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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Favorite Tunes #60: Lethal Lava Land

Hot, hot, hot, HOT!!! What would video games be with out the obligatory fire level? Probably a lot more friendly but since there's usually a ice stage or world in games, there must be balance, so like it or not, fire levels are here to stay. Here's a selection of some of my favorite tunes from some of gaming's most dangerous areas.

Blaze Heatnix Stage - Mega Man X6 (PS)

You may have heard that Mega Man X6 is an awful game but not believe it for yourself. I was once one of those gamers. Then I actually played the game and found out firsthand that all the horrible things fans had said about it were true. Blaze Heatnix's Stage is a perfect example of why X6 is an abomination sin of game. You spend most of the stage fighting one mini boss four times. Said mini boss has a stupidly long life bar and it takes forever to kill him each time. The only highlight of the stage is Blaze Heatnix's level theme, which is a good contender for the best fire level theme in the entire X series.

Hell Prominence - Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)

I'm sure some of you are having a double take at this track's title. But according to the Super Mario Galaxy Original Soundtrack, the official title of Metly Molten Galaxy is called "Hell Prominence." But enough about the title. Anyone that's played Super Mario Galaxy has some fond and probably not so fond memories of exploring this lava filled galaxy. One of the better times we all had in this galaxy? Mario flying from an exploding volcano that he just barely escaped as this theme pumps out of your TV speakers. Heck yeah!

Lava Reef Zone Act 1 - Sonic 3 & Knuckles (GEN)

In this game, Sonic & Tails enter most zones falling. Thankfully they don't scorch their buns on lava as they drop into this intensely heated first act of Lava Reef. Zones like this and Hydrocity make you ever so thankful for the game's elemental shields. The Fire Shield is an absolute must in this area.

Volcanic Rim - Super Street Fighter IV (PS3, 360, 3DS)

The first time I heard this them was when I was fighting the bosses of Street Fighter X Mega Man. ARival's 8-bit rendition was quite good so when I started playing Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, I was pleased to hear the original version, which is also contained in the game's Menu theme. The Street Fighter IV games included a lot of arrangements of classic Street Fighter songs but I'm glad there was plenty of original tunes as well.

Corona Mountain - Super Mario Sunshine (GCN)

Without a doubt one of the hardest games in the Super Mario series, Sunshine's final area, Corona Mountain starts out brutal. You're on a boat that moves via water shooting directions from FLUDD. The slightest collision with anything causes the boat to get wrecked. Did I mention said boat is sailing on a huge pool of lava? Want the blue coins in this area for 100% completion? You're probably going to lose a lot of lives going after them. The fight with Bowser is a complete joke. The real challenge is getting to him.

Hot-Head Bop - Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (SNES)

The pinnacle of the SNES Donkey Kong Country trilogy, DKC2 also has the best music, scored David Wise. This may very well also be the hardest of the trilogy. Even if you don't go for the optional Lost World levels, DKC2 can cause controller throwing fits. As much as I love this game, I've never been able to finish, though it's been over 10 years since I've tried so maybe I should take another crack at it.

Hades - Gradius IV (ARC)

Gradius IV may not do anything special from previous or other entries in the series, but it's still one of my top Gradius games, with solid shoot 'em up action and some fantastic music. Of all of Gradius fire based levels, Gradius IV has the toughest that I've come across. Like most Gradius fire levels, the top and bottom of the screen contain hot death, but numerous times throughout the level, things get screwy with the top and bottom of the screen getting wobble, causing the fiery terrain to try a more direct approach at killing you.

Solar Inferno (Solar Man Stage) - Mega Man 10 (WW, PSN, XBLA)

It's weapon set may not be as robust as the previous game, and it certainly has some of the strangest set of Robot Masters. But I still favor Mega Man 10 over Mega Man 9 because I have far more fun with it. A nice move of Capcom was bringing back one person that had previously composed music from the last eight console Mega Man titles. Yasuaki "Bun Bun" Fujita is  responsible for Solar Man's stage theme, a huge fan favorite.

Volcano Valley Act 1 - Sonic 3D Blast (SAT, PC)

Richard Jaques. His name may not be the first that popes into one's mind when they think of Sonic music, but he's still responsible for some of the greatest tracks in Sonic's extensive audio history. He was brought on board to write the music for the Saturn version of Sonic 3D Blast, which was later ported over to PC. The Genesis version's music is vastly different from the Saturn version and while I feel both have good soundtracks, I prefer the Saturn's music to the Genesis version.

Volcanic Cave - Monster World IV (GEN)

The only game in the Monster World series I've played the most of and quite possibly the best game in the series. Monster World IV can be played on the Wii's Virtual Console, Xbox Live Arcade or PlayStation network and is one of the few import games to be released digitally to get an English translation. Much of the music is derived from the game's excellent Main Theme. Sometimes arranging a theme over and over and grow repetitive but in the case of Monster World IV, hearing variations of this theme never gets stale.

Favorite Tunes Database


Voltech said...

I've never (EVER) been a fan of lava levels, but the tracks you've got here really help ease the sting of heading to such regularly-unpleasant levels. I have to give my kudos for tossing in Lava Reef Zone and Volcanic Rim; those songs are -- if you'll let me purloin a certain Shakespearean phrase -- "mondo cool".

Also, Hell Prominence? Not gonna lie, you called it; I definitely did a double-take. Does Nintendo know about this? Won't somebody think of the children?!

Reggie White Jr. said...

Fire levels aren't high on mys list of favorite things in video games either. Ditto for ice stages.

As for Hell Prominence, I was also surprised when I saw the track title, but it makes sense in the context.