Jump to content

Other Game Music


Swag_Koishi9898
 Share

Recommended Posts

Also, since I'm still haunting the shrine for the tournament and the opportunity has presented itself, there is now sufficient context for this remix. I've references it before, and it's still one of my favorites.

Spoiler

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a hypothesis that rhythm games with original soundtracks will always have some of the best music in gaming. I'm not spread nearly wide enough in the genre to provide a comprehensive analysis in support of this idea (hence "hypothesis"), but this week I stumbled upon an OST that fit the criteria and failed to disprove my suspicions. Mad Rat Dead features the work of several artists, but the only name I'd heard of before was that of Camellia, known for plenty of things but by me specifically from his work with Toby Fox and Temmie Chang on Dweller's Empty Path. My introduction to this soundtrack came in the form of a full soundtrack video, and the first track featured was by this composer.

Spoiler

 

My interest sufficiently captured, I proceeded to locate the soundtrack proper and investigate it more carefully. The music's style is consistent in its heavy beat and high tempo focus, and in little else. I get the impression that each stage chain has a specific genre theme (first several level tracks all seemed to have an electro swing influence, while later level tracks featured different styles), challenging the composers to get creative with their compositions. The following tracks contain use of oriental folk instruments, RPG orchestra, and and the "supported piano."

Spoiler

 

Finally, I'll leave off with one of the boss battle themes. These are essentially just curtain fire challenges with minimal combat, and as such the music isn't that different from the platforming BGM. This one stands out particularly, however, being associated with one of the more pivotal moments in the game's story, and appropriately capturing the mood of the events. Comparisons may be made (and have been) to a certain other theme in VGM with a similar tone and progression structure; I leave it to you to determine if this was a coincidence or not.

Spoiler

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Getting this out of the way first . . .

There is a degree of effectiveness to utilizing a consistent musical style in a soundtrack for the purpose of worldbuilding, especially when the story's setting is significantly distant from what would be familiar to the audience. Sci-fi and fantasy settings frequently benefit from this methodology, to the point where some sounds are culturally identifiable with these genres by association. This is a concept I've been appreciating of late, especially while recently listening to the soundtrack of Dust: An Elysian Tail.

I actually know very little about this game, and as such most of what I say is based purely upon my experience with the music. This first track, which I gather backdrops a hub-type area, it suitably ambient to promote a peaceful atmosphere without having the homely feel that usually characterizes these sorts of themes. One thematic aspect of this soundtrack is its expansive feel, characterizing a world that is meant to feel large and open; this theme needs to impart the idea of "passing through" to maintain that feeling.

Spoiler

BTW, this track was composed by Alexander Brandon, known for the Deus Ex soundtrack, and is comparable to those compositions.

For the majority of the game, the music is far more upbeat and high in energy, presumably to accompany frequent combat. Yet even the most exciting tracks preserve that awe-like tone, maintaining the world's characterization through each new area and situation.

Spoiler

 

Boss themes may occasionally be an exception to a video game's soundtrack consistency, since they necessarily put you in a situation that is out of the norm. The best soundtracks, however, will work to incorporate the established style into these tracks as well, using the audio to fortify these encounters as part of the world and the story rather than existing outside of them.

Spoiler

 

By this point, hopefully the existence of this game's stylistic theme is evident and identifiable. It should be noted that choosing to have a musical consistency in your soundtrack will strengthen its worldbuilding, but will also come with its own risks should you desire to do something different at some point for any reason. If you break your own consistency, you jeopardize the characterization you given the world and risk damaging the audience's ability to identify with it. Ultimately, there is one track in Dust that I believe takes this risk, though considered carefully and likely accomplished without too much damage. Nonetheless, I struggle with this track, as the inconsistencies seem to me unnecessary. But it is also important to understand that this in no way lessens the quality of this composition.

Spoiler

 

As a whole, this is a very good soundtrack. I believe it apt for comparison to Ori and the Blind Forest, which bares several similarities on a conceptual level.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I'm late.

Celeste is one of several soundtracks I featured on the thread fairly early on with far less commentary then they deserved. This game makes very strong use of leitmotif manipulation to convey its themes in the music. For example:

The motif for main-character Madeline's determination/climbing efforts is established in the level one track First Steps. The tone of the piece is positive, almost cheery, with moments here and there of reservation (especially right at the end). The motif itself is in a major key, but continually fails to resolve, always favoring its dominant note over its tonic, and is arranged with a slight stutter to its progression.

It's important to note that this motif is not technically Madeline's theme, nor necessarily (though partially) that of the specific obstacle of climbing the mountain.

Spoiler

I used First Steps in the first feature, but it's indispensable to the point.

 

The second level is about the main character's doubts and fears, especially regarding the task at hand. The earlier motif reappears, but in an altered form. The original stutters are now full stops, favoring thirds and seconds from the tonic, and what's left has been transposed into a minor key. The tone is heavily somber, and even slightly hostile in its progression (and that's before the transition into its faster tempo form).

Spoiler

 

As is the way of story, it's not till near the end of the game that the primary character conflict comes to climax, culminating in an intense battle accompanied by a third variation of the motif. This is actually both previous iterations literally colliding with each other, although the negative version remains in emphasis for the moment.

Spoiler

 

Following this sequence, the conflict is resolved, allowing for the game's finale to take place. The music for this level is a true rectification of the two versions, returning to the positive tone of the original while tempering it with a new emotional range from the minor key variant. The pauses remain, but are more consistent, presented as reflective rather than fearfully hesitant. Unique to this iteration of the motif, however, is the consistent return to tonic that gives the motif its musical resolution.

Spoiler

 

Even without details, the theme of the story is communicated through this leitmotif.

I might make a month's theme out of revitalizing old features, but I'm not sure yet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was looking back at those previously mentioned old features, and realized I'd edited most of them to include more tracks some time ago. There's only a couple exceptions, specifically from the short-lived double features, but I may as well take care of them now.

I normally prefer soundtracks that convey aspects of the accompanying story, either by setting the mood for certain events or by transference of themes via leitmotifs. However, I can also appreciate when the primary purpose of the music is to assist in worldbuilding, also done by mood and leitmotif. Hollow Knight is an example of the latter; its music focuses almost entirely on the characterization of the world you're exploring rather than the characters you interact with. All non-combat themes are ambient and slightly melancholy, as befitting a long-dead kingdom, and the entire soundtrack is composed with minimal instrumentation, presenting a simpler sound then one would expect from orchestral arrangements. Beyond that, each area theme is customized to influence perception:

Spoiler

From the morose introduction of the deserted Dirtmouth,

to the majestic serenity of the Queen's Gardens,

from the ominous spaciousness in the caves of Crystal Peak,

to the almost comparatively goofy yet still melancholy tones of the Fungal Wastes.

 

This is just scratching the surface, of course, and doesn't even touch on the battle themes (though you can get a taste of them from the end of Crystal Peaks).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

An unfortunate aspect of leitmotif study is the occasional guessing game one must participate in to determine what the theme represents. Most often it's made clear enough to understand provided you're looking for it, but some of the best usages of the technique are much more difficult to evaluate due to subtle usage, over and under usage, and disguised application. I've had several encounters with supposed patterns in a soundtrack that I can't determine the meaning of (or often the existence of a meaning), and sometimes the only way to be sure of a correct interpretation is the confirmation of the composer. Being that this can rarely be depended on, speculations will likely remain as just that.

Today is the six-year anniversary of Undertale, which bears one of the most infamous video game soundtracks of all time. All music in the game was written by the game's creator Toby Fox, and he is acknowledged as a master composer. Undertale if full of obvious leitmotifs, and some of them are easy to understand. There are quite a few, however, that I'm personally unsure about. Of these, my personal favorite is the "Home motif."

The earliest most obvious feature of this motif can be different depending on how you play. If, for any reason, you decide to close the game before reaching the end of the first area, then you will be met with the game's Start Menu upon opening it again.

Spoiler

 

By all appearances, this is a very simple and unassuming track; as you progress through the game, you have the ability to add characters to the menu, and the music fills in as you do so.

If you reach the end of the first area without closing the game, then you will hear the theme of the tutorial character's Home before listening to the menu track. This is a much more dynamic usage of the motif incorporated into a larger piece, and possibly may be considered the leitmotifs origin.

Spoiler

 

Whether or not a player realizes the existence of the leitmotif may affect his perceptions concerning the theme. It continues to appear in the game, most notably in a relatively random event associated with a variety TV show that functions as the Underground's primary source of entertainment.

Spoiler

 

At this point, the leitmotif is associated with several differing contexts with limited straightforward connection. In what is possibly it's most relevant feature, it makes up one-half of the game's title theme, during an event in which the emotional motivation of the currently perceived antagonist (primary obstacle?) is divulged.

Spoiler

 

In conclusion, I submit that I consider this the theme of the Underground's residents, or perhaps more accurately the "life" of the Underground. The story told to the player through Undertale is communicated by residents as their own, the theme plays multiple times associated with their media, Home is notably the first example of proper habitation, and the menu will become more detailed as you recruit residents of the Underground to it. All that being said, I'm not confident in my evaluation; part of me suspects I'm reading too much into it. I should note the likelihood that some "leitmotifs" featured in the game serve questionable thematic purpose, such as the "Ghost Fight motif," which is associated with three related characters and one unrelated character. Fox has been known to repurpose motifs for multiple reasons beyond thematic story telling, so I leave it up to you whether or not you share my interpretation.

Edit: The motif also features in Once Upon a Time, which is a cutscene track and more difficult for me to contextualize. It also appears in Hopes and Dreams, but there's lots of motif references in that piece; it's more meant to be a round-up-retrospective-turned-boss-theme.

Edited by Ken Hisuag
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Starting this week, I'm changing my weekly posting from Wednesday to Tuesday. I don't typically have much time available on Wednesdays of late, so this will be a lot easier for me.

That said, it's about time I covered the second disc of Okami! I am consistently impressed by the volume of music this game has. My current style of review doesn't fit very well with my listening strategy for this soundtrack, but it's worth that sacrifice in my opinion.

Princess Sakuya's Theme works well as a comparison piece, by which to better estimate the other styles present. It's what may be called a standard Oriental folk composition, using traditional instrumentation for a serene sound commonly associated with the genre.

Spoiler

 

With a slight adjustment of focus in instrumentation, Ushiwaka's Appearance invokes a sense of beauty and awe, unique from the previous track but retaining many of the same characteristics.

Spoiler

 

Tsutamaki Ruins, on the other hand, presents a very different mood. The instrument balance is changed around to create a slower, deeper sounding piece with a most foreboding effect. While far less active than the previous tracks, it remains noteworthy for the contrast in tone accomplished within the same genre.

Spoiler

 

Somewhere between these parts of the spectrum is the dynamic blend of Kusanagi Village II. While it's more comparable in style and instrumentation to the first two tracks, I detect influence of mood reminiscent of the third track that gives this piece a broader, more complex personality than any of the previous pieces.

Spoiler

 

Finally, while many personally encountered examples of games committed to a specific musical style may sacrifice it for more intense and energetic genres in their combat music, Okami remains consistent throughout, allowing for some amazing and relatively rare compositions. I considered between Ushiwaka's Dance ~ Playing with Ushiwaka and Red Helmet's Extermination as potential examples, which sound very similar to each other and even share a few motifs. I've eventually decided the former has ever so slightly better progression out of the two.

Spoiler

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Drakengard 3 one of the more controversial games i've ever heard about (and unfortunately PS3 exclusive so u have to emulate it unless u have a console) i watched it whole and do not regret a single minute of it even though it's such a bloodbath game is great (at least in my opinion) but ost isn't great, it's godlike (it's same series as nier which most of you possibly know/heard about just alternate world and happens in distant past)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've had Chicory: A Colorful Tale on the back burner for a while now, and I've finally taken the time to listen through it. Raine's skill and style has continued to evolve since Farewell; Chicory showcases a much wider range of instrumentation than the previous projects, without loosing anything of the dynamic arrangement that characterized them. I haven't looked into the game itself, so my commentary will be limited; but I believe I've picked out an acceptable showcase.

Spoiler

The Town of Luncheon, whatever other purpose it may serve, features the game's primary leitmotif, i.e. the main theme. It is perhaps intentional that the track serves as a perfect foundation for estimation. The soundtrack as a whole leans toward this more laid-back and light-hearted tone . . . mostly.

There's an impressive balance of energy across the soundtrack. Dinners, The Big City is a bouncy jazz piece, not quite big-band but emulating the style. It's also an example of the main theme being adjusted for other pieces.

In the other directing, we have the calmer reflective tone of Chicory's Theme. This track features a unique technique that I have yet to notice outside of Raine's work, that being the audible recording of the piano's mechanical noises to accompany the piece. I'm surprised at how effective this seems to be at making the arrangement feel more intimate.

As an example of the diverse instrumentation, my personal favorite track is Supper Woods, featured surprising early in the soundtrack. Leading with a harpsichord, backed by maracas, carried with flutes and accompanied by all manner of orchestral ensemble, it's quite a contrast to the relatively consistent instrumentation of Celeste.

In case there was any doubt as to the carried over influence, however, the earlier sounds and styles can be found in what I take to be combat themes. I also detect elements similar to Pigstep.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Despite being fully aware of F.I.S.T.: Forged in Shadow Torch before its release, I had not anticipated it to have particularly noteworthy music. I was exceedingly surprised with the impression my initial listenings left me with; the soundtrack is full of powerful compositions of what I believe is called progressive rock with elements of cinematic orchestra and (possibly) some occasional flamenco folk.

Spoiler

 

Additionally, there's a few tracks that deviate from this general style and do something unique, not only contrasting but happening to be impressive compositions in their own light.

Spoiler

 

While I haven't much music theory concerning this feature, I think the quality of compositions testifies to itself this time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rather than a full soundtrack feature, this week I'm just highlighting a single track that caught my attention. I've never watched a James Bond movie, but I imagine this is what the songs from that series sounds like.

Spoiler

I tend to be more critical of English songs, simply because the lyrical meaning is more immediately perceptible. Content and context are major components of this consideration; in this particular example, the song contextualizes itself.

I'm actually just stalling for a week while I work on a particularly difficult feature I've been putting off all year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At the beginning of this year, there was one and only one game I was anticipating the release of for its music. That game was Cyber Shadow. I had been anticipating it since before it was delayed from its initial late-2020 release into early-2021, ever since seeing its trailer. It seemed to be similar in style to The Messenger, one of my favorite soundtracks, with the promise of Jake Kaufman's assistance in production.

The game came out. The soundtrack didn't. At this point, I don't think it ever will.

I am committed to featuring this soundtrack before the year is over. However, the circumstances surrounding its availability combined with my lack of interest for the game itself makes it difficult to do it the justice it probably deserves. I've been hoping something would change, but I don't want to put this off any longer.

Spoiler

Arguably the best song in the game, Geothermal Towers (version 1?) is one of the only tracks to have a properly balanced standalone upload. Expect the other tracks in this feature to be of poor audio quality; if anyone would like to here a proper version, they are advised to locate the complete gamerip upload.

This was the track that attracted me to the game in the first place. The melody is strong, and it makes full use of its accompaniment without overcomplicating it. This sets the style of the composer (Enrique Martin, for anyone wondering) for the rest of the project.

Next is Reactor (version 3? I'm not really sure how this works . . .). Still a relatively simple track, but spreading its melody and counter-melodies across different layers to add dynamic progression.

I've included Outskirts Fauna (version 1) as a sort of contrast, this being a more low-energy piece to the high-energy of the previous tracks. This is accomplished without technically changing the dynamic quality; there are still the same number of layers, and it works off the same structure. Yet the difference in mood is evident nonetheless.

Finally, one of the boss battles in the game. I've gone with version 2 over version 1 simply to spread out the feature across the whole soundtrack; both versions use the same melody with only minute changes to the style (though the tone shift that results is well accomplished).

 

I could make a lot of comparisons from this soundtrack; the names Uematsu, Nishiki and even Shimomura occurred to me quite often, though never as particularly strong similarities. There's something very "classical VGM" about it, but in the sense of having been slightly modernized. Altogether, it's a good soundtrack, and I only wish it was more readily available.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.