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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Favorite Tunes #35: Sit Down & Relax / Get Down Edition

Jazz, contemporary jazz and any style of music that helps me relax or sounds soothing is among my favorite type of music. Of course, getting down and getting funky is also great. So naturally, I love it when I hear this kind of music in video games.

Bye-Bye Mars -Take.II- (Stage 3G) - Border Down (ARC, DC)



Released in arcades and later on the Dreamcast, Border Down was a successor of sorts to Taito's Metal Black. The game was never released outside of Japan, leaving G. rev's shooter to be imported among SHMUP fans. The game tends to fetch a high price so if you come across a copy, expect to pay $100 or more. This one could definitly use a digital release on PlayStation Network or Xbox Live Arcade. The sound duties were handled by Yasuhisa Watanabe, Ayako Saso, Yousuke Yasui so Border Down is very rich in the audio. I particularly love this piece of jazz.

Birdman - Pilotwings 64 (N64)



The original Pilotwings was a launch title for the SNES. Likewise, Pilotwings 64 was a launch title for the N64. After skipping both the GCN and the Wii, Pilotwings returned as a launch title for the 3DS. While you can play the first Pilotwings on the Wii's Virtual Console, the N64 version has been left out in the cold for reasons unknown. Birdman was quite the lovely bonus in Pilotwings 64. As fun as it was flying in gliders, rocket belts and gyro copters, you were always flying to earn medals or for the best score. Birdman gave you the chance to explore various areas at different times of the day without any the baggage. On top of that, composer Dan Hess gave us this delightfully smooth jazz theme that's heard while you're playing as Birdman.

Ripple Star - Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards (N64)



The second Kirby game I've ever completed 100%, Ripple Star strikes the player with a nasty case of mood whiplash. The first level is happy and cheerful with bright colors and even brings back the famous Kirby 64 Pop Star theme. Then you go down to Ripple Star stage 2, the Catacombs and one of the most disturbing pieces of music in the Kirby series is playing here. Even Kirby is freaked out by the Catacombs music when you listen to it in the sound Test. Then those feelings of despair vanish when you go to Ripple Star's third level and hear this crazy beat. It's got a bass solo, a drum solo and a flute solo. How awesome is that?

From the East - Gran Turismo 2 (PS)



Much of Gran Turismo 2's licensed soundtrack was underwhelming to me. Outside of My Favorite game, I didn't care for most of it. The original songs composed for the game, however, really took me by surprise. Each area you could purchase cars from had it's own theme music. Shopping in the eastern area played From the East. I came here often just so I could hear this track.

Medici Tower - Skullgirls (PSN, XBLA)



I plan on picking up a PS3 soon so I'll finally be able to play this much talked about game for myself. Thankfully, I've been able to hear the game's soundtrack and it's one of my favorite jazz/electronic scores. Michiru Yamane (of Castlevania fame) was one of the composers for Skullgirls and she really let her creativity show with the jazzy themes, especially Medici Tower.

Jazzy NYC '99 - Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike (ARC, DC)



As great as the classic Street Fighter II themes and the remixes are, I really like it when composers take risks and create new themes. This was done for the Street Fighter EX series and results brought us some fantastic original music. When it came time to do the music for Street Fighter III, the composers opted for jazz, hip hop beats and some drum & bass. Radically different from the music in Street Fighter II to be sure, but it was another bold move on the composers part, one that gave the Street Fighter III games some truly stand out music. It only got better with each updated sequel, hitting the audio peak with the third game in the Street Fighter III series, 3rd Strike.

Air Strike - Command & Conquer (PC, PS, SAT)



I liked the first Command & Conquer even though I played very little of it. Never was too big on the RTS genre but that didn't stop me from picking up a copy on the original PlayStation on the cheap some years ago. The music from the first few Command & Conquer games are my favorites as I found myself liking the music less as the series went on. Act On Instinct, Industrial, Just Do It Up, Hell March, Prepare for Battle; you really can't beat those themes. And of course, there's Air Strike, the perfect Command & Conquer song to wage war to when you feel like mellowing out.

One Night in Neo Kobe City - Snatcher (SCD ver.)



Snatcher has always had some of my favorite music to come from the Japan-only MSX home computer. A game designed by Hideo Kojima, it baffles me that Konami hasn't re-released the game. Pairing it up with Policenauts (Kojima's other baby that isn't Metal Gear) would make for an excellent compilation title, but the way Konami is working these days, it just doesn't seem likely. Snatcher received plenty of love when it came to soundtrack releases (in Japan, that is) and some of the most memorable themes were given gorgeous arrangements. One arranged album, The Cyber Punk Adventure Snatcher -Zoom Tracks- featured a lively jazz version of Snatcher's opening theme song. This same track was used for the opening on the Sega CD version of Snatcher, which marked the first and only time Snatcher was released in America and Europe.

Monkey Billiards - Super Monkey Ball (GCN)



A super simple but increasingly difficult arcade game, Super Monkey Ball was ported to the GameCube and launched along side the console. You might think you're merely moving the monkey towards the goal, but you're actually tilting the level to move him/her. It starts out easy but can reach controller throwing levels of frustration later on. There was plenty to keep gamers busy in the arcade mode but developer Amusement Vision added unlockable mini games that were so fun it was quite possible some would spend more time playing these instead of the main mode. A game like Super Monkey Ball is the last place you'd expect to hear smooth club jazz, but play a game of Monkey Billiards and that's what you'll be treated to.

Competition Menu - Sonic 3 & Knuckles (GEN)



Most players probably spent their time with Sonic 3 & Knuckles hunting down the Chaos Emeralds and turning those into Super Emeralds to access Hyper Sonic/Hyper Knuckles and Super Tails rather than going into the 2 player competition mode. It may not be as meaty as the single player game, but it runs a lot smoother than Sonic 2's 2 player mode. The addition of Time Attack was also quite nice. I can still remember Friday nights as a teen listening to this music as I took my time setting things up. 

3 comments:

Tommy said...

Where have ya been, Reg? I tried e-mailing ya, but I got one of those Daemon errors. And why is it called a Daemon? The beast in the machine?

Anyways, here's what I was planning on sending ya.

"Something I've come across the last few days is sudden game rarity.

When I was at cheapassgamer, someone mentioned Radiant Historia was being sold cheaply on Amazon, but also turns out this was from a reprint run.

So from there, I looked up another game I'd been meaning to buy called Xenoblade Chronicles and I assume the [RP] next to it on Amazon means reprint, and that is being sold in the $65 - 70+ range! Eek!

Then I learned about the court case between Silicon Knights and Epic Games which resulted in SK being told to recall their recent games (Too Human & X-Men: Destiny) and destroy them! @_O

I don't know if this will lead to an artificial increase in price on those games in the near future, but it would not surprise me."

To keep on topic, some of these are new to me, but I've heard of couple as well.

Here's some songs I liked myself that are not on the list.

Ogre Battle: Go Go March (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWwgFEiQsUQ)

Demon's Crest: The Infinite Demon (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjEu5bts4Yg)

Shadowrun: 3 AM on a Summer Night (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ome6XI_KuIw)

Reggie White Jr. said...

Hey, Tommy. My old AIM e-mail got deleted so I use yahoo now. It's agreatguy2581@yahoo.com.

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing..