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It’s late Monday night. Have some video game music.

09/08/2011

Not only do I have unpopular music opinions, but I also carry around a fair amount of unpopular game opinions. One of them being that StarFox Adventures is a pretty great game. One of the best on Gamecube actually. My favourite Star Fox game in fact. Pardon me as I find a safe place to duck under while you begin to pelt me with various objects.

What I fell in love with the game was its atmosphere. At the time it was released it was one of the most beautiful games ever and gorgeous, lush colours really made the whole experience look amazingly vibrant. Combined with the rather memorable and excellent level design, this resulted in a really strong feel that lasted throughout the game. It was a world you wanted to get lost in, one where you could just stand for a moment and marvel the moment. The fact that it combined this with the Saturday morning cartoon feel just made it even better – it has its darker sides but most of SFA is quite light-hearted and cheesy, and in a good way. The sort of way you discover a lot of your favourite childhood cartoons were filled with, which is a part of their charm. The game had its flaws: rushed and rather awkward ending, some dodgy voice acting here and there (where the corniness wasn’t so charming anymore) and the godawful shooting sections in Dragon Rock. But otherwise it was, and is, a great little game. And Fox is cute…

That said, this is a music blog and not a video game blog. Incidentally, I’ve thought about making one quite often but then I realise that filling my schedule with even more writing when I already have periods of neglecting this blog would more or less slaughter me. But, to get back to the point, this is a blog and the sole reason why this spur-of-the-moment entry exists is because I can drop some Youtube links to StarFox Adventures’ rather excellent soundtrack, which was another major part of the game’s excellent atmosphere.

One of the reasons I like the score is because it moves away from your generic orchestral scores that are getting more and more prevalent these days. I don’t have anything against orchestral scores per se, but you have to have a really bloody excellent one to genuinely stand out. Any lesser than that and you’ll just end up having the same standard stuff that about couple bazillion other games and films use. SFA moves away from all of that and instead takes a more percussion-driven, tribal-feel path. With some great results.

The menu tunes definitely set the tone from the get to. That little synth string part that pops up every now and then is one of those additions that are really simple but really excellent.

Then of course there’s the tunes forever engrained to the mind of everyone who ever played the game: the Thorntail Hollow music, the soundtrack for the first proper area of the game and one of the central hubs. Massively catchy in both of its daytime incarnations (we’ll return to the night time in a moment), first one because of its sorta-iconic vocal track and the second one with the overwhelming percussion.

The game had a night/day cycle which most of the time made little gameplay difference. A limited few areas however had different music tracks for the night and they’re ambient heaven. The Thorntail Hollow night song is one of my personal favourite game music pieces, and the Shackled Snowhorn one is almost as soothing and beautiful.

Krazoa Palace, one of the game’s central locations where you return the spirits you collect throughout the plot, has a suitably mystic feel to it. Key highlights: the final minute when it really gets going, and the final 20 seconds or so when it just becomes beautifully ethereal. Lasts too short dammit!

As the final piece for the night, I present you the Ocean Force Point Temple melody in all its wonderful floatiness. Fits perfectly the ocean blue setting of the titular temple.

 

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