Skullmonkeys (PS1, 1998) is one of those games that came out in the mid-90s that had really good art design but really generic gameplay. Skullmonkeys used sprites generated from images of claymation, producing a really gorgeous graphical style. Though this type of experimental graphic style can be matched with the Donkey Kong Country series, which used sprites generated from prerendered graphics, the claymation style is something that’s a little underused. Couple this with the awesome concept of Skullmonkeys – that is, monkeys who instead of regular heads have skulls for heads (and with a holographic cover no less!) – and you would think this would be a really cool game. Sadly, the gameplay did not stand up to the graphics – it’s a pretty generic platformer, suggesting the developers focused all their budget on creating really cool graphics without putting much thought into level design. Thankfully, Terry S. Taylor’s soundtrack also builds off the graphical style, and is an entertaining listen.
The Skullmonkeys theme has a really slick bass guitar lead. The ape chanting chanting ‘chorus line’ fills out the middle, evoking an anarchic festival of the godless apes that roam this distant world, jumping out of rock caves and causing all kinds of mischief. There’s also a great break midway through. Of course, there is some high-pitched singing here too, which gives it a lighthearted and exotic feel (maybe somewhere equatorial?) – and let’s not forget the nice lazy accordion! Finally, the grainy audio here is purposeful – it is used to match the grainy feel of the claymation. The track plays on the first level, the Science Center.
Many of the other tracks on the album are insane cartoon pieces, Read the rest of this entry ?