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Secret of Evermore – “Greek Temple” (Jeremy Soule)

May 9, 2010

This is the first Daily by Jeremy Soule (pronounced like ‘cool’), and it is from his premier soundtrack, Secret of Evermore (1995; HG101 also has a great overview of the game). This unique title was created by Square USA as one of the few SNES RPGs that never saw release in Japan. The game is about a young kid from the ordinary American town of Podunk, who opens up a portal to an alternate world created by scientists in the 1960s. The boy and his dog travel through time, beginning in the prehistoric era and heading through the ancient Mediterranean and Medieval era to the future. Along the way, the boy gives hard-earned wisdom from countless the B-movies he’s seen. The game featured a real-time battle system similar to Secret of Mana/Seiken Densetsu, but featured an alchemical magic system rather than a mana-based system. While there are many great songs in the game, I have to pick “Greek Temple” (aka “Collosia, Chamber 1”) as my favorite. Oh yeah, the album also has awesome cover art that doesn’t look a thing like the boy from the game!

Secret of Evermore – “Greek Temple” (Jeremy Soule)

“Greek Temple” plays in a giant temple to the south of a bronze-age city modeled loosely after Ancient Greece. The harp and strings provide a cool, atmospheric base to the dark temple, filling the long corridors that fade into darkness. The flute adds highlights to the space, whistling through the dark to evoke curiosity and wonder. Some buzzing percussion (0:54) adds to the spell and makes full use of the stereo. Soft and calming, “Collosia, Chamber 1” is certainly a keeper. Soule arranged the track in the official Secret of Evermore album.

Soule’s debut soundtrack is amazing. A good number of the tracks in Evermore are quite memorable, just as the game itself stands out for its uniquely American feel so many years later. The humor and charm is definitely Western, and while the game did not receive the fanfare of other Square titles, it’s definitely worth looking into. Listening to the soundtrack recalls so many memories of the game as well as a new appreciation for the audio: Evermore has a wonderful collection of ambient pieces, especially “Ambiance: Nobilia Market”, which contains voices and animal sounds. There is also a large number of atmospherically minimalist tracks – that is, music that eschews melody forĀ ambiance. This is a fresh change from the standard fare of most games from that time.

Soule felt that games could be greatly enhanced if their musical scores were improved – something that media theorists know quite well (good audio will make a poor quality image seem much better – so NEVER skimp on the audio!). As such, he created a demo album to show to Square; a case of the right talent at the right time, Soule was quickly snatched up by Square USA and put to work debugging Final Fantasy VI for its USA release before jumping head on into scoring Secret of Evermore. Soule’s classically trained music background and knack for composition has since lead to a long and prolific career, including such classics as Icewind Dale and Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion.

One other memory that sticks to mind: Evermore was a glitchy game, my copy moreso than others. I managed to crash the game several times by spamming “Stone Hand” on a boss (the puppets, to be specific), which eventually pulled up a save screen. I saved in the middle of the battle, creating a glitched slot name, but now whenever I pull it up, I can start in the middle of a fight. Crazy! I just wish it didn’t crash whenever I tried to get the hidden spell in the castle…

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