Archive for April, 2010

h1

NSFW: Spelunker – “You Just Fucking Died” (Mustin)

April 30, 2010

You can play this one loud, but obviously not at work ūüėõ It’s a good track from OverLooked ReMix’s SPLUNK! (2008) project, a remix album of crappy music from one of the crappiest NES games ever made. While the premise of exploring a giant cave in search of treasure you would think makes for a good game (Spelunky, anyone?), simply too many things went wrong with Spelunker (1983, 1985) to count. Basically, if you fall about half the character’s body height you die (and there are many more methods to count, including death by shallow hole, ghost, water, and bat poop). And then the game over music will still play for a few seconds after the character has respawned, making it easy to die again if you’re not paying attention. Mustin does this¬†great justice in a song that became instantly legendary. That accent and “The Final Countdown” really ties the whole thing together ūüôā

Spelunker – “You Just Fucking Died” (Mustin)

Anyway, the whole SPLUNK! remix project can be downloaded from their wonderful flash site. Now as you’ll soon find out, simply leaving the mouse lying around will allow the ghost to come up to the pointer and eat it. And you can’t click on a link with a ghost on the pointer, which means you can’t download the music! You have to actually struggle to get it!

OverLooked ReMiX is kind of a shadow site to OverClocked ReMix, posting, odd and comedy tracks. They’ve done a few projects of their own. Their mission: to entertain, annoy, heckle, and insult video game fans. Fun, fun! Joke songs seem to have caught on as an underside to vgmixing. Dwelling of Duels has even done a joke tunes months.

Mustin is part of a band called The OneUps. They’re one of the first US bands that started selling game music remixes commercially. It’s kind of weird because remixing in the US started off as a free and slightly underground thing, but now it’s a bit commercialized thanks to groups like The Minibosses, Armcannon, and The OneUps.

Advertisements
h1

Castlevania – “Be in a Belmont” (Div and the Divs)

April 29, 2010

Here’s another song we can definitely say is not vgm (but is about games, so it fits here). It’s a bunch of guys complaining about how much it sucks to be a vampire hunter. The song was made back in 2005 by the UK high school ska band Div and the Divs for their album Tea (a quite British title). They seem to be nonexistant today, as their Myspace page (the only remaining record of their existence) has not been updated in five years (so THAT’s what Myspace looked like five years ago!). Don’t even bother with their homepage – it just pulls a 404.

Castlevania – “Be in a Belmont” (Div and the Divs)

Actually, this video here is a ‘speedy speedrun’ I made (basically a speedrun playback sped up to fit the length of a song so you don’t have to watch the full length – the most popular one is a Super Castlevania IV clip set to “Travel Demon“). I was surprised to find out it’s been syndicated on YouTube (as in, someone re-uploaded it). This speedrun was by the almighty Phil and Genisto; even though there’s a faster speedrun out there, this is the best in terms of tricks. Incidentally, I made another version of their speedrun set to “Scourge of 1691”, but YouTube won’t let you upload a file that’s longer than 10 minutes.

While I can’t really say that Div and the Divs were any good (pretty much all their music sounds like this), the sort of depressed, blue-collar English accent really does work well with the complaining (as well as the alcohol references from craftily-placed bottles of holy water). And of course he’s complaining despite the fact that the Simon in the video is ripping through this game. (Castlevania is even harder if you have a copy that likes to freeze halfway through Death’s level.)

h1

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link – “Crying Alone in the Darkness” (Pixelated)

April 28, 2010

“I remember the other day I went right instead of left, and I probably shouldn’t have done that…” [NSFW for language]

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link – “Crying Alone in the Darkness” (Pixelated)

Link finds himself lost in the Great Temple at the end of his quest. What will he do? Will he save the Princess? Or will his blood be spilled over Gannon’s ashes to revive him? Sadly, this is the worst official Zelda game, mainly because of its poor difficulty balance (a sword the size of a butter knife isn’t terribly fun to use against six-armed guys with huge swords). I still don’t know how I ever beat it, but the ending is quite different from the other Zeldas.

This is really more of a narrative layered over a synth mix of the “Great Temple” theme (again, the voice level is a little low – this is probably the last poor recording I’m uploading). ¬†To technically, it’s not VGM. Rather, it’s more stupid crap dredged from the archives of VGMix 2. Anyway, you could probably do something funny like this using Facebook journal entries.

Also: Season 3 of Legend of Neil will finish shooting by this weekend, so there will be some new episodes up next month! I guess this will just have to hold you over until then…

h1

Mega Man II – “Anymore” (BlackPerson)

April 27, 2010

What would happen if videogame heroes got fed up with their jobs?¬†“I quit!¬†I am tired of this game!¬†I quit!¬†And I don’t wanna be¬†MEGA MAN ANY-MORE!” This song came from good old VGMix 2.0. Anyone else remember those golden days?

Mega Man II – “Anymore” (BlackPerson)

If you hadn’t guessed the theme it’s based on, try “Metal Man”. It’s actually kind of funny, too, to think of Dr. Light and Mega Man as black dudes.

Sadly, most of BlackPerson’s recordings have pretty poor audio (this is one of the better ones) and 128kbps encoding didn’t help either. Guess he needed a better mic! Oh yeah, the double ending is too ridiculous. However, it’s still pretty funny! (Especially for a slightly disgruntled Mega Man fan.)

h1

8-Bit Mondays: Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins – “Athletic” (Kazumi Totaka)

April 26, 2010

Kazumi Totaka (Link’s Awakening, Virtual Boy Wario Land) has made some pretty memorable music in his time, but one of his classics is the fondly remembered¬†Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins (1992) for the Game Boy. It also appears to have been his debut! [Edit: Nope – that was X on the GameBoy.]¬†It’s another nice soundtrack that never saw an official release (seems to be a pattern with Totaka’s stuff). The “Stage Music 1” or “Athletic” main theme is one of the most memorable tracks, and a good fit for today’s 8-bit Monday.

Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins – “Athletic” (Kazumi Totaka)

The “Stage 1 Theme” is nice, bright, and cheery, with Mario going about his merry way in the open, sunny world of Super Mario Land. The “Athletic” themes are for obstacle courses, the various platforms and enemies players must overcome to reach the goal. The ‘guitar’ and drums create a very dynamic base line, building the forward momentum over which the main melody is layered. It’s a quite memorable song built along a solid foundation of long notes that is leisurely melodic and instantly hummable – you could easily add your own lyrics. Classic Mario.

This was also the time when Nintendo composers were experimenting with theme and variation for Mario games, with the various level themes containing a few notes and variations of the game’s main theme. Previously, Koji Kondo had done this with Super Mario World (1990), but Totaka did this as well for Super Mario Land 2, including a hilariously creepy underground variation and a waltz-like version for the Space Zone that is clearly inspired by 2001. Even the boss music has a take on the theme. In fact, only a few levels have their own themes (“Space Zone 2” and the hip “Wario’s Castle Stage Music/Final Stage” being notable exceptions. It’s almost as if Totaka and the other developers had wanted to musically make the second half of the game unique and unexpected.

Oddly enough, there seems to have been very little Mario Land 2 remixing going on, aside from the funkadelic Super Mario Land 2:¬†Tremendous Achievement (2008). It’s a bit much for me, but I do enjoy the “Final Stage” remix by Willrock, which was just released on OCR a couple weeks back. There was also some funky mixing going on in Super Mario Compact Disco: Ambassadors of Funk Featuring M.C. Mario (1993), but I don’t have a copy of that one.

h1

Persona 2: Eternal Punishment – “Seven Sisters High School A” (ATLUS)

April 25, 2010
“Seven Sisters High School A” is a nice easy listening piece from Persona 2: Eternal Punishment (2000)¬†with smooth acoustic guitar and piano with a nice cello midline. The guitar lays the foundation as a rolling baseline while the piano layers on top like butterflies floating in air or water trickling down a stream. It’s slightly nostalgic. The dark underside of the world is forgotten as sunlight streams through the classroom windows to create a place of peace and learning. The track is divided into four parts, first an intro with a hollow wooden ‘pong’. The other three sections are defined more by changes in the texture of the guitar than the overlying piano melody, which smoothly transitions between segments.

Persona 2: Eternal Punishment – “Seven Sisters High School A” (ATLUS)
My brother has insisted that there really aren’t many good tracks in the Persona 2 soundtrack, but this one is certainly worth the listen. The game was composed by a number of people, directed by Toshiko Tasaki, who has been working with the¬†Persona series since the mid-90s, Kenichi Tsuchiya (Shin Megami Tensei III, Persona III FES), and Masaki Kurokawa.¬†There are also two Persona 2 games, though the first has not been released officially in the US (oddly enough, I have a copy of Innocent Sin). The US version goes for quite a bit now, but ultimately 3 and 4 are much better titles.
h1

Myst III: Exile – “Main Theme” (Jack Wall)

April 24, 2010

Myst III: Exile (2001) is a tale of revenge. After being imprisoned by the wicked sons of Atrus and believing his family and world destroyed, Saavedro vows his vengeance. He is somewhat mentally unstable, consumed by his hatred. The “Main Theme” from Exile latches onto this theme and intensely executes it with a brilliant force of power and deliberate, calculating machination. The innocence of the children and peoples of Naranai.

Myst III: Exile – “Main Theme” (Jack Wall)

Jack Wall uses an exotic set of instruments that and a scale that recalls Middle Eastern, along with heroic lyrics of revenge that remind me of Italian opera. The track successfully ties elements of all the different Age and character themes as well as the main themes from Myst and Riven into the characters and cultures of Exile (it is particularly easy to pick out the plucking of Robyn Miller’s Myst theme). Though Wall spontaneously came up with the theme one day, it took a considerable amount of polishing and editing to complete.¬†Wall gives a masterful description of his goals and composition of the theme. Here is an excerpt:

The Armenian Duduk for what I imagined the Maral-Obe might sound like; the Sheet Metal for its haunting mystery; Percussion as there was some drums in the village in Riven, so I wanted to reflect that in this score; and, a choir to represent the Narani people who were so affected by the events in the story.

There are lyrics on this page as well, with both English and the fictional Naranai.

Exile‘s composer, Jack Wall (Jade Empire, Mass Effect 2), is a co-founder of the Game Audio Network Guild. He has a nice¬†homepageshowcasing his work.¬†The soundtrack is performed by the Northwest Sinfonia, responsible for Medal of Honor and Halo 3, among others. The album is the only place where the full version of the “Main Theme” is played.

Exile has some imaginative world designs (including one with a giant rollercoaster you unwittingly construct), but I have to admit it was a bit easy in that I beat it in about a week. The special soundtrack could either be purchased separately or included in the Collector’s Edition of the game (along with a pewter Squee toy, which I have to admit I still¬†have¬†sitting on my desk).