Game Music, Reviews

All Hail The Conquistador! Jamestown OST (Review)

February 29, 2012 | | 2 Comments Share thison Facebook All Hail The Conquistador! Jamestown OST (Review)on Twitter

After awarding a strong 2nd-place finish to the Jamestown soundtrack under our OSVOSTOTY indie games category, I noticed we didn’t have a proper review of the soundtrack on the site. Shame on us!

I’d like to quickly rectify the situation by telling you why I think this particular collection is so wonderful, and how it shows the ability of the “indie” market to compete toe-to-toe with some of the established franchises in peer genres (in this case, we’re talking CAVE shmups).

All that and more, after the jump!

For reference, the tracklist:

01 Prologue
02 War Upon the East Frontier
03 Journey Into the Dark Sector
04 Truth Stands Revealed
05 Prisoner of the Badlands
06 Turning the Tide
07 Secret Mines of New Madrid
08 Lost Temple of Croatoa Suite
09 Confrontation
10 Conquistador
11 Epilogue
12 Credits
13 Farewell
14 Chyptune

Also, listen along on Bandcamp (free streaming, $5 for purchase if you missed it in the Indie Game Music Bundle!).

These fourteen songs, all composed by Francisco Cerda, make for a perfect listening experience. Particularly in the context of the game. When you have a scrolling shooter, you know exactly how long the piece should be (unless there are breaks in the middle for mid-boss action), and thus you can write the piece in relation to the in-game experience, including zone transitions. This is especially true in the case of track 3, “Journey Into the Dark Sector” (transition @ 1:09), and it is the hallmark of the final stage music “Lost Temple of Croatoa Suite” — which is a whopping 9 minutes of sheer aural glory.

The soundtrack can be described best with two simple words: orchestral, upbeat. Jamestown itself is a strange shmup about an alternate history/universe where the British and the Spanish compete to colonize Mars, in the 1600s, with flying wooden ships and other steampunk-ish technology. Using high-quality soundfonts, Cerda weaves brilliant musical melodies into the action-heavy bullet hell game, but it’s more pop orchestra because of all the percussion, as well as the occasional electric guitar solo/decoration.

True, percussion isn’t always present: especially for the cut scene music between levels. But for the most part, the soundtrack relies on incredible rock/pop drum beats and fills to keep the momentum alive. And, for as awesome and “artistic” as this soundtrack is, it retains a very “classic VGM” feel. Fans of the sort of disco synth orchestra work found in many CAVE soundtracks (think opening stage to Deathsmiles or some of the less techno-ish tracks on IBARA) will immediately warm up to this OST.

As a bonus for all those chip-heads out there, the track “chyptune” is a nice 3 minute medley of melodies from the soundtrack, all fully chipped. It sounds totally fantastic (think Mega Man). I’d love to hear the entire soundtrack in 8-bit.

As such, I give this soundtrack an extremely high recommendation. I don’t want to declare every soundtrack I like to be a “must-have,” but this (alongside Bastion) is about as close to “must-have” as I can imagine, and it’s selling for a great price. Do not miss out.

Postscript — a personal plea from this writer to Final Form Games: please make a sequel, make it happen quickly, and push Francisco Cerda to write even more amazing music for it. I am suffering from withdrawal (and no, multiple failed attempts at Judgment difficulty level will not satisfy me).

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