I feel like it’s a given that I’d pick a song from another Doom game for this category; it is my favorite game series after all. While I do feel that the riff-heavy tracks in the original Doom are very iconic, I feel Doom is at its best when it goes for a more atmospheric tone. The PlayStation version of Doom as well as the N64-exclusive Doom 64 opted to replace the original OST entirely in favor of a creepy ambient soundtrack for example, and it’s fucking great.
However, that’s not to say that the original DOS version of Doom didn’t also have its fair share of moody tracks, and Sign of Evil is perhaps my favorite. It plays during the final level of the first episode, and it’s just such a fitting track to finish the episode off with. You just know you’re about to encounter some vile creatures as you make your way towards the end of the level.
Don’t be terribly surprised if you see another Doom game by the end of this 30 day challenge.
Well, now I’ve gone and done it. I just haaaaad to go and break the combo I had going. Oh well, July has 31 days so as long as I don’t flake out on any more days I’ll still be able to get this done within the month.
Day 7 – Music From An Indie Game
Celeste / Resurrections
Composer: Lena Raine
Celeste very quickly became one of my all-time favorite games when it came out in 2018. The game was released during a time in my life where I was in the process of making some big changes, and struggling with a great deal of insecurity and doubt about what these changes really meant or if I wanted to go through with them at all. I desperately needed a game like Celeste at that time, and I am incredibly thankful that I was able to experience it when I did.
At its core, Celeste is a very mechanically sound and immensely satisfying — not to mention challenging — platformer, but it is so, so much more than just that. It is a deeply emotional journey with one of the most evocative scores I have ever heard in a video game.
As an aside, I also greatly enjoyed Lena Raine’s EP Singularity, which she released under the pseudonym Kuraine. Check out the rest of her stuff too while you’re at it!
Note: The soundtrack in Unreal was dynamic in that it could transition between non-combat and combat variations of a particular track, which is evident in the embedded video. Obviously I’m talking about the serene non-combat version of this track, though the combat variation is a bop too.
There’s just something about the module tracker music Epic Games used in a lot of their earlier titles. Some of my favorite video game music of all time came from games made using the first iteration of the Unreal Engine (now ubiquitous within the video game industry). Unreal, Unreal Tournament, and Deus Ex — to name a few — all had amazing soundtracks that I still think about and listen to even now.
When you start a new game of Unreal, there is no music. It’s just you, waking up in a prison cell inside of an alien ship, alone with your thoughts. Then the explosions come, and with it an alarming sense of “I gotta get out of here”. So you make your escape. Again, no music; just creepy sound effects and the occasional scream from another prisoner getting ripped to shreds by an enemy unknown. Eventually, you make it out of the ship and find yourself on a strange alien planet. It is that moment of you walking out of the ship where this song plays. It’s such a fitting song for that moment, and it’s something that still sticks with me to this day.
Chrono Cross / Dream of the Shore Bordering Another World
Composer: Yasunori Mitsuda
Okay, this one isn’t even fair. No other game even had a chance to compete with this song from Chrono Cross, and no developer has dared to try and outdo it since. This is the absolute pinnacle of overworld tracks, objectively speaking.
Joking aside, today’s category is one where my choice of song came to mind instantly. Chrono Cross has one of the most stunningly gorgeous soundtracks of all time, and this track makes for a fantastic showcase for it. It’s the type of song that you can show people who don’t normally play video games, and they probably won’t even believe that it came from a video game.
Nothing screams “console exclusive” like Nintendo. They are one of the few companies that has managed to keep their games exclusive to their own platforms to this day. While I don’t necessarily agree with games being locked to one system, you gotta admit that Nintendo hit the ball out of the park with the Nintendo Switch.
As I was perusing through the Super Mario Odyssey soundtrack while preparing for this post, I was hit with a feeling of nostalgia. For a game that is hardly even three years old. Playing through Super Mario Odyssey for the first time felt akin to how I felt as a kid playing Super Mario 64. It was an experience. And you know what? It had an awesome soundtrack too, so picking any one track was bound to be difficult. This one in particular was a standout to me for just how funky groovy it was. That Koji Kondo is still able to spit such hot fire after all these years really is a testament to the man’s skill.
Let’s keep this a-rollin’. Day 3 is a very broad category, simply “8-bit music”. Let’s do it.
Day 2 – 8-bit Music
Overlord (NES) / Title Screen
Composer: Jeroen Tel
With this 30-day challenge I’m gonna try and throw some “deep cuts” in for good measure. Everyone knows games like Doom and Castlevania, but how many people remember the game Overlord on the NES? I’ll be completely honest in saying that I’ve never actually played the game and only know of it because of this track written by the legendary Jeroen Tel. Well, that and the arguably more famous theme song from the C64 version of the game, a wildly different take written by the same composer. While the C64 version has quite the bop — some might even call it a jam — the NES version I feel evokes a certain level of atmosphere and moodiness that I crave oh so much.
Well, I’ve made it a whole two days without giving up or forgetting, so I’d say my track record is looking pretty spot on! Day 2 is “opening level music”.
Day 2 – Opening Level Music
Castlevania 3 / Akumajou Densetsu – Beginning
Composer: Yoshinori Sasaki, Jun Funahashi, Yukie Morimoto
The Castlevania series is a series known for legendary opening tracks, so almost any game in the series would have made a strong contender for this spot. I ended up settling on the track “Beginning” from the Japanese version of Castlevania 3 — named Akumajou Densetsu in Japan — for being an absolute tour de force on the original NES / Famicom. It is important to note that the Famicom version of the game included a specialized audio chip which greatly enhanced the system’s audio capabilities. The western version of the game did not include this chip, and as such the audio is notably downgraded.
As a very, very close runner up, I would have chosen the opening level music from Super Castlevania IV. It’s an iconic track that made unique and wonderful use of the SNES sound chip, and was also reprised during the final boss fight as a callback to the start of your adventure and just how far you’ve made it. Good stuff.
It’s the start of a new month, so I thought I’d give this a go. This has been kicking around on the internet for a while, and it’s actually one of the reasons I wanted to start up a blog a few months ago, but seeing as I just now got around to getting this up and “working”, we’re doing it in July. I’ll do my best to stick to the “hard mode” rule where I don’t repeat any games, but I make no promises.
Day 1 – Title Screen Music
Doom 2 – Title Music
Composer: Bobby Prince
Okay, try and picture this (even though I’m about to make myself sound very old): It’s Christmas Day in 1994, you’re six years old, and you just unwrapped a copy of the hotly anticipated sequel to id Software’s Doom. You are eager as all get-out to unbox the game and get it installed. Your family computer only recently got an upgrade that included a sound card, so you’re just still getting used to your computer being able to output “”high quality sound effects and music””; before this, you were limited to primitive beeping and not much else. A few floppy disks and some setting up later, you boot up the game only to hear THIS SONG.
I’ll just say that this song mortified me as a child. I distinctly remember running away from the computer and hiding behind the couch, while screaming for my dad to turn down the speakers. Sure, I eventually got over it, but the memory of my first time booting up this game still lives on to this day.
First post. I was feeling a bit nostalgic for the old days of LiveJournal wherein I would write a bunch of nonsense and put it up on the Internet for others to see. This’ll be kind of like that, though I highly doubt I’ll be airing my personal and emotional laundry on here like I did back in the LiveJournal era.
I don’t have any particular field of discussion or overarching goal planned for this blog, though topics I’m sure will be covered here include:
Technology. Computers are cool, right?
Video games. I enjoy a good video game every now and then.
Music is pretty cool I guess.
Also keep in mind this site is a work in progress and will probably be some degree of broken from now until the end of time.