Game Music, Indie Music, Reviews

Just Subtract 84! 100 Rogues Soundtrack (Review)

April 18, 2012 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook Just Subtract 84! 100 Rogues Soundtrack (Review)on Twitter

It was the next step in the evolution of game music. After the hardware-created “chiptunes” of the NES era, the sound banks of FM synth reigned supreme on the SNES. And while we don’t find as much chic or nostalgia for the super lo-fi synth restrictions of the 16-bit days as we do the hardware emulation of chiptunes, it’s great to see today’s composers make use of that strange and wonderful musical palette.

I am talking about the music of Keith Burgun and Blake Reynolds, both of Dinofarm Games, in their first major title, 100 Rogues (available on PC and various mobile platforms). After the jump, our review of the game’s soundtrack.

As the name suggests, this is a roguelike game, complete with RPG elements, and in the style of Japanese roguelikes (see Shiren the Wanderer). The soundtrack for this game matches the visuals: namely, neo-SNES. 16-bit domination, people!

If you think of the soundtrack as an homage to the 16-bit era of music, this soundtrack passes with flying colors. What I really love about it is that it feels like all the SNES and Genesis music that was OUTSIDE the big RPG franchises of those consoles (FF, Phantasy Star, Shining Force). I heard inklings of soundfonts like those you’d hear in 7th Saga, LiveALive, Paladin’s Quest, Langrisser (Warsong), and of course, the SNES Shiren the Wanderer. Brilliant sound work: really warmed my heart.

From a sheer compositional standpoint, I’d describe it as “effective” in a strictly utilitarian sense. That doesn’t mean that you want find anything subtle, sublime, or artistic in the collection of audio. I was particularly impressed by the two opening tracks, the neo-baroque invention “Deeper Down the Dungeon Depths,” and the earworm-catchy “Hell.”

This same team of designers/composers is working on another game coming later in 2012 called Auro: The Golden Prince. Here’s hoping that we see these folks continue to grow in terms of success and talent. In my mind, they’re already off to a great start.

You can pick up this soundtrack for free (name-your-price, I recommend throwing a few bucks whenever people offer this) at Dinofarm’s Bandcamp page. May even more retro glory come our way when Auro is released.

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