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Monday, November 2, 2015

Fantastic First Level Themes Vol. 3

They say you never forget your first. First kiss. First car. First level of a video game. We're here to focus on that last one. The first level of a video game can say a lot about the rest of the game. It can be a great way to grab the player for invested play time. For a lot of us, not only do we remember the first level because it is the start of a game, but because the music with that beginning level really stayed with us.

Opening Stage (X) - Mega Man X4 (PS, SAT)

Mega Man X3 allowed players to play s Zero for the first time but the experience was extremely limited. Mega Man X4, the series first 32-bit outing truly let you step into the shoes of the Red Ripper. X and Zero play vastly different from each other. X is a long range fighter with his X-Buster while Zero prefers to get up close and personal with his Z-Saber. The duo also have their own distinct opening stage themes for X4. Zero's theme is fine and all but nothing gets me ready to take down robots like X's action filled theme.

Ground Theme - Super Mario Bros. 2 (NES)

One of my personal favorite Super Mario games plays vastly differently from the other games in cloth. This is of course, due to the fact that Super Mario Bros. 2 was cut from a different piece of fabric. Even so, much from Super Mario Bros. 2 ended up becoming series staples and the franchise is all the better for it. The early Super Mario entries often reuse the same music for stages but when you've got Koji Kondo writing the score, repeat material isn't a bad thing. Super Mario Bros. 2's Ground Theme is super catchy and upbeat and I can't imagine throwing veggies at Shy Guys on outside levels without it.

Tropical Resort Act 1 - Sonic Colors (Wii)

What's this? No opening story cut scene before playing the first stage? Nope. Sonic Color throws you into the action right off the bat. Contrary to popular belief, good Sonic titles have come out since 2006's abomination known as Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic Colors is one such game. A mix of 2D and 3D gameplay, Colors is widely regarded in the Sonic fandom as one of the blue blur's crowning achievements. Sonic games have always had outstanding musical scores and Colors is no exception, bringing back remixed versions of each zone's opening act. And on the note of opening act, Colors has a pumping one with Tropical Resort Act 1. It truly captures the feeling of a lively theme park.

Paternal Horn - NiGHTS into dreams... (SAT)

Back when SEGA was willing to be more innovative and take risks, we got games such as NiGHTS. Despite being an on-rails style of game, NiGHTS features some of the best use of flight in video games. Elliot and Claris each have their own levels, complete with their own music themes for those levels. Paternal Horn plays in Spring Valley, which is Claris' first stage and is a wonderful opener for the great NiGHTS music to come. If you missed NiGHTS on the Saturn, the HD remake is up for grabs on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade.

Caught Red Handed - Mighty Switch Force! (3DS, Wii U)

There's been a prison break and the only one capable of catching the blonde Hooligan sisters is none other than brunette Patrica Wagon. I always get goose bumps whenever I find out Jake Kaufman is attached to a game. The man has a phenomenal gift for composing soundtracks from chiptunes to modern melodies. The first Mighty Switch Force! is home to some pretty jovial, dance-inspired music and its all kicked off with the very first level, or incident, as the game likes to call them.

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