The Legend of Zelda is one of gaming’s oldest and most beloved franchises. The fact that it’s still going strong after nearly 30 years is a testament to its fun and creativity. But when The Wind Waker was released on the Gamecube in 2003, longtime fans were taken aback; the fantastic medieval realm of Hyrule had been replaced with a seemingly endless ocean. The massive fields were replaced with islands. Epona, Link’s trusty steed from Ocarina of Time, was replaced by a small sailboat. The creepy, foreboding atmosphere of Majora’s Mask was replaced with a bright, cheery cel-shaded world.
Yeah, it was different.
But it wasn’t bad, though. The Wind Waker had a style all its own; the combat was more fast-paced, there was a huge world map to explore, and Nintendo demonstrated just how gorgeous cel-shading could really be. It also had one of the most memorable and awesome final bosses in not only the Zelda franchise, but in all of gaming. The shift in tone is also reflected in the game’s soundtrack; Dragon Roost Island is just one several amazing instrumentally-based songs in Zelda’s repertoire. Just try listening to the Great Sea Theme without imagining yourself at the bow of a ship, the wind in your face, waves crashing beneath, and a horizon that never ends…
If you want more Wind Waker, you can find the full OST here.
Most people associate sports-based video games with stuff like Madden or MLB. But for me, the SSX series reigned supreme. Snowboarding games are relatively few and far between, but SSX made its mark in the best way. Gamers in the early 2000s will fondly remember doing Olympic-level jumps and insane board tricks, all set against a gorgeously rendered snow-capped mountain. They’ll also remember the amazing soundtracks, culminating with SSX 3. The great blend of rock, techno, and metal made even the easiest bunny hills into epic jam sessions.
Hey, folks. I don’t know where you live, but here in the States, it’s kind of cold right now. As in, icy. It reminds me of Phendrana Drifts, the classic snow-based area of Metroid Prime. That game set a new standard for atmospheric level design, and its superb soundtrack helped it in the best way. Seriously, listen to this extended version the next time you’re out playing in the snow. Or you just want to chill out while you warm up.
If you want more Metroid Prime, check out the full OST here.