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Monday, June 18, 2012

Favorite Tunes #13: Fire Themes

I tend to lean more towards ice themes when it comes to video game music, but I've been up and down the block numerous times to know that fire themes are no joke.

One of the best and hardest entries in the series, merely attempting to finish some of the chapters of the game's story mode was enough to make even the sanest man consider suicide. I don't mind telling you that it didn't take long before I simply gave up trying. The GP mode isn't much easier, even though you can take out the competition. F-Zero X gave us some killer rock tunes and GX cranked up the guitars even further. The theme for Fire Field in GX is my fav of all the Fire Field themes in the F-Zero franchise. Gotta love those heavy guitar riffs.

Teaming up with a friend as Mega Man, Proto Man, Bass or Duo to trash Dr. Wily's robots wasn't a bad way to kill a bit of time. The Power Fighters, sequel to the Power Battle may not have been what many would consider a great Mega Man game but it wasn't bad by any means. The endings were also quite enjoyable. As blasphemous as this sounds, I think this remix of Heat Man's theme is ten times better than the NES original. I enjoy the much faster pace of this arrangement and the drums. 

Star Fox 64 turned the gibberish of Fox McCloud and his friends into fully comprehensive dialogue. It also fine tuned the gameplay of the original Star Fox, bringing gamers some of sickest, slickest 3D SHMUP combat they'd ever seen. Solar has temperatures that are so hot it decreases the energy of the Arwings. In order to stay alive, you have to keep shooting the rocks to make rings appear to refill the ships energy. Like a number of themes from Star Fox 64, Sector Y and Solar was given a beautiful orchestral arrangement in Star Fox Assault. 

It's not like I really need to sing the praises of Super Metroid, but it's hard not to. There have been numerous games done in the style of Super Metroid, but many of them haven't done the formula quite as well. This game has it all. Good graphics, good sci-fi elements, an interesting story and some of the best atmospheric music in a video game. When you descend even further to Norfair, you get closer to Ridley. This theme gets me pumped every time I hear it. Norfair Ancient Ruins is the theme of a solider if ever there was one.

One of my favorite games in the X series, Mega Man X4 offers up some of the most memorable bosses, level design and music. Magma Dragoon channeled his inner Ryu and Ken, shooting out flaming Hadokens, Shoryukens and overall devastating flame-based attacks. Suffice to say, taking on this guy from the start, isn't the smartest move, but if you manage to keep your Ride Armor for a good amount of time during the fight, you just might stand a chance. Oh yeah, and his stage music is the stuff of legends.

How can you get your puzzle game to sell that has characters no one knows in it? Step one, kick out those unknown rejects and replace them with the cast from the hit SNES platformer, Yoshi's Island. Step 2, attach the name "Tetris" to the title and you're all set! That's the story behind Tetris Attack, a game that has nothing to do with Tetris. That's OK because the gameplay is so wildly addictive that I can easily overlook the misleading title. The bass in this track is sick.

One of the greatest shooters on the Genesis, Thunder Force III is arguably the best of the Genesis trilogy. Not only is the action sure to wet any SHMUP fan's appetite, the music is right on the money, with a ton of themes that stay with you long after you've finished playing, especially Venus Fire.

The Konami Code was invented for games like Life Force. I didn't know it was possible to die as many times as I did in the span of 17 seconds in the game's third stage, Planet Ratis, a world that is one huge inferno, full of fireballs, fire birds and fire serpents. But worse than any of those are huge, fast moving waves of fire that jump out at you, almost without warning. If you're blinking when one of these things is about to attack, you're probably gonna die. Intense doesn't even begin to sum up Plaent Ratis. Thank God for infinite continues. And the Konami Code. 

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