Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Let's Listen: Don't Press Start

at 3:54 PM
Game music assists role play, getting you in the mood to take on the role of Samus, Toejam or Master Chief. If Streets of Rage was accompanied by the Parodius soundtrack, the tone of Axel's mission would be entirely different.

The music that plays before you even start up the game occupies a special role, introducing you to the role and preparing your mindset before you get a chance to take it on.

Donkey Kong Country 3

Are you ready for an energetic funtime adventure? That's what this track asks you, the player. My feet are a-tappin', and I'm ready for this to be a fun game.
It takes an already strong track, the bonus theme from Donkey Kong Country, and gives it a new coat of paint. In this case, the opening song is drawing on the memory of a previous game to set the tone, but the track is also good enough to stand on its own--otherwise, it wouldn't be worth remembering from the first game.
Also worth noting is that this is one of the few tracks on the DKC3 OST composed by David Wise. You can view the game's intro to accompany this song here.


This one breaks the rules a little. Yes, it's an introduction tune, since it plays before you play the game, but you can't press start to skip it. This is the loading theme for Sanxion; you'll hear this every time you boot it up. I don't know how much of it plays before you get to the actual game, but I've heard it's pretty bad.
Which is a pretty good thing in Sanxion's case. Within the first 30 seconds, you've got an extremely hummable hook. You'll hear that hook quite a bit, but different phases keep the tune fresh. For instance, I don't think there's any particular reason the breakdown at 1:21 is followed by the haunting bit at 1:29, but it maintains the rhythm and general mood of the song, so I'm happy. It keeps coming up with new bits right up to the 5:36 completion time.
The job of Sanxion's loader tune is to keep you interested in blowing up space ships while it loads the actual game, however long that may take. In that sense, this is a great tune.
Also, those interested in focusing on some awesome SID drums should stick around for 2:19.

Crusader of Centy

For these writeups, I like to lead with something catchy, put the stuff I'm not sure about in the middle, and close with the cream of the crop. In its four minutes, Crusader of Centy's opening manages to cover a wide scope, from foreboding omens (0:00) to a world of temporary peace (1:20), finally ending on a grand sendoff to adventure. And there's plenty in between.
Fantasy commonly relies on a storied setting to draw readers, and that's what this opening theme affords Crusader of Centy. The tune strings together a series of moods, taking the listener on a journey through the land before so much as creating a save file.
And it does a good job of matching the tale told by the opening scrawl, as you can see here.

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