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Donkey Kong Country 2 – “Haunted Chase” (David Wise)

October 21, 2010

Here’s a good way to kick off the Halloween season: ghost pirates. Because ghosts just don’t get much cooler than ghost pirates, especially the Pirates of the Caribbean and Kremling kind. So here we have “Haunted Chase”, one of the more ‘meh’ tracks from Donkey Kong Country 2, only it’s not really that awful because it has great build with the trumpets blaring the game’s pirate theme. Of course, what we really have to ask is what is a mine cart doing in a haunted house anyway? I mean, I could see it in a mine, but did the Kremlings really bother to build a rollercoaster inside a haunted house? It doesn’t even look like he’s trying to catch those monkeys, more like give ’em a high five. He’s just chillaxin’ really. Needs a sword or something. Anyway, this track really needs some lovin’ and that comes through two arranges: “Assembly Line Apparitions” by Protricity and “This Chase is Haunted” by Prince of Darkness.

Donkey Kong Country 2 – “Haunted Chase” (David Wise)

Assembly Line Apparitions” is what you would call ‘industrial rock’ – moniker coming from the heavy percussion which resembles clanging machines. As one of Protricity’s earlier mixes, this one isn’t as well focused, but it does have some nice layering, particularly with trumpet, which has a nice solo past the two-minute mark and pirate piano, which produces a nice atmosphere of skeletal cutthroats sneaking through the mists and shadows. And what pirate mix would be complete without some rock guitars, particularly with a nice solo just past the halfway point. Sadly, the track – just like most of Protricity’s work – feels like it goes on way too long (about a minute or two’s worth). While Protricity is no stranger to the short mix, his early work really starts to cut it.

Much better focused is “This Chase is Haunted” by Prince of Darkness (aka Tony Dickinson) of Contra 4: Rocked ‘n Loaded fame. Dickinson runs live guitar mixes and has been a regular in Dwelling of Duels. He demonstrates his superb guitar work here with intense smack-you-in-the-face-with-an-axe shredding that serves no purpose other than to beat you senseless with guitar madness. The rapidly twittering synth and guitar lines stand in for the clacking wheels of the mine cart. Oh yeah, there’s also some crazy synth just past the two minute mark and don’t forget to check out the cymbal hits past one minute in. Sadly, the piece lacks the screaming pirate melody seen in “Assembly Line Apparitions”, opting for a more subtle mix – though there are some pirate guitar lines at 0:45 and 2:40. The title seems something of a reference to the vgm cover band This Place is Haunted.

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