this mix has been a long time coming. i’m continually cataloguing all the great video game music i hear in the games as i finish them, and so this collection is one i’ve been working on for all the games i played in 2006 (w/ the exception of x-men legends which i couldn’t find any music from; no big loss there). i think there’s a natural tendency to look down on soundtrack music in general and video game music in particular, but i’m a big fan of all kinds of video game music, including the relatively primitive blips and bleeps of the early games. i’m amazed at how much those composers especially were able to pack into their music, and hopefully that comes across in some of the tracks i’ve picked out.
a lot of these tracks are so short that i sort of organized them into mini-suites which in some cases sort of outline a story, oftentimes helped by the titles which are more often than not quite hilarious. the whole link’s awakening segment was particularly fun to put together, with such track titles as “let the journey begin!”, “marin sings the ballad of the wind fish”, “the moblins took bowwow!”, “mysterious forest”, and “monkeys build a bridge”. i have to particularly mention the “marin sings” track which is just a solo line but is amazingly poignant, at least i find it to be. no doubt a fair amount of my enjoyment of this mix comes from recalling the particular moment in the game each track comes from, but i’m fairly sure that even if you hadn’t played any of these games there’s still such a strong sense of character, action, and atmosphere that you’d still find something to enjoy. the mix is inadvertently a nintendo-only mix, due to the fact that i’m a nintendo fanboy, although the 2007 edition will have a bit more variety.
video game mix, vol. 1
1 jun ishikawa . kirby’s dream land 2 (GB) . title; coo’s theme; kirby wins
4 yuka tsujiyoko . paper mario: the thousand-year door (GCN) . peach gets the map
5 ozaki/totaka/hamano/k. ishikawa . the legend of zelda: link’s awakening (GB) . sword search; your sword!; let the journey begin!; marin sings the ballad of the wind fish; the moblins took bowwow!; mysterious forest; monkeys build a bridge; full moon cello
13 ando/ikegami/sakai/kitsuta . super smash bros. melee (GCN) . challenger!
14 koji kondo . SSBM (GCN) (orig. super mario bros. 2) . mushroom kingdom ii
15 shigeru miyamoto . SSBM (GCN) (orig. donkey kong) . hammer
16 kondo . SSBM (GCN) (orig. super mario bros. 2) . mushroom kingdom ii finale
17 kondo . SSBM (GCN) (orig. super mario bros.) . mario’s victory
18 junichi masuda . pokemon red/blue/yellow (GB) . rival appears; geodude; bellsprout; cycling
22 kondo . super mario sunshine (GCN) . particle entry; level select; pinna park amusement; shine get!
26 hirokazu “hip” tanaka . balloon fight (NES) . balloon trip/stage intro/etc.
27 kazumi totaka . super mario land 2: 6 golden coins (GBA) . macro zone; level start; athletic; bell/level clear!; bonus chance
32 hajime wakai . pikmin (GCN) . discovery of onion; carry, fight, increase and be eaten; night comes; new record
36 totaka . animal crossing (GCN) . load your game; go k.k. rider!; rainy day; 9 pm
40 nagata/wakai/minegishi/kondo . the legend of zelda: the wind waker (GCN) . sacred shrine; forsaken fortress invasion 1
42 steve henifin . eternal darkness (GCN) . the chosen
43 composer? . ninja gaiden: shadow (GB) . twist of fate/shadow; stage 2; defeated; garuda; stage clear
48 totaka . luigi’s mansion (GCN) . title screen; dark rooms; sucking up weak ghosts; room lighting up!
52 hirokazu ando . super smash bros. (N64) . duel zone; all clear
54 hidenori shoji . f-zero gx (GCN) . long pre-view (course view 2); osc-sync carnival (lightning)
56 kenji yamamoto . metroid prime (GCN) . title; data selection screen; samus aran’s appearance fanfare; phazon radiation; underwater frigate reactor core; samus’s farewell
another gaming first (this year has just been full of ’em) was beating my first sega genesis game, sonic the hedgehog which i played via the sonic mega collection on the gamecube. as you can guess this was also my first sonic game. like super mario world (which in NA came out just two months later) i’d tried out sonic 1 in the toy stores but o/w had never actually played through it. i have to say that i’d never actually even been that interested in sonic, but i got more interested due to a friend of mine in college who was a sega fanboy and obsessed w/ him, so much so that he dressed up as him for halloween. it’s gotta be a pretty rare sight to see a black guy w/ hair dyed blue and wearing red and white shoes running around, bumping into walls and dropping change. and of course my interest took a big leap when it was announced that sonic would be joining super smash bros. brawl, and so being the completist that i am i figured to begin my closer acquaintance w/ sonic i should start at the very beginning.
my mostly unbiased opinion is that overall sonic 1 isn’t a great game. one of the things that i never understood about why people liked sonic so much is that people always talk about how fast the games are, but in fact there actually aren’t that many opportunities to let loose and really zoom through a stage, especially since a lot of the time if you zoom past something you end up having to backtrack anyway. and without the speeding ball of hedgehog gimmick the game pretty much becomes just another platformer. and even after playing through the game i’m still not into the “get hit once and lose all your rings” setup, which isn’t much of a step above ghosts ‘n goblins’ get hit twice and die MO.
there are several “moments of brilliance” in the original, though, such as the bonus stages and some pinball-esque parts w/ sonic bouncing off of bumpers, and particularly the star light zone which does a better job than most of the rest of the game of making sonic’s speediness work w/ the level design. but in general aside from some great character design and graphics and music there wasn’t a whole lot to keep me interested. being a little disappointed i read up a bit on sonic 2, which generally seems to be regarded as the best in the series and seems to do a fair amount to remedy most of the problems i felt were in the original. i actually spent some time taking a “spin” through sonic 2, and already i can tell that i’m going to like that game a lot more. so w/ that said, hopefully the sonic fanboys won’t hate me too much until i post my assessment of sonic 2 and either see the light or give up on sonic completely.
some sonic links:
– walkthrough at IGN that includes the info on how to get continues
– cheats at IGN
– recent reviews on IGN of the XBLA release and the wii VC release, the latter of which also has a good review at vc-reviews.com
– endings at vgmuseum.com and video of the good ending at youtube
– list of the xbox 360 achievements for the game
– entry at strategywiki.org including a guide to the badniks
– entry at wikipedia
quick review of warioware, inc.: mega microgame$! which i finished a couple weeks ago, even though i’d played through smooth moves recently. the original made me appreciate the changes made for the wii version, and having played the wii version first it’s prob. no surprise that i found the original to be much more limited. still, i was kept entertained for the most part, and 9-volt’s games were awesome of course, and i’m still interested in what the other warioware games have to offer. w00t. (how’s that for a microreview!)
– thorough FAQ at IGN
– run-down of unlockables at IGN
– guide at IGN
– entry at wikipedia
so i’m sure i’m not the only one who worked his way through fire emblem: path of radiance in preparation for the release of fire emblem: radiant dawn, its sequel. this would explain my hermit-like state for however long it took me to finish the game, a state that was uncannily similar to when i was playing fire emblem: the sacred stones and when i was playing the first US GBA fire emblem. by now i’ve learned my lesson that i should only start playing these games when i have a lot of free time.
despite being my 3rd fire emblem game (in some six months no less!), i found the experience to be as compelling as ever. the support conversations are still one of my top motivations for playing, and there were enough minor changes to the already compelling gameplay to keep me obsessed. i particularly liked one of the bigger changes, having half-beast characters with their advantages and limitations, although i can easily see why most people don’t seem to be fond of them. one area that i think the series could improve on in general are more ingenious level design, perhaps with different goals. but otherwise, even though it was pretty easy overall (maybe b/c i’m so far from being a rookie nowadays but also i think b/c of the addition of bonus experience), i had a great time. and if you were wondering, my dream team was: soren, boyd, kieran, nephenee, ike, ilyana, rhys, marcia, mia, and rolf. i’m def. chomping at the bit to play the new game, which was just released this week, but four fire emblem games in six months might be a wee bit much … you think? in any case i’m def. looking forward to seeing ike in brawl.
links of radiance:
– serenes forest: an amazing, amazing site. i don’t know how i missed this when i was playing the other games, but maybe the site was temporarily down at the time. so much great info here, including translations of the “ancient language”, info on in-built support bonuses (not mentioned in the instructions at all), wallpapers, sprites, bonus tables, the works. will be coming back to this again and again.
– good guide at gamerhelp.com
– FAQ at IGN
– guide at IGN
– marimbamonkey14 has some fantastic fire emblem fan art on deviantart.com
– the official site doesn’t have much, but it’s there if you’re obsessed with everything fire emblem (ahem …)
– there were some other fire emblem sites i mentioned in my previous posts that also have some good info, most of which can also be found on the aforementioned serenes forest
one of the main complaints about the wii is that the current library of must-have titles is fairly small, which was one of the gamecube’s biggest problems. the wii has only been out for a little less than a year, but just when i was starting to get worried more developers have announced wii titles, hoping to capitalize on the wii’s phenomenal success. from a business standpoint it makes sense for them, since wii titles will be significantly quicker and easier to make. in any case hopefully we should see some big changes soon.
regardless, this holiday season isn’t looking too shabby, which for the wii includes the release of fire emblem: radiant dawn, the sequel to fire emblem: path of radiance. there was a minor ruckus on IGN’s fire emblem message boards due to bozon’s egregiously rushed (and in my opinion completely unprofessional) review in which he dismisses the game on the grounds of it being a sequel and provides little to no detail about the game itself. in fact, the conspicuous lack of detail has led more than one reader to wonder whether he even played the game, which for such a respected site is just, in a word, pathetic. i am in no way exaggerating when i say it’s one of the shabbiest reviews i’ve ever read on a professional site. hopefully this doesn’t indicate IGN is jumping the shark, but this has been a big blow to their credibility and has lead me to a conveniently apt nickname for bozon, provided by simply removing the last letter of his name. i’ve been getting more and more disappointed in IGN’s reviews which seem to confuse aesthetic preferences in game design with unique and quality game experiences. the radiant dawn review reflects this, and casamassina in particular keeps complaining about games like zelda not featuring voice acting when the creators have made it clear that it’s an aesthetic choice. time will tell how loyal i stay to IGN, but in the meantime i’ve already started spending more time at other sites like 1up.com and i’ve always enjoyed the reviews at gonintendo.com. i also find myself often agreeing with the reviewers at nintendo power, so i may spend more time reading that as well.
well, that was a longer editorial than i’d meant it to be. i’ll split off what i was actually going to write about to make archiving more convenient.