Earthbound | Deep Darkness

Amazing VGM: The Eye Awakens a Jungle (Earthbound)

How surprising that I have yet to make an Amazing VGM entry on my favorite game of all time. Yes, I have covered something from Earthbound Beginnings, The Halloween Hack, and Cognitive Dissonance, but not Earthbound itself. Anyway, I am going to be covering one of the more underrated tracks in the game, the area theme for The Deep Darkness, “The Eye Awakens a Jungle,” also sometimes titled “The Deep Darkness,” by Asgore apparently.

What I always liked about this track is how much more intimidating and imposing it sounds than the softer atmospheric tracks of Earthbound, yet it still maintains the same odd distinct feeling that the rest of the soundtrack holds, thus giving off a more direct, yet still somewhat subtle approach to atmosphere. That menacing opening greatly captures the intimidating and dangerous nature of the jungle with blinding darkness.

Those drums, aside from sounding like Ghestis’s battle theme, capture the feeling of the dangerous side of nature by sounding like the theme to a monster movie, and… whatever the hell that leading instrument is… represents the discomfort one must feel while trudging through a neck high disease filled swamp filled with lord knows what kind of disgusting substances, while fighting off giant sentient piles of vomit. Those violins in the second half emphasize just how unpleasant it must be to actually be making one’s way through this area. You are starting to get very close to the end of your journey, and this is likely the most traumatic part of it yet (except for maybe Poo’s Mu training). Of course, that just shows how determined our heroes are to see this through to the end.

It is these kind of atmospheric details why Earthbound has always remained my favorite game despite Undertale, NieR Automata, and The Beginner’s Guide, all being games released within the last few years that came pretty close; I have never played any game that captured atmosphere and immersion quite as well with such an expansive world. This game captures the sheer emotion and tensity of the scenery with graphics that were technically not even that great for the system. But there are also other versions of this track to cover, starting with the arrangement from the official soundtrack album in Japan.

This version is basically a higher quality arrangement. You can hear each of the instruments A LOT more clearly. Not much else to say other than that I could imagine this playing in an enhanced remake of Earthbound on a more recent console.

This here is the version from the GBA port of Earthbound included in the Mother 1+2 compilation. The key difference here is that it seems to be slower, and it has a higher emphasis on the percussion, but I like how they were not afraid to make this one sound slightly different from the original so they could better optimize it for the GBA sound hardware. It is nice to see when so many GBA ports butchered their music *cough* Lunar Legend *cough*

Anyway that is about it, there was also the MIDI Piano version that was also on an album, but I cannot find any ways of downloading it. It is an alright piano arrangement but I don’t think it’s necessary to go too far out of my way to find it.

Anyway see you next time.

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