So there is this video game series called “Castlevania.” I’m sure you never heard of it as it’s quite obscure like everything else I cover. In all seriousness though there was a time when Koonami actually made good games and wasn’t obsessed with Pachinko machines and Soccer games. They had many influential and beloved series such as Gradius, Ganbare Goemon, Metal Gear, Contra, Suikoden, and Silent Hill, and not to mention plenty of other cult hits like Shadow of Destiny, Azure Dreams, Zone of the Enders, and other series that I never actually played but will still get weebs riled up by mentioning since no one else knows they exist.
The last time I did a retrospective, it was on Namco’s Splatterhouse series where I reviewed each game individually. I only needed to cover five games so that was more manageable, but the Castlevania series has over 40 of the bastards to cover and I kinda want to do other shit. As a compromise I decided I would start by covering multiple games per article so I don’t need to write a full review for games most of you already have played or know you should play. This does still allow me to touch upon the more obscure and lesser known entries in the series and compare them to the ones everyone likes and mock how inferior they are or make you feel bad about having not played them (mostly the former in this piece). Read more
See, I told you I would go with something happier than last week’s VGM… although I could probably upload the sound of dying kittens and it would be less depressing to listen to then “Sayo-nara” was. But anyway, since the last track seemed to take heavy influence from the “Lavender Town” theme, I decided I would go with the song that plays in the next town in the game; “Celadon City.”
God Phantasy Star III was such a weird game. Its setting seemed to be this weird cross between medieval and futuristic yet never was really set on one, the plot was barely prevalent but what little prevalence it did have was of the “WTF” variety, the poor testing and rushed design ended up with a lot of exploitable bugs or just odd occurrences such as a random enemy that was given that absolute highest possible stats and was stronger than the final boss… but could still be beaten relatively quickly cause it has the same amount of health. The game is an absolute mess and I cannot help but find it fascinating even if the game itself is ungodly tedious.
The music is something that also contributes to the surreal nature of the game. The soundtrack obviously tried to go for a more orchestral approach but trying for symphonic on the Genesis sound chip ends similarly to trying to tell Razorfist he’s wrong; they both just kind of implode on themselves at the mere thought of the possibility.
The resulting soundtrack is one full of tracks that are in the realm of “sometimes work but sometimes don’t.” Some tracks such as “Laya’s World” are actually Read more
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.
Music has always been a very integral part of almost any media. The idea of musical accompaniment to plays dates back thousands of years. In video games, the interactivity means players will precede at their own pace, so the music is often more “full” than in movies. Tracks are often used to signify places, events, or characters in games to set certain tones.
Naturally, one of these tones set is the element of fear. Most of the time, we don’t stop to think about the music used for these sequences. There are some tracks that people will listen to in their spare time for their own enjoyment; these are not those tracks. These are instead songs that, upon hearing them, will leave the listener uneasy and jarred through both their sound and their in game use.
If this hasn’t been made clear already, I LOVE the Lunar series. There is such an undeniable charm to the series that is lacking in so many games, even though they are as standard as JRPGs get story wise. It does seem unfortunate that Game Arts has not created anything that successful since the Grandia series (one that I still need to get to myself), and also that it is entirely likely that we only fell in love with the Lunar series because of Working Designs’ alterations to the script (hence why the scripts for the fan translation of Walking School and Dragon Song were bland in comparison, and why the series has fallen out of popularity in Japan). Anyway, this week’s VGM is the final boss theme of the first Lunar, “Go Go Go!”
Yes I know, I shill for Undertale way too much in Amazing VGM… and in general to I suppose, but mostly in amazing VGM I suppose. But aha, this song technically isn’t from Undertale so I can still make this one anyway. To clarify, this track is not from EarthBound either, nor is it from Halloween Hack, or LISA, or Contact, or Citizens of Earth, or Yume Nikki, or Opoona, or Off, or Boot Hill Heroes, or any other number of EarthBound clones out there. It is related to Earthbound in that it is part of the EarthBound fan album I Miss You – Earthbound 2012 that Toby Fox was involved with and it uses EarthBound’s sound font, but it has not been used in any official release as far as I know. I do hope that Toby does use it in a future project though because this is an amazing track.
The last one of these I wrote was for Undertale’s “Reunited,” and that was back near the beginning of January. Naturally, I’m kind of overdue for an update, and since I took so long, I’ve got a special one for you all.
Instead of covering just one song, I’ve decided I will talk about a bunch of songs from the same game that pertain to a specific character. For those that do not know, Mother: Cognitive Dissonance is an EarthBound fangame of exceptionally high quality that I played for the first time last year. I have already talked about the game before so I will skip that fanfare, but I have wanted to go more in depth about its music for a little while. Its music really is amazing, some of it I may dare say is better than the music of the official games.
Well, considering that this was the week of E3, it would definitely make sense that we got a lot of new coverage about games, of which JRPGs and JRPG influenced games are no exceptions. Since our only new release this week was the Steam version of Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls, we can just jump right in. Read more
This is an Oprainfall link, and an old review of mine for that site. Back in 2014 in fact.
I should note that I incorrectly stated that Hoshi Wo Miru Hito was the first JRPG with a future setting, as there were obscure PC RPGs that had them before it. So Hoshi Wo Miru Hito doesn’t even have that going for it.
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