic title for the Saturn sported a 3D world that you could move Sonic in), this one still has some of my favorite music from a Sonic game. Since you begin the game in Station Square and make frequent trips here, this is a song that you'll quickly become familiar with. With all the people wandering around, the train that departs to the Mystic Ruins, and be located right on a coast, Station Square is a very hustle and bustle city.

South Cape - Illusion of Gaia (SNES)

1996 was a great year in gaming for me. Super Mario RPG, Super Mario 64, and a few games I missed playing upon original release like Illusion of Gaia. Developed by Enix, this action RPG was unique in that it let the hero, Will, who already gets awesome points for being telekinetic and using a flute to fight, take more powerful forms by transforming. Like a lot of SNES RPGs, the game had a memorable musical score, staring out in Will's hometown, South Cape. The seagulls in the background add a great deal to this calming piece of music.

Town - Lufia & The Fortress of Doom (SNES)

The SNES had some fantastic RPGs and not all of them were made by Square and Enix. Taito also got in on the act from time to time. The first in the Lufia series has one of the biggest bombshell reveals towards the game's climax. The soundtrack,  is an excellent reminder of why I love SNES music. Fans of this series argue that this game has superior music to it's sequel, which is actually a prequel to this game. Lufia's first town theme is very quaint and homey, which works just fine for me.

Village of the Elw - Wild Arms (PSX)

One of the first RPGs for the PSX, Wirld Arms wasn't a bad way to pass the time before a steady flow of the genre began to rain down on gamers. By the time you hear this tune, some pretty tragic events have occurred so it's fitting that this theme isn't so perky like the last few towns you've visited up to this point. Or course, it's not really sad either. It's more of a mysterious-sounding tune over anything.

Matrix - Parasite Eve (PSX)

Would you believe there was a time when Square released RPGs that weren't just Final Fantasy games? Parasite Eve combined RPG and Resident Evil elements to create a unique take on the genre. With it's intriguing story and magnificent score by famed composer Yoko Shimomura, it isn't hard to see why Parasite Eve attained the cult status that it did. Matrix is actually a theme that plays when you're going through Chinatown sounds like a sort of industrial, techno theme. Very cool.

Baccarat - SaGa Frontier (PSX)

A long running RPG series, the SaGa games were first introduced on American shores on the Game Boy in the form of the Final Fantasy Legend series. SaGa Frontier marked the first time the franchise was released outside of Japan under it's original SaGa name. Kenji Ito is to the Saga games what Nobuo Uematsu is to the Final Fantasy games. The man has struck gold since day and one and his work on the Saga titles (a series that can be quite difficult) has been masterful across all platforms. Baccarat makes you feel like you're in a huge city at night with bright lights all around. Or at a casino, rolling the dice hoping you'll get lucky. I've never been to Las Vegas but I firmly believe this tune should be that city's anthem.

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