The Legend of Legacy is one the recent JRPG offerings available on the Nintendo 3DS. Released in January 2015 in Japan and just last month in North America, it’s touted as being the spiritual successor to the SaGa series. The soundtrack was composed by Masashi Hamauzu, and fans of his music will be happy to hear that this soundtrack comes with all of his usual flair and style.
It only takes two to make a trend, right? If that phrase I just coined holds true then it’s been a trendy year for old school game composers making a return to form through the medium of Outrun-inspired mobile racing games. First it was Motohiro Kawashima — lead composer on Streets of Rage 3 — returning for the trippy PlayStation Mobile racer, Oh Deer! (also my first post on OSV). Most recently it’s Barry Leitch, composer of such classic racing games as Top Gear, Lotus Turbo Challenge 2, and the San Francisco Rush series.
Leitch has returned after years away from video game music to provide the soundtrack to — wait for it — a new Outrun-inspired mobile racing game. Horizon Chase has been out on iOS since August but it’s just come to Android which is where I discovered it and its fantastic music. Fans of Top Gear should be especially pleased both with the gameplay and soundtrack. Dodging competitors over undulating terrain and tearing through rolling corners, the music is perfect accompaniment. Leitch’s characteristic arpeggio melodies are updated with modern synths, tinny guitars and just a touch of dubstep. The pacing is perfect and the sound is both new and delightfully cracktro — err, retro.
Leitch sums it up in a recent Kill Screen article by saying, “the stuff I wrote now is the same as back then, but this is finally how I imagined it sounding in my head 20 years ago. Two decades later, you can finally get the music to sound like how you wanted it.”
It’s a bit of a shame that the races aren’t marathon length to give these songs more time to jam. Fortunately, there’s a soundtrack for that, created by Leitch himself and available in physical form from his site. With fifteen tracks and 59 minutes of music it’s one of the longest soundtracks I’ve seen for a mobile game and comes complete with full color liner notes and artwork for $20. I already picked up the game but I just might have to grab the CD as well to keep this fantastic music playing.
Coinciding with this week’s release of the long awaited open-world game Fallout 4, the game’s soundtrack has received a digital release on iTunes. The album contains 65 tracks, all written by award-winning composer Inon Zur.
It should be noted that this album is the orchestral score for the game only, so the you will not find any of the licensed music that’s used for the in-game radio stations on this album. While there’s no official word yet on a physical release or a digital release on other platforms for the soundtrack, you can currently purchase the Fallout 4 OST on iTunes for $15.99.
This week I thought we’d take a break from the electronic dance remixes and listen to something a little more relaxing. The Chrono Trigger soundtrack has a number of memorable and distinct pieces that help make it a favorite of many game music fans. One of the more relaxing tracks from the game is “Secret of the Forest” by composer Yasunori Mitsuda.
Today’s Arrangement of the Week is an ambient electronic remix of the piece, titled “The Depetrification of the Submerged Forest,” by artist Zisotto.
Right from the start the remix sets up a wonderfully tranquil atmosphere. Plenty of resonant and slow building synth effects are present to build a relaxing and otherworldly sound. The piece also takes its time building up. It’s not until the 1’25” mark that we even hear the recognizable arpeggios from the original track.
The remix is also fairly long, lasting almost 10 minutes. Part of this is a result of how long Zisotto waits and builds up the synth instruments and atmosphere. It’s not until around 2’42” that the main melody gains some prominence over the rest of the instruments. However, there’s plenty of movement and consistently fresh elements being added to the remix to maintain the listener’s interest. Most of the ambient tones remain present throughout the whole remix, providing a consistently chill vibe all the way through.
Have any favorite ambient remixes, arrangements, or covers of game music? Share them with us in the comments below. You can check out Zisotto’s “The Depetrification of the Submerged Forest” on OC ReMix.
When the original Xbox launched with its 10 gigabyte hard drive, one of the uses Microsoft touted was custom soundtracks. I was immediately enamored with the idea after having shoved my own music into several PC games in the past. But what I imagined for the console was more daydream-y than the reality that the Xbox, and even the Xbox 360, delivered.
All I really wanted was options: the ability to tell a game, “these are the songs I want to hear during a fight and these are the songs I want to hear when I’m at a shop”. Sadly, this kind of musical customization is so rare that I completely forgot how much I wanted it until I picked up Double Damage’s Rebel Galaxy. It’s an extra surprising feature to find in a game whose most striking stylistic design is its soundtrack. The typical trappings of interstellar, sci-fi ship combat are set to a melange of grungy rock and blues tunes and peppered with gruff vocals and plenty of slide guitar. It adds a rough ‘n tumble, space cowboy feel to the game which has earned it loads of praise as “Firefly: The Game”.
As good as that music is, when I load the game up and see the option for “Custom Music” I simply can’t proceed until I try out something new. It’s not as boring as “here’s my music library, play something”, that’s the stuff Xbox consoles have been able to do for years. Instead, you can define the music used during combat, when docked at stations and when idly flying around the universe; you can even set the title screen music.
Appropriately, the first thing I did was set the Firefly theme for the title screen. Fitting. Mark Mancina’s score to SPEED worked well for combat and Ghost Monkey’s soundtrack to Zen Bound perfectly set the ambiance of space cruising. Simply slotting in albums doesn’t always make for a smooth fit as I’m sure you can imagine. So now I’ve moved on to compiling a collection of songs fit for Space Business and I’m getting close to spending more time curating than playing.
It’s a fun obsession, though, and one I’ve been waiting a long time to indulge in. Ironically, I may have curated a soundtrack that’s more typical of the genre but it’s only my first attempt. It’s full of bombastic orchestral battle themes and twinkly strings and percussion. You can check it out in action above. Like the urge to create that Super Mario Maker inspires, the ability to bring my own creative touches to this game has sent my imagination running. I’ve got all kinds of ideas for new soundtracks to play around with now. Even if it only amounts to a handful of unfinished playlists it’s been fun playing a sound designer of sorts for the last few weeks.
What about you? Have you ever injected your own music into a game? Built a custom soundtrack on a console or swapped out the music files in a PC game? Leave a comment and let us know.
A tribute arrangement album titled Prescription for Peace has been released by Scarlet Moon Records and features the renowned duo of Metal Gear Solid composer Norihiko Hibino and AYAKI, also known as Gentle Love, paying musical respect to the late Nintendo President, Satoru Iwata.
“It’s with great sadness and respect for the recently departed that Scarlet Moon Records makes available a soulful musical tribute to late Nintendo President and CEO Satoru Iwata and renowned musician from the Niigata region of Japan Eiki Oshimi. Prescription for Peace: A Tribute to the Departed features GENTLE LOVE, the musical duo comprised of Metal Gear Solid series composer Norihiko Hibino and pianist AYAKI, and covers the Onett theme from EarthBound–also known as Mother 2 in Japan–a title that Mr. Iwata had a significant role in developing. The second track, “Sincerely Yours,” pays tribute to Mr. Oshimi, a musical mentor to the Hibino family who passed within a few days of Mr. Iwata.
The tribute is being sold for $1 to cover licensing fees to Nintendo with any additional revenue generated to be donated to the American Cancer Society. It’s available now from LOUDR and from other digital retailers”
Part of the “Prescription…” series of empathetic and soul-soothing arrangements, Prescription for Peace is a fitting memorial to the beloved Iwata-san.
One of my favorite things about searching for remixes and arrangements for videogame music, is that it often leads me to discover music from games that I’ve never even heard of. Today’s Arrangement of the Week selection led me to one such discovery.
The “Desert Castle Theme” is a piece from the Nintendo 64 game Chameleon Twist. The game is a 3D platformer that stars a blue chameleon, named Davy, who traverses the game’s difficult levels by using his incredibly long tongue. Despite owning an N64 back in the 90’s, I don’t recall ever seeing or playing this game. So it was a cool surprise to find a track from the game being covered by metal remix artist ToxicxEternity.
As with many of the other metal remixers on YouTube, ToxicxEternity performs the various parts of his creation on camera, with gameplay footage displayed behind him. Like the original piece, the arrangement opens with a few chord riffs before launching into the melodic material. The melody itself transfers quite well to the electric guitar and doesn’t receive a whole ton of embellishment, which I actually like in this instance. There are a few dramatic flourishes added during repeats of the melody, but each iteration sticks fairly close to the original “Desert Castle Theme” track.
Most of the build up and improvisation comes during the last section of the piece. Around the 2’03” mark ToxicxEternity turns his focus on the opening chord progression, with some rapid arpeggios building on top of the accompaniment guitar riffs. A few synth instruments come in as well around 2’55” before the arrangement starts to wind down. All in all, it’s a simple and well polished metal arrangement that highlights the music of a lesser known game soundtrack.
Have you discovered any cool game soundtracks through metal remixes, arrangements, or covers? Let us know in the comments below. You can check out more of ToxicxEternity’s metal videogame covers on his YouTube channel and you can support more of his work on Patreon and Twitch.
Every Halloween, you can always expect a a good assortment of spooky-themed game music arrangement projects released to ring in the holiday season. Some sneak out right on the celebratory day itself and capitalize on all your October 31st activities. Here’s a few you may have missed:
Vampire Variations III
The third installment of the Castlevania-tribute project, VV3 dedicates itself to covering the entirety of one of the longer Classicvania OSTs, Super Castlevania 4. Backed by Overclocked Remix and directed again by Alexandre “Chernabogue” Mourey, the album features two disks and 24-tracks spanning the Super Nintendo title. You can grab the album free on the OCRemix page – Vampire Variations III.
Danse Macabre IV: Survival of the Fittest
Another sequel to a previously-created series of arrangement albums, the first three Danse Macabre albums were directed by Erik “Viking Guitar” Peabody and featured arrangements of horror-themes from across multiple media platforms such as movies and TV along with games. This time directed by Big Mat Attacks, Danse Macabre IV keeps itself contained to video game music only, touching upon themes from Clock Tower, FNaF and multiple Silent Hills. The album is Name Your Price and has a good lineup featured. (Disclaimer: I did volunteer the album artwork and won’t be receiving any compensation other than maybe a ‘Hey, that looks neat!”)
A mini-album by tibone, Notte Breve features four tracks from Silent Hill, Ghosts ‘n Goblins, Ghost House and Alien Storm done up in a rock and progressive metal genre and only $1 for all. “The season have changed, there’s a chill in your spine, an uneasyness that grows bigger as the time passes. And one short night can change it all. ”
Did we miss some albums? What were your favorites? Let us know in the comments!
Our final Halloween arrangement, like the Banjo-Kazooie entry, is another piece that is not from a horror game, but rather from a set of pieces that play in a game’s more unsettling environments. For this last Halloween Arrangement of the Week, we are looking at a spooky arrangement of the “Ghost House” and “Castle” tracks from Super Mario World.
This arrangement comes to us from artist CrimsonZeal and is an orchestral reimagining titled “Ghosts of the Marble Hall.”
The piece starts off with the an erie rendition of the “Ghost House” theme. The combination of woodwind arpeggios along with the percussion and strings evokes an appropriate atmosphere for the music’s original setting. The arrangement takes on a more cinematic battle tone once the “Castle” theme kicks in. The main melody is actually present in both source pieces, but the arrangement takes more cues from the “Castle” track, particularly with the strings at 1’25”.
What I particularly enjoyed from this arrangement is the way the “Ghost House” material builds up into the “Castle” music. It’s a great transition that maintains the sense of dread that often accompanied playing through the game’s original levels. Another nice touch is the sudden drop off of the music at 2’30” to a coda featuring the strings. It gives the piece a more somber ending, that I really wasn’t expecting. Overall, a great orchestral arrangement.
Have any favorite orchestral arrangements of your favorite game tunes? Let us know about them in the comments below. You can find and download “Ghosts of the Marble Hall” on OC Remix.
Capcom is giving Japanese Monster Hunter fans a head start on their latest adventure with a special “Hunter Note” package that includes a mini album. Releasing on November 13th — ahead of the launch of Monster Hunter X on November 28th — the book includes three chapters of notes on the game’s four new main monsters, fourteen types of weapons and some strategies for working with other players. It also includes a two-sided poster and a four-track music CD, presumably featuring the themes of the four new headlining monsters.
The tracks will likely be included on the upcoming Monster Hunter X OST but the Hunter Note version will surely be a hard to find collector’s item as it’s only available through Capcom’s loyalty store, E-Capcom. Think of it like Club Nintendo and then get ready to pay a hefty markup on eBay, if these things even make it out of the hands of Japanese MonHun fans.
Spooky Bonus, a Halloween-themed match-3 puzzler from Grey Alien Games, has been kicking around the casual game portals for a few years and just recently made it to Steam. Just in time for my favorite holiday I’ve got a review of its surprisingly luscious soundtrack which would quickly send me hunting for the sound effects volume control. Creep on inside to find out what’s lurking behind the cacophony of puzzle game sounds… if you daaaaaare!
For our fourth Halloween arrangement, we’ll look at another survival horror game from the PlayStation era. Resident Evil 2, or Biohazard 2 in Japan, has a number of unsettling pieces in its soundtrack, but also has a few memorable character themes. This includes music for the female assassin/agent Ada Wong.
Unlike the unnerving atmosphere created by most of the soundtrack, “Ada’s Theme” is calm and ethereal. So it should come as no surprise that it became good source material for an electronic remix. Said remix comes to us from artist ABG, and is simply titled “Ada’s Groove.”
Like the original track, the arrangement opens up with ambient synth pads. The first forty seconds introduces the main instruments that will be used for the remainder of the track. A flute like synth lead, sustained synth pads, piano and synth arpeggios, and some light electronic percussion produce a mood similar to the original but with just a bit more energy and momentum.
This arrangement actually reminded me a lot of the Metroid Prime soundtrack. Particularly the way hybrid of acoustic and electronic instruments build onto one another. My only complaint is that it feels a little too short. What’s present works well, but it did leave me wanting to hear more. Despite this, it’s a great arrangement that builds off of some simple material.
Do you have any favorite remixes, arrangements, or covers of music from the Resident Evil series? Let us know in the comments below. You can check out “Ada’s Groove” on OC Remix.