Secret of Mana – “The Oracle” (Hiroki Kikuta)October 22, 2010
“The Oracle” is actually a giant Dark Lich who has become the pure evil form of the evil sorcerer Thanatos. Thanatos was trying to…I guess achieve world domination by controlling the Mana Fortress and killing everything on the earth (which makes no sense because who are you going to rule if everyone is dead?). Part of this evil scheme involves turning people into zombies and taking over the body of some poor bastard with the ridiculous name Dyluck who seems to stumble into traps and get captured for no good reason. (I’m not really a big fan of the story.) I guess the Dark Lich reappears in Seiken Densetsu 3 (sequel to Secret of Mana, or Seiken Densetsu 2), but I’ve never played that game.
Anyway, “The Oracle” is an incredibly creepy tune that plays in the penultimate boss fight with the Dark Lich, and the music is sort of thing that might be played by a hardcore emo with prayer wheels. The instrument selection is like that of a Buddhist temple, only it has been twisted and perverted to become an evil incantation that sucks you in with a sinking miasma of decay. There are some incredible prayer drums here, replete with distortion, discord, and industrial percussion; there are also strange grumblings and munchings in the background. The main melody is played on bells and heavy guitar riffs, with the bells in the latter half plotting on spider’s legs and ever-rising hackles. It’s not really a pleasant tune, but it’s got enough force and distortion to make it an interesting piece – especially if you were a kid at the time you played this. It’s up there in my mind with Sigma’s theme from Mega Man X as a boss theme that was memorable – just not as awesome as it was back in the day.
“The Oracle” is actually prefigured in “Ceremony“, which uses discordant bells and gongs to create a rather nauseating plunge into zombie-infested dungeons. It’s Happy Halloween!