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August 19, 2013

Gaming in Stereo: The Twilight Adventure

 

Do not worry, there are no sparkling vampires here; though there is one of the greatest 3D Zelda titles on display. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is considered one of the best, if not the best (though up for debate) 3D Zelda title. Originally designed to be a GameCube title, the release date was pushed back to make the game a Wii launch title, though there was a GameCube version launched almost a month after the Wii counterpart. Twilight Princess had a darker tone and visual representation than the previous entry in the series, The Wind Waker. Twilight Princess also received a Teen (T) rating from the ESRB, the first in Zelda history. Though despite the darker tones and atmosphere, the game was a blast to play and featured epic dungeon bosses. The Twilit Dragon (Argorok) is one of my most memorable boss fights in a Zelda title. The use of the dual clawshots, the setting on top of a huge spire, the wind, the rain; it felt like it was ripped out of Shadow of the Colossus, and it was epic. I am currently on my second playthrough of Twilight Princess, finally finishing my own personal copy. I am now up to the City in the Sky after putting 8+ hours on Saturday into my most recent game save. The only downside to Twilight Princess is the music was created through MIDI instead of a live orchestra, well we can fix that. Today we will be looking at the Twilight Princess arrangement that was featured on the Legend of Zelda 25th anniversary CD. The track may clock in at just over 10 minutes, but is thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess remains the 3rd best review game in the Wii’s review history (according to Game Rankings) and the second best selling Zelda title and only outsold by the illustrious Ocarina of Time.

 

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Twilight Princess Symphonic Movement – original music composed by Koji Kondo, Asuka Ota, and Toru Minegishi.

This is by far the longest track I think I have posted. Clocking in at just over 10 minutes, it arranges various themes found throughout Twilight Princess. The track ranges from soft tones (opening to about the 3:08 mark) to dramatic marches (6:40 mark) and includes very familiar themes as well ( 3:08 and 9:44 marks). The movement feels like a 10 recap of Twilight Princess, a peek into the wonderful world of Hyrule which has been invaded by darkness. The ending of the track (9:53 mark) is a beautiful tribute. The orchestration of the pieces really does them justice; since Skyward Sword was released with a soundtrack performed with an orchestra, hopefully from here on out, every Zelda title will follow. Enjoy the beautiful journey through Twilight Princess’s musical themes.

 

Bonus track – Hyrule Field Main Theme

This is theme from the Hyrule Field over world and it is in it’s original format. This track is from the digitally constructed soundtrack, and parts of this track can be heard at the (3:11 mark) in the previous track. You can now hear a distinct difference in the tracks despite them being well composed. Nintendo has a knack for creating beautiful games and soundtracks, hopefully they are given the live orchestrated treatment.

 

August 12, 2013

Gaming in Stereo: The Return of Donkey Kong

 

One of the best titles to come out of the 6 year life cycle of the Wii was Donkey Kong Country Returns. A fan of the SNES originals, DKCR returned the titular ape to his side scrolling roots and gave back a difficulty many gamers were clambering for. I am finally finishing the title after I have decided to finish games in my backlog before buying new ones. I made it to the last section of the island last night after wanting to throw my Wii remote against a wall for using 20 lives in one level (the game can have a crushing, though refreshing, difficulty). But after I finally completed said level and took down the chicken walker boss in less than 5 lives, I calmed down to replay a few levels that had some of my favorite tunes in them. The music in DKCR is a mix of familiar tunes from the SNES titles (composed by David Wise and Eveline Fischer) that were rewritten by Kenji Yamamoto, the main composer for the Metroid series (starting with Super Metroid). While some have a very Metroid Prime’s electronica vibe, the second track today, is a far from that as possible with an excellent jazz beat.

 

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Factory Friction – Life in the Mines Returns

One of the more famous tracks from Donkey Kong Country returns with a new beat. The main melody is virtually unchanged, even at places (1:04 mark) are retained with little alteration. The background beat and soft acoustic guitar are new, but it feels like they fit with out being obtrusive. I love how the newer mix takes over the track at the (3:04 mark) but you can still hear the fine Donkey Kong noise sampling that was in the original track. It is just a great relaxing track to help ease the pain of falling to your death for the 20th time, though the level this track is in, I completed it in 3. Sit back, relax, and enjoy.

 

 

Palm Tree Grove – DK Island Swing

This track is in a couple of levels, though there are slight variations with each, the most recent one I played was Foggy Fumes. The great thing about this track, outside the awesome jazz rendition, is the art style of the levels it accompanies. Above is a picture of Palm Tree Grove, Foggy Fumes has the same art style, and I love the black and red style. The noir styled visuals give the swinging jazz the added oomph to make these levels memorable. I have had this track on repeat now and can do nothing but picture Donkey Kong at a jazz club, wearing a trench coat and hat, looking for his next case. I was trying to figure out certain sections to highlight, but the whole track is a highlight. Sit back and enjoy the smooth sounds of the DK Island Swing.

August 5, 2013

Gaming in Stereo: The Sounds of Heroes

 

I apologize for skipping this segment last week, with the significant other in and out of the hospital, it was a busy week. Now, since all is well, I have 4 remixed tracks for your listening pleasure. OverClocked Remix has replaced iTunes or Zune (Xbox Music) as my go to for music, personally. My phone and MP3 player are filled with tracks from OC Remix and 8 out of 10 times, that is what is being played when I travel down the street or from state to state. Though this music maybe just remixed tunes from video games, these are typically labors of love. No one is getting paid, there are no manufactured tracks; it’s music for the love of music, and I respect that. The three main tracks are from a OC Remix album from 2011 highlighting tracks between famous heroes and villains dubbed simply “Heroes vs. Villains”. Now, the bonus track is not from OC Remix, it is by Plasma3Music, the same one that made the awesome “To Galaxy” remix I featured two weeks ago. His track was the one I was looking for when I stumbled upon his Halo 4 rendition, and I am finally sharing it this week. Now on to the music!

 

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The Bounty of a Brain – Big Giant Circles – Super Metroid

This track is just fantastic. Now that’s out of my system, the beginning of this track is eerie and haunting just like the dilapidated opening to the game. At the (1:13) mark kicks in the Capcom like guitar that propels this track into atmosphere. The middle of this track seems more fitting of a Capcom fighter, though towards the end it reverts to the loneliness of the Metroid titles. At (3:25) the haunting opening music reverts back and ends with the cry of the baby metroid. This track would fit right at home in the next Smash Bros. title if Nintendo would be up for putting OC tracks in the mix. I have several Metroid tracks, but this if by far one of my favorite. At the (2:41) mark it sounds like I should be sitting at a menu for a recent Street Fighter release, but I’m not. I think that is why I love this track so much, it incorporates many of the great Super Metroid themes and adds a recent Capcom vibe to it. Enjoy this great hunt for Mother Brain.

 

Go Ninja, Go – bLiNd – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

I am a huge Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fan. I grew up during their popularity during the late 80’s and early 90’s, I had so may action figures it was ridiculous, and I still see Turtles in Time as the best brawler of all time. I love the first movie for its more faithful comic representation than it’s campy sequels and still think the first NES title has some of the best Foot brawling music in a TMNT game to date. This remix, is a look at the title screen music from the NES classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The remix starts out soft with a good drum beat and synth notes, at the (0:43) the ripping guitar takes hold of the classic menu music. The pulsating drums and guitar take a break around the (1:39) mark to make way for the surreal synth, while the guitar picks back up for a reprise at (2:11) to bring the melody back into play. This track is a great ode to one of the NES greats, even though the game is still tougher than nails.

 

Ryu (Street Fighter) – zircon, Joshua Morse – Street Fighter II: The World Warrior

I am always on the look out for new Street Fighter mixes and came across this one while checking out the Heroes vs. Villains album. It has smooth jazz themes, a great beat, and features a koto (a Japanese instrument). This is Street Fighter at its smoothest, but yet feels like it could fit. Most of the modern Street Fighters have a very electronic vibe to the music, but this could mesh very well. The more uptempo beat could set the rhythm well for bouts. I could even see myself cruising along the coast line with this playing an not feel out of place, it’s just such a great song to kick back to. Enjoy.

 

Bonus Track:

DuckTales Remastered – Moon Theme – Plasma3Music

Now this is not the official track that will be in DuckTales Remastered but a take on the theme since the game was announced. Plasma3Music has captured a huge orchestra sound for the classic 8-bit tune and knocks it out of the park. When I first heard this remix on his YouTube page, then as fast as possible headed to his Soundcloud page, downloaded it, and hit repeat for the next couple of hours. If you have ever listened to 8-bit tracks, you know that DuckTales “Moon theme” is one of the classics. This remix takes out almost all the electronic components and replaces them with pianos, horns, and strings for an effect that is epic in scale. Capcom should have got in touch with him to feature the music in the remastered game, but we will see how the game turns out here in just a week when the game hits on August 13th.

July 15, 2013

Gaming in Stereo: Halo, Old and New

 

There is no surprise that I have a fan boy affection for the Halo franchise. I do not side with one or the other on consoles. All three companies have different exclusives, slightly different tech, and different ways to play; and I enjoy all of them. One franchise that made me pick up Microsoft’s first console offering has grown into a love for all things attached to said franchise, Halo. Halo has become my Star Wars, a Sci-Fi franchise where no matter if it is a book, comic, game, or movie; I am there waiting to grab whatever is next. The series has had it’s share of ups and downs, heroes come and go, an unflattering marketing with fattening soda. One this however, that has captivated me more about this franchise has been the music. I try, every week, to showcase how gaming, as a whole, has grown, musically, to an unprecedented level. Halo has been one of those franchises that has pushed the musical boundaries since we first heard the guitar riff in Combat Evolves theme. Every game has followed with a soundtrack that is ever changing; but retains certain elements so that, while different, feels familiar. This being the very case with Halo 4. Bungie, the long time developer of the Halo franchise, had finally handed the torch to 343 Industries and moved on to Destiny, an upcoming next gen title. With the departure of Bungie, the series composer, Martin O’Donnell, was no longer at the helm of the fabled Halo score. Neil Davidge stepped in and what became of it, made the game. Halo 4 has one of the best gaming soundtracks of this generation. Now, that can be argued, I am just stating my opinion. As I have stated in past Gaming in Stereo’s that featured Halo 4’s soundtrack; I have never had a soundtrack make me tune out friends I am playing co-op with, just so I can feel the rush of the soundtrack. Today we are going to take a look at two remixes that hit both Halo of old and the new Halo. One track I found by accident looking for music from the NES classic Ducktails. The other is from Overclocked Remix and features music found in the seminal Halo 3. Both titles feature awesome piano work and some original work as well.

 

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Halo 4 Remix – Main Theme “To Galaxy” – Orchestra Version by Plasma3Music & Pl511

I fell into this remix by accident. I was looking for peoples remixes of Ducktales fabled track, The Moon, when i ran into this; and I am very glad I did. What Plasma3Music did was take the original “To Galaxy”, added a personal touch of remixing an original composition and made the track even better. I can’t stop listening to this track, it has been repeated 15 times while I write this and I don’t want it to stop. From  mark (1:22 to 2:33) is all original composition from Plasma3Music and fits in so well, you would think this was the official version. The piano during this original composition is sublime and I love the rush of orchestra at (1:48) that leads back into the main theme. This is hands down one of the best, if not the best, remix I have ever featured here. You can download this track from Plasma3Music’s Soundcloud page.

 

Halo 3 “Immortalized” – Sole Signal – OverClocked Remix

Now for some classic Halo tunes. This remix by Sole Signal takes “Never Forget” and “Finish the Fight” from Halo 3 and pushes them uptempo with a fantastic beat. Not to be out shined by the first remix, this track has a lot to offer. The faster beat is subtle and never overshadows the fantastic piano track from “Never Forget”. At the (3:24) mark, the lower piano note makes a great entrance for the final Halo piano theme that started the track. “Never Forget” was never the happiest piece of Halo musical composition, but the remix has made it a happier remembrance. You can download this track from OC Remix, right here.

July 8, 2013

Gaming in Stereo: Project X Zone

 

Project X Zone (pronounced Project Cross Zone) has held my attention ever since I popped the game cart into my 3DS. The story is incomprehensible, there are only Japanese voice overs, and some of the characters are from games not released here in the states; but I can’t stop playing it. The battle system and the strategic grid movement system has me hooked, and lets not forget seeing the likes of Ryu, Ken, Dante, Jin, and other favorite charters of mine team up for demon stomping. Today we are going to listen to a few tracks off the Soundtrack CD that was included with the limited edition, hopefully everyone enjoying this game was able to nab this edition. There are plenty of familiar themes on the soundtrack but a few that were on it, I was not familiar with. A track from Namco X Capcom, a game that was only released for the PS2 in Japan, and a track from .hack, a JRPG series on the PS2 that I never had the pleasure of playing, top this weeks tracks with a bonus track that was made for Project X Zone. The game is gem on the 3DS if you can get past the bonkers story an enjoy one of the greatest crossovers in gaming.

 

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Brave New World – Namco X Capcom – Project X Zone Soundtrack

I picked the first two tracks because of one, they are from games I have never played; and two, they feature a great piano piece. Namco X Capcom was a crossover action strategy title in the same vein as Project X Zone. This track typically plays when you take control of Reiji Arisu and Xiaomu, two characters created for Namco X Capcom. The piano track isn’t overly complex but feels at home among the battling, well drawn sprites. It’s a lighter tone track up against all the demon talk and inclusion of characters from the likes of Devil may Cry and Darkstalkers. Reiji and Xiaomu are becoming some of my favorites among the plethora of diverse characters.

 

Stairs of Time – .hack// – Project X Zone Soundtrack

.hack// was a series of of action RPG’s for the PlayStation 2 that did see a western release, but unfortunately was a series I never played. Stairs of Time has a great piano part on top of a heavy bass part that really makes the track feel different. Very few scores feature a predominant bass track, but this one is an exception. At the (0:17) mark the bass track makes its presence  known. Just drums, a bass, and piano make this track as unique as the .hack series. A game with in a game is a unique concept and this soundtrack is very fitting. Enjoy!

 

Mysterious Project – Project X Zone Soundtrack (Bonus Track)

The title track for the game is your bonus track for the week. How do you lead into a game that has so many famous characters across so many genre’s and franchises, by making it epic! The beginning of the track feels like it is better suited for Tekken or Street Fighter; oh wait, they are both here. The synth tracks and guitar hitting around the (1:00) mark feels like it came from a Mega Man X title, though Zero and X are here as well. The track fits the Japanese game/anime vibe quite well, this being full of Japanese characters. The only character close enough to being western is Frank West from Dead Rising. Enjoy the sounds of Project X Zone.    

June 24, 2013

Gaming in Stereo: Rocking the Asphalt Edition

 

It has been a while since I have posted this article, with E3 and other crazy commotion afoot, it was hard to sit down and listen to some tracks to present. With EVO 2013 coming around the corner (July 12th-14th) I though it would be interesting to hit some of the music from a couple of the games present at this years championship. Today we are listening to a track from Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition and two tracks from Street Fighter X Tekken. For those that don’t know EVO is the fighting game tournament to end all tournaments. It is held in Las Vegas and pulls fighting fans from around the globe to compete in several fighting games. I think I have spent more money on the Street Fighter franchise this generation than any other franchise. I bought Street Fighter IV, when it was released. Then one Super Street Fighter IV was released, I traded in IV to get Super. Once the 3DS was released I bought Super Street Fighter IV: 3D edition so I can have some asphalt rocking on the go. Then I traded in Super to get the pack that would sit on my shelf in all its glory, the Street Fighter 25th Anniversary Collectors set that would include Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, Street Fighter X Tekken among others. It also came with 11 CD’s worth of music from the Street Fighter series, which I am sharing with you today.

 

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Theme of Ryu – Hideyuki Fukasawa – Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade edition

One of the most iconic tracks from the Street Fighter series has been Ryu. A personal favorite, the driving beat gets the blood pumping. One of things I must commend Capcom for is the way they keep making these iconic tunes turn it up a notch. Sadly the tune only clocks in under 2 minutes but the way the bass drives the melody is uncanny. The breakdown at the (1:24) mark is by far my highlight of the track as it brakes the melody an reintroduces the bass line.

 

 

 

Main Menu Theme – Capcom – Street Fighter X Tekken

When these two famed fighting franchises collided it was interesting to see how the game played and how the music would line up. Tekken is more about timing punches, kicks, and grapples; while Street Fighter tends to have a more over the top, super move feel. The two feel similar in soundtracks, with most recent entries hitting very hard in the electric, high energy side of things. This main menu track is no different. It is full of the high pitch Capcom flair, and has a pulsating beat to get you pumped to see these two classic franchises collide. The Street Fighter IV art style fit the Tekken characters greater then anyone could imagine. The above image is one my Tekken favorite Jin as he appears in the crossover.

 

Vs. Rival Battle SF Arrange 2 – Capcom – Street Fighter X Tekken

As a bonus track I went flipping through the 2 discs for the Street Fighter X Tekken soundtrack and came across this track. Its initial beat had me hooked and is a variation of the Street Fighter title track. I love the bass guitar that enters in at (0:06) to drive along the electronic melody until the familiar Street Fighter theme takes over at (0:19). At (1:33) the beat that drove me to this mix returns and is my favorite part of this track. Enjoy.

April 29, 2013

Gaming in Stereo: An Injustice has been Rectified

 

Looking back among all the Gaming in Stereo’s I have posted the only fighting game soundtrack I have featured was various Street Fighters. Today, we are going to listen to a recently released fighting game that has been captivating my time, Injustice: Gods Among Us. Injustice is from the talented people at NetherRealm Studios, the people behind the critically praised Mortal Kombat (2011). Injustice is based on DC comic characters like Batman, Superman, and The Flash, and thrown into a chaotic fight between two worlds. During DC’s many story lines there have been alternate earths, showing different realities. In Injustice, one of these earths shows an alternate reality where Superman, grief stricken by the murder of Lois Lane at the hands of the Joker, has seized control of earth; he has lived long enough to see himself become the villain. I applaud NetherRealm for being gutsy enough that during this alternate reality, they killed off some characters. NetherRealm has set the bar for single player campaigns in fighting games and Injustice is no exception, clocking in around 8 hours, which is better than most AAA titles. The game mechanics are solid and there is a bevy of content in the S.T.A.R. Lab missions, unlockables, and online game modes. The music is just as epic as the combatant’s themselves. It was a shame that I had to go into the settings and turn up the music, but once it’s heard it fits nicely into the game. Today we are going to look at two specifically, and funny enough they both appear in menus. I hope you enjoy the music of Injustice: Gods Among Us.

 

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Injustice: Gods Among Us – Christopher Drake

This is the title track for the game and shows up right after you hit start. This track plays during the main menu, but just because it’s at a menu doesn’t make it any less effective at hyping you to watch show downs between DC finest heroes and villains. The march like atmosphere leading up to the (1:46) feels heroes march; that you are about to walk amongst gods. At the (1:46) mark the song transitions into something more serious, that feel of heroes rising to an occasion. Throughout the story there are plenty of heroes and some where you would least expect them.

 

Justice is Done – Dean Grinsfelder

This track I personally hunted down, there is a portion of the track that plays during the character viewer that is breathtaking. As something simple as looking at a character model, turns into an epic gaze. The later part of the track reminds me of the music from Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, which was done by Hans Zimmer. The part of the track that is played during the character viewer starts at the (1:22) mark. It just reminded me of how epic these characters are, how much they sacrifice, that despite adversity they still over come, these are the heroes earth deserves. The title of the track is fitting, NetherRealm has given these characters justice.

April 22, 2013

Gaming in Stereo: Ode to the PlayStation 3

 

Throughout this console life cycle, my primary gaming machine has been the 360. I have a Wii and a PlayStation 3; but most of my friends had 360’s, I prefer the 360 controller to the DS3, and until recently, Xbox Live was the way to go. Though I do enjoy Microsoft’s box, doesn’t mean the that Sony’s or Nintendo’s sat idly by. There has been several series I have enjoyed on the PS3 and today we look at some of those themes. I spent the entire weekend, outside of Friday, diving deep into my PS3 collection and rekindling a love with Warhawk. I updated the game early on Saturday and spent the remainder of the day enthralled with the huge map layouts, vehicle combat, and the glorious flight of the Warhawks. Sunday I spent the day, before Game of Thrones, trying to finish my playthrough of the only God of War title I have never finished, God of War II. In between updates to titles and Warhawk matches, I played matches of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale on the Vita. I was knee deep in PlayStation goodness all weekend and it is now converging into an all-star theme line up on Gaming in Stereo, enjoy!

 

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Nate’s Theme 3.0 – Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Official Soundtrack – Greg Edmonson

I have featured Nate’s Theme from Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune as performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra on here before, but today we are getting the original composition and what I feel is the greatest rendition. Nate’s Theme is quite possibly the greatest known theme of the PS3 era. Naughty Dog crafted a impecable trilogy with Uncharted, that took a cinematic approach to gaming like no one before. Uncharted 2 still is one of the highest rated titles on the PS3 and of this generation. It ranks, on GameRankings.com, as 8th highest reviewed game of all time right under the likes of Super Mario 64, SoulCalibur, and Legend of Zelda: Orarina of Time. Nate’s Theme perfectly describes the series with music. The epic horns, exotic drums, and Indiana Jones like theme crafted a well sense of treasure hunting and expeditions. Lighter touches, for instance at the (0:42) mark, make you feel that this is an adventure about people. The superb voice acting, scripts, and motion capture make you care about Drake, Elena, Sully, and the rest of the cast. The series may have it’s beautiful vistas, exciting firefights, and glorious set pieces; but the romance between Nate and Elena, the mentor/father figure Sully is to Nate, and watching Nate grow as a character was where I found Uncharted’s brilliance. Easily one of best trilogies available for PS3 and one of the best soundtracks of this generation; if you have played the Uncharted series, I hope you loved it as much as I have, Enjoy!

 

God of War III Overture – God of War III Official Soundtrack – Gerard Marino

The God of War series was something I got into late in the PS2 cycle. I played the first one on the PS2, played both PSP titles, and played the third on the PS3. God of War II unfortunately slipped by my radar, it was also shipped extremely late in the PS2 lifecycle. The series has always enjoyed critical and commercial success. An action game wrapped deeply in greek mythology, the series known for its brutal combat, epic soundtracks, visuals that push it’s hardware, and Kratos, the main protagonist that has rage and daddy issues. Kratos and the God of War series has become synonymous with the PlayStation brand. New consoles or handhelds typically will feature a God of War title some time in its lifespan. The PS2 had 2 titles, the PS3 just received its second title, and the PSP had 2 titles as well. The height of the series cam with God of War 3. GoW3 pushed the PS3 hardware to create some amazing visuals that ran most of the time at 60 FPS. The scope of the third entry dwarfed those of the previous titles; the opening of 3 was an epic assault on Olympus by the titans, led by Kratos. The God of War III Overture captures the main musical elements of the series and brought them into a epic conclusion. Sony released the God of War Saga (which I had to pick up), which include God of War 1-3 and the two PSP titles in one package on the PS3. Amazon currently has it for $36.

 

Dark Pursuit – Warhawk Official Soundtrack – Christopher Lennertz & Timothy Michael Wynn

Warhawk was one of those titles I bought a PS3 for. Warhawk is a multiplayer only title, but is one of the best multiplayer titles available this generation. This third person action game combined what I love about Battlefield (large open maps and unprecedented vehicular combat) and Advanced Wars/Battalion Wars (a quirky, chunky style), into a recipe that,  despite being launched in 2007, still has an active community to this day. Having an active community for a title as old as Warhawk, is typically unheard of on the console scene. To accompany the action and thrill of flight, Lennertz and Wynn have crafted a soundtrack that feels lifted out of a World War 2 movie. From the start of the track until the (1:48) mark, is what plays during the menus. The menu has a running of video of flight through clouds and the track feels like that sense of wonder, of accomplishing flight for the first time, and living in a time of advancement and spectacle. The can be had for the small price of $2.99 at a local GameStop. It is as epic as Dark Pursuit and some of the most fun I have played on the PlayStation Network. I salute Warhawk for staying strong and prevailing through a generation where multiplayer titles don’t succeed unless there is a Call of Duty trademarked into the title. Archipelago is by far one of the best maps I have ever played. Go give it a try to see the epic 32 player action title can offer.

April 15, 2013

Gaming in Stereo: Milky Way Wishes

 

Releasing last month on OverClocked Remix, Milky Way Wishes is the latest album to come from the great community of contributors. Milky Way Wishes is a tribute to on the Kirby’s SNES outings, Kirby Super Star. If you are new to the feature, OverClocked Remix is a community dedicated to video game music and remixes. It’s a non-profit group that started back in 1999. All the arrangements are free and done by the community; for the love of the game, as they say. With some of the albums, there is some great artwork to be has as well. With this album, the download consisted of the double disc album and a folder filled to the brim with creative artwork. The art features the same storybook style the game shares, there is a gallery of samples at the end of the article. It’s timely that I decided this week to feature Kirby, as he makes his Wii U Virtual Console debut this week on the 17th.

 

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The BEST 2 Minutes and 14 Seconds of YOUR LIFE (Peanut Plains) – ProtoDome

I picked the three tunes from the album I enjoyed the most but there is wide range of genre’s represented on the album. I loved this track for it’s use of chiptunes and the purpose driven stuttering and stops. The most dramatic stop is at the (0:56) mark, the first time I listened to the song, I thought it was over; just to come back with a bigger second half. There is a second break at (1:47) to finish out the track. It’s a fun track and that can best describe the Kirby titles; they were never truly difficult, but you had a hard time toning down the smile.

 

Spelunking in Space (Cocoa Cave) – Hylian Lemon

This one starts off a little calm and desolate, then at the (0:23) mark kicks the track into dance mode with pulsing beats and great use of chiptunes. I love the lower bass hits at (1:04). Around the (1:49) the song transitions into a slower serine  feel, only to be sped up again hitting back into the chiptunes. The great melody and tempo transitions make this track just as fun as the previous. I can’t remember this original track off the top of my head, I may have to dive into my Kirby 25th Anniversary collection and fire up Super Star; love the track though.

 

A Green Green Dedede (Great King Dedede’s Theme/Green Greens) -Sir_NutS

It wouldn’t be a Kirby album with the inclusion of Green Greens, one of the most iconic Kirby tracks. The track starts with King Dedede’s theme and transitions over at the (1:36) mark. It’s another heavy dance beat, chiptune infused track. I would love to play this at a club and see the reactions. The King Dedede theme at the beginning of the track feels like it came off on of the Mega Man OC remix albums; fast tempo, lots of infused sounds, just as imposing as a Robot Master fight.

 

The album is full of great music ranging from dance beats; to somber piano pieces; to classical Japanese inspired pieces; to even a Ska piece. I urge you to download it yourself, it is free. You can download the album + artwork combo from here, the easiest way to download it is to just hit one of the mirrors. Again, below is a gallery with some of the fantastic artwork, there is plenty more in the full download. I hope everyone enjoys Milky Way Wishes.

 

April 8, 2013

Gaming in Stereo: The Sounds of an Assassin

 

To be quite honest, I was never sold on Assassin’s Creed 3. I never cared much for the time period, I still want Victorian London. I really don’t care for American history. It’s dreadfully boring; full of terroristic acts; forcing the Native Americans from their homes; and full of questionable “heroes”. Until 3, I have much love for the series. Even the lesser titles like Revelations, I played till completion, and enjoyed my time with them. I hardly heard good things said about the main protagonist, Connor Kenway. Jesper Kyd, one of my favorite composers, was not returning to score the third entry. I did, however, wanted to see how the current Desmond story arc finished so when I found the game for a good price, I picked it up recently.

After sinking well over 25 hours into it and have still not completed the main story line, my attitude towards the game has dramatically changed; I still loathe American history though. Despite being set in the American Revolution, the time period in itself is intriguing. The story between the Templars and Assassins during the time period is the most intriguing of the series. Connor is the son of Haytham Kenway, a British Templar and Kaniehti:io a Native American. He falls into the Assassins by way of a village elder and under the guidance of Achilles Davenport, a retired assassin, becomes an assassin himself. Connor took some time to get used to. Connor is not the suave, charismatic hero that Ezio was. Connor is brash, angry, and headstrong. Orphaned as a small boy; never really fitting in since he was of two worlds; finding and meeting his father to find out he is the enemy; constantly being manipulated by his father and revolutionaries; this all could be a bit much. I feel it all came together to give me a proper feel for this character; he is tragic. I never felt bad for the other assassins in the franchise despite some of them seeing hardship, though Connor I feel for. After putting all this time into the game and hearing what Lorne Balfe did with the soundtrack; this is becoming one of my favorites in the series. Lorne Balfe did contribute to the Assassin’s Creed: Revelations soundtrack as well as helping Hans Zimmer on several game and movie soundtracks.

 

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Assassin’s Creed III : Main Theme – Assassin’s Creed III Official Soundtrack – Lorne Balfe

I finally sat at the main screen long enough the other night to experience this full song, and I instantly bought it. Though parts of the theme, and the Variation below, can be heard throughout the game. The theme is epic; ranging from modern sounds in the beginning, to the lower brass featuring the main theme, and at (1:00) giving way for the main thoroughfare to break through. The song feels heroic, yet tragic; As with Connor. I really wish I would have given this game and soundtrack time last year, this song could have easily broken my top five list.

 

Assassin’s Creed III: Main Theme Variation – Assassin’s Creed III Official Soundtrack – Lorne Balfe

This variation on the main theme plays throughout the game when finishing missions or one of Connors plot points are finished. I love the single violin at the beginning and the constant drumbeat are reminiscent of other tracks that can be heard throughout the cities and is very fitting for the time period. It’s not a long variation but the main theme’s from the original are carried over, with the theatrics toned down a bit. I am really happy with what Mr. Balfe did with the soundtrack.

 

With the upcoming Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag due out this fall, I am not tired of this yearly release. I am interested though, since it will be a prequel and feature Edward Kenway, Connors grandfather, will we ever see Connor again. Ezio had three games, Altair was in one and parts of Revelations. If not, it has been a great journey playing as Ratonhnhaké:ton (Connors proper name) and experiencing this unique, if not widely appreciated character.

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