GoldenEye 007 – “Cradle” (Graeme Norgate & Grant Kirkhope)July 9, 2010
One of the things that defines the James Bond series is its excellent soundtrack. Espionage, sneaking, and hip action are all elements present in James Bond, which in large part defines the genre of ‘spy’ music. When Rare made GoldenEye 007 (1997), composers Graeme Norgate and Grant Kirkhope (along with Robin Beanland) implemented a musical style that matched the overall feel of the series on the Nintendo 64’s midi sound system. Of course, GoldenEye is more famous for its redefinition of the FPS genre, with an extensive single-player mission that introduced stealth, objectives, and the sniper scope, in addition to a well-polished deathmatch mode that is still popular today in some circles.
“Cradle” is my favorite piece in the game (second to “Dam”, the opening stage). It’s a nice piece of jazz rock that stands out for its excellent piano work that dominates the lower notes on the keyboard. This groovy piano provides a base for the melody, which is highlighted by dramatic notes from the string section, and a few notes from the “James Bond Theme” (“Dam” is based primarily on this song). There is also a ticking clock through the percussion, which together with piano and strings grants the level the sense of urgency and fighting against a clock ticking towards impending doom.
Graeme Norgate began his run with Killer Instinct on the SNES but eventually left Rare with the splinter group that formed Free Radical Design. Some of his other credits include Jet Force Gemini and the ill-fated Haze. Grant Kirkhope is still at Rare. He has composed the Banjo-Kazooie series along with Donkey Kong 64 and Perfect Dark.