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Friday, February 22, 2013

Favorite Tunes #48: Living in the City

If you're one of those country bumpkins, don't let that discourage you from sticking around for this edition of Favorite Tunes. After all, not every theme mentioned here is based around big city life. Why, some of the best city-like themes belong to those of towns and villages and not all of them come from RPGs.

Village - SimCity (SNES)

Before all of those tall buildings, crowded streets and whining citizens, you start out with a blank field that evolves into a village. Soyo Oka's theme for the village reflects the calm, quiet nature before your village erupts into a metropolis over time. It makes you wanna forget all about your troubles and chill.

Dragon Roost Island - The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (GCN)

Toon Link is my favorite incarnation of Link and the Wind Waker has one of the most unique visual styles in the whole Zelda series. Even today, the game looks gorgeous. The HD remake on the Wii U should make this GameCube classic look even prettier. The game had some very memorable locations to visit like Dragon Roost Island, a island that had a theme so good, it was included in Toon Link's stage in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

Spagonia Hub Night - Sonic Unleashed (PS3, 360, Wii, PS2)

Traveling the world to make it whole again, Sonic also works day and night to rid himself of his Werehog form and help his companion Chip recover his memories. Like the first two Sonic Adventure titles, there's a hub world for each location but depending on which version of the game you play, you can either transverse these hubs on foot or just instantly warp to your destination of choice by selecting it on a mini overworld screen. One thing each version of Sonic Unleashed does have is a superb soundtrack and this includes the day and night hub themes.

Martial Law - Final Fantasy VIII (PS)

Responding to a request from SeeD's headmaster Cid, Squall and company head to Timber, Rinoa's city. Timber has been under martial law for nearly twenty years since the Galbadia forces invaded. Naturally, a resistance force has risen up but it hasn't been very effective. The name of Timber's background theme, Martial Law, comes from Timber's state of being.

Castle Town - Lufia & The Fortress of Doom (SNES)

The Genesis had some good RPGs with the Phantasy Star series and LandStalker, but the SNES was the console to get your RPG fix. Not just from Square Enix, but from other companies like Taito, who gave us the first two entries in the Lufia series on the SNES. The game only has a handful of town themes but all of them are quite good. I'm very fond of this one.

Some Like it Red Hot - Viewtiful Joe (GCN, PS2)

A beat 'em up with a twist. Viewtiful Joe and can speed up and slowdown time to his advantage. Viewtiful was slated to be one of the Capcom five but it was later ported to the PS2 where Dante and Trish of Devil May Cry fame were made playable characters. The PS2 version also got another difficulty setting called Sweet. In Japan, sweet means naive. Ouch.

Karariko Village - The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES, GBA)

The third game in the Zelda series, A Link to the Past returned the series to it's overhead perspective and style of gameplay of the original. For a lot of fans, this is considered the best game in the Zelda series. It's certainly one of my favorites. Karaiko Village is a nice, quiet place where Link can gather a few items, collect information and avoid combat. So long as you don't talk to the wrong villagers. This village theme was arranged twice in Ocarina of Time, but I've always liked the sound of the original more.

Apt. 102 - Kirby's Epic Yarn (Wii)

When you aren't piecing Patch Land back together, a neat time waster is decorating Kirby's apartment and playing mini games with the neighboring tenants. This music sounds like something they'd play on a sitcom or in a book store. Come to think of it, it'd be perfect for Barns & Nobles.

Fourside - EarthBound (SNES)

Fun, serious, weird and downright creepy, EarthBound has a bit of everything. At a time when most RPGs had mid evil settings, EarthBound was set in modern times but lacked the same visual polish of games like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI, which could be one of the reason it was overlooked upon release. But those that did play it were treated to a RPG experience that couldn't be found anywhere else on the SNES and to this day, the EarthBound series has a strong cult fan following. For my money, Fourside has the best city/town theme in the whole game.

Down Town (3st. BGM) - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (ARC)

Back in the day, this was THE reason to go to the arcade. Konami's TMNT beat 'em up let up to four players beat the crap out of an endless wave of Foot Soldiers and other recognizable characters from the 1987 cartoon series. The music was just as good as the beat 'em up action and contained numerous riffs of the TMNT theme song.

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