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Friday, October 19, 2012

Favorite Tunes #32: Platform Edition

It's music from one of gaming's finest genres, platformers in this edition of Favorite Tunes.

Rock Solid - Conker's Bad Fur Day (N64)

Originally titled Conker's Twelve Tales, Conker underwent a huge overhaul. No longer a cutesy platformer, Conker's Bad Fur Day featured foul language aplenty, tons of sexual themes, and a plethora of crude humor. It ended up being a fine platformer but due to aforementioned content and Nintendo's firm family friendly policies at the time, advertisement for the game was limited, which was a contributing factor to poor sales. Conker's BFD isn't just one of the best looking games on the N64, it's one of the best sounding games to boot. Rare always knew how to work magic with the N64's sound chip, as evidence with games like Blast Corps, Jet Force Gemini and Banjo-Kazooie. Rock Solid could be blasted at an actual dance club, which is fitting because in the actual game, this song is played at a dance club.

Planet Wisp Act 1 - Sonic Colors (Wii)

Sonic games were improving on the consoles with Sonic Unleashed, a game that wasn't perfect but was leaps and bounds better than the train wreck that was Sonic 2006. Sonic Colors further improved blue streak's reputation with solid 3D platforming and tons of 2D sections reminiscent of the early Genesis titles. Colors also boasts one of the best soundtracks of all the 3D Sonic titles, with different arrangement of the act themes. Lots of fans love Planet Wisp Act 1. One listen to this tune and it isn't hard to figure out why. It's incredibly soothing. There's also a portable version of Sonic Colors on the DS, but it's far outclassed by the Wii version.

Exotic Pyramid - Kirby's Return to Dream Land (Wii)

A game 11 years in the making, Kirby's Return to Dream Land is Kirby's triumphant return to the traditional style of Kirby gameplay on Nintendo consoles. It may not be as visually impressive as Kirby's Epic Yarn (a splendid game) but RTDL is easily the better title. The soundtrack is packed with remixes of classic Kirby themes and lots of brand new music. Raisin Ruins is the obligatory desert world in RTDL and of all the sand levels I've played in platformers, this is definitely one of the funner sand filled lands to romp through. There are a number of themes that play in Raisin Ruins but Exotic Pyramid is certainly the most lively of the bunch.

Snow Overworld - Super Mario 3D Land (3DS)

If there's a Nintendo handheld, you best believe that soon or later, Mario will be there. In the case of the 3DS, thankfully, it was sooner rather than later. The 80$ price drop on the 3DS helped move units, sure, but Super Mario 3D Land was even more incentive to pick up the portable. It's not only one of the best selling 3DS games, but the fastest selling portable Mario. I'm not terribly fond of ice levels in platformers, but they weren't too shabby in 3D Land. That hummable Snow Overworld theme certainly didn't hurt.

Sky Station Galaxy - Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)

I'm in the camp that feels that Super Mario Galaxy 2 isn't quite as good as the first Super Mario Galaxy. Even with all the left over ideas that Galaxy 2 used from the first game, it still seems like a heavy feeling of deja vu. This isn't to say I think the game is no good. Quite the opposite. The second Galaxy title is a fantastic platformer and a wonderful entry in the Super Mario series. There's some reused music in Galaxy 2, but thankfully not nearly as much as New Super Mario Bros. 2 reused themes from New Super Mario Bros. Wii. The Mario Galaxy Orchestra was brought back to compose music and the new tunes were every bit as good as what we'd heard in the first game.

Boulder - Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (PS)

For a time, Crash was Sony's unofficial mascot. These days, Crash can be found on nearly every console and handheld and Sony seems to be doing just fine without him. The first Crash Bandicoot game is known for it's absurdly high difficulty and that's even if you aren't going for 100%. Developer Naughty probably caught wind of this because Crash Bandicoot 2's challenged was toned down considerably. Without doing a 100% run, I managed to finish the game in about a day and half, much to my surprise. But despite the game being easy, I still enjoyed Crash 2. During the snow levels, if you weren't running from a huge polar bear, there was a boulder hot on your heels.

The Windmill Song - Klonoa: Door to Phantomile (PS, Wii)

Originally released on the PlayStation in 1997, Klonoa was a remarkable 2.5D platformer, staring the titular hero who used his ring known as the Wind Bullet to pick up foes and throw them at other enemies or use them as a boost to perform a double jump. The game also had a shocking ending that many were not expecting from a game of this caliber. The game would be re-released on the Wii in 2009 under the name Klonoa with the visuals receiving a fresh coat of paint. Music in both the Wii and PS version is exactly the same, and for fans of the original, that's probably a good thing. It may be kind of difficult (and pricey) to find a copy or the PS original so you're better off downloading it off the PSN or picking up the Wii remake.

Sea of Serendipity ~ Lums of Water - Rayman Origins (PS3, 360, Wii, Vita, 3DS)

Do you have a snoring problem? You might wanna get that fixed. Otherwise you might end up waking the dead, cause a sorts of problems for everyone around you and have to go off on a crazy adventure with your buddies through gorgeous, well designed but brutal stages. Don't take my word for it. Ask Rayman and his pals. Rayman Origins is one of the best games of 2011 that few have played and it breaks my heart. The game can now be purchased on the cheap so I highly recommend you pick up this challenging platformer.

Treasure Trove Cove - Banjo-Kazooie (N64)

A straight-laced bear teamed up with a smart-mouthed bird? That's gotta be the craziest idea for a team up I've ever heard. And yet, Rare managed to make it work. While heavy on the collecting, Banjo-Kazooie was such a fun game with wondrous worlds to explore that all the Jinjos and jigsaw puzzle pieces really didn't bother me. The game's second world, Treasure Trove Cove takes place on an a beach so it naturally has theme that reminds one of fun in the sun. Just stay clear of the shark.

Primordial Ooze - Ape Escape (PS)

Apes have escape and it's up to you to nab them all. Thankfully, they aren't flinging their fecal matter at you, but due to the helmets they wear that increase their intelligence, you may wish they did. Originally released on the PlayStation, Ape Escape was remade on the PSP with some enhancements like smoother visuals and remixed music. The music in the PSP version is quite good, but I'm one of those old fogies that prefers the original audio.

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