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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Favorite Tunes #123: Better, Faster, Stronger

I cannot believe August is already here. Seems like only yesterday we were welcoming 2015 and now, here we are well into summer with the year more than half way over. 

Attract - Ridge Racer (ARC)

Do people still watch demos in gaming or do most just jump right into the action? I'm assuming its the later, but I personally like to see if the game will go off and do its own thing for a bit before returning to the title screen. Ridge Racer does have a demo sequence and with it is a unique track that can only be heard as said demo sequence plays. Kinda of a shame you can't race around the track with this sucker playing but at least you can watch the game look badawesome doing it.

Chrono Trigger is an RPG masterpiece devoid of random encounters, a memorable cast of characters and an engaging plot spanning multiple eras. While Yasunroi Mitsuda took the lion's share of soundtrack compositions, Final Fantasy music big wig Nobuo Uematsu as well as Noriko Matsueda did contribute to the game's marvelous sound work. This is one of Uematsu's tracks.

This is my personal favorite game in the entire Gradius series, spin-offs included. Development duties were handed off to Treasure and they did a spectacular job keeping the feel of Gradius well in tact. Even on the easy setting, Gradius V will beat the player into bloody submission. Hitoshi Sakimoto is mostly known for his work on RPG soundtracks but he's no stranger to writing music for SHMUPs. Having worked on Radiant Silvergun and Magical Chase among others, he was an excellent choice for Gradius V's music. 

Way back in Favorite Tunes #63, I made the first mention of music from Riviera: The Promised Land, but from the GBA version. The PSP version takes advantage of the system's capabilities and pumps out some excellent arrangements. This was already a powerful piece on the GBA and it was greatly enhanced on Sony's handheld. 

The 3DS version of OutRun is arguably the best version of the game to date. You can play at 30 or 60 fps, use multiple screen options, and there are even options for screen tilting to emulating the rocking of the sit down cabinet. There are also two brand new songs using the sound hardware from the 1980s OutRun so they don't feel out of place.  

The arcade version of Street Fighter EX already had a pretty good soundtrack. When it was ported over to the PS, Akira could have left well enough alone but they went the extra mile and arranged all the tunes. The result? The PS version o SFEX+@ soundtrack owns the arcade version for free. The new character themes turned out exceptionally well and I'm a huge fan of Stronger.

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