I’ve been looking at Jet Force Gemini (1999) for awhile. The game is basically all about blasting giant ants and other bugs, which is pretty cool if you’re into that sort of thing (and who isn’t?). I played this game a lot when it first came out, and after listening to a bunch of Donkey Kong Country stuff, I am quite amazed at JFG‘s score. The soundtrack is incredibly epic, with many exotic references such as Russian, Imperial Rome, and of course battles. Plus, the midi used is incredible – the trumpets and drums are exceptionally high quality, some of the best audio I’ve heard on the N64. Really, it almost sounds orchestral. There is also plenty of environmental music integrated into some of the score as well, making it trademark Robin Beanland (Donkey Kong Country series) work. The soundtrack has nearly 3 hours of music as well. It’s really an excellent score. With a score this good, it’s hard to pick a favorite, but one of the ones that stands out most for me is “Mines.”
Maybe I just have a thing for caves, but “Mines” is one of the pieces I remember the most simply because it was so different from the others. The instrumental selection is in many ways similar to Myst’s Stoneship Age with plucking strings and metallic clangs (especially 0:45) that sound like gears turning and hollow bells that toll mournfully. The track plays in the mines as well as on the ocean planet, so there is a sense of a distant, deserted island to this song as well, with waves crashing upon its Atlantian shores. The strings added at 1:25 create a nice progressive section that builds to a WarCraft-like crescendo at 1:55. The loop is over three minutes, and it is a masterful example of Robin Beanland’s work, getting the most out of hardware that was a step above what the SNES could do.