Soundtrack Saturdays: Professor Layton and the Last Specter Theme (Live)

I love the Professor Layton series. It’s the closest Nintendo – or any major video game company, for that matter – will get to making a Sherlock Holmes-style character. He’s highly intelligent, polite, and solves mysteries of ridiculous proportions. It would’ve worked well enough as a visual novel, but letting you solve hundreds of puzzles along the way makes it so much better. The series is also well known for its extensive continuity and well-written characters; The Last Specter is the fourth installment out of six (seven if you count the Phoenix Wright crossover), but it’s the first chronologically. It’s also famous for its various soundtracks, which are among the best you’ll ever hear on a Nintendo console. While the theme of the Diabolical Box will always be my favorite, this live version of the Last Specter is great for some easy listening.

Good gaming, good music.

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Daily Prompt: Polymathic Playlist

Hey, folks. Today’s Daily Prompt is all about music. Specifically, the kind of mix tape/playlist you’d make to introduce yourself to someone new. This one took a while to make, mainly because I was raised with a really eclectic music selection. I’ll just let the playlist do the talking. Happy listening! EDIT: For the sake of simplicity, I made a playlist on YouTube.

Soundtrack Saturdays: Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection – Snow Castle

At first glance, it’s easy to overlook Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection. It was an update of the Tekken 5, arguably one of the finest 3D fighters ever made and an impossibly tough act to follow. Rather than giving players a wholly new experience, DR retold the story of the previous game and added two more competitors to the already 30+ character roster. Despite its shortcomings, however, the game was one of the biggest successes in 2006, thanks in part to its release on the PSP. Gamers with the handheld console were clamoring for a high-quality exclusive title, and DR pulled it off spectacularly. Years later, it’s still regarded by some as the pinnacle of the Tekken series.

This is thanks in part to the game’s superb soundtrack. Most of the music features remixes of Tekken 5’s playlist, though “Snow Castle” is entirely new track. The combination of chanting, instrumentals, and rock blend perfectly, giving the fights a decidedly epic tone. It was so popular, it received an orchestrated remix in Tekken Tag Tournament 2. The jury is still out on which one is better, though…

If you want more Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection, you can find the full OST here or here.

Good gaming, good music.

Soundtrack Saturdays: D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die – Detective of the Past

D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die was recently released an XBox One exclusive. It’s about a private investigator who can travel through time, and must recollect the memories surrounding his wife’s murder. It sounds kind of sketchy at first glance – the episodic releases and fact that it uses the oft-maligned Kinect are deal-breakers for some gamers – but it absolutely thrives under the direction of Hidetaka Suehiro, aka SWERY. David Young could’ve just been a generic protagonist, but his penchant for sarcasm and hilarious mannerisms are entertaining. As are the other characters, including a cat-girl roommate, a flamboyant fashion designer, a hammy drug courier, a balding US marshal, a paranoid flight passenger, and a detective capable of Joey Chestnut-levels of food consumption. Also, Young and his cohorts are the most Bostonian characters since The Departed. Seriously, CLAM CHOWDER.

This bizarre investigation is made even better with its soundtrack. The work done by Yuji Takenouchi and Tomomi Teratani is an impressive blend of rock, jazz and funk. Consider the awesome saxophone of “Nu Movement,” the upbeat instrumentals of “Tiptoe,” the haunting vocals of “Arousal,” or the soothing melody of “A String.” Few games these days have OSTs of such high quality, and it’s a travesty that D4 is being overlooked so much. If you have a XBox One, please give it a look. Hopefully the game will get enough support for more episodes.

If you want more D4, you can find previews here and here. Edit: Looks like nearly all the leaked tracks have been taken off of YouTube. The OST has been officially released since the this was posted. More details can be found on the game’s site.

Good gaming, good music.

Soundtrack Saturdays: We Love Katamari – Heaven’s Rain

When Katamari Damacy became a sleeper hit in 2004, Namco decided to take the popularity and run with it. A year after the original game, We Love Katamari was released on the PS2. It’s one of the rare examples of a sequel improving on every aspect of its predecessor. The already bizarre narrative was made even more meta, stages were scaled up, there were hundreds of more interactive objects, challenges were more difficult to complete, and there was far more variety in terms of settings and visuals. You want to build a snowman? Try making one with a head the size of a house. On the game’s final stage, your katamari gradually grew from the size of a small animal to rolling up entire countries in the span of a few minutes. Seriously, check it out.

The soundtrack was greatly expanded as well. While the first game utilized mostly rock and jazz, We Love Katamari delved more into instrumentals, beatboxing, and techno tracks. “Heaven’s Rain” is one of the more relaxing songs in the game. The soothing vocals, accordion, and strings always made me want to just kick back and finish the stage at a slow pace…then the beats kicked in.

If you want more We Love Katamari, you can find the full OST here.

Good gaming, good music.

Soundtrack Saturdays: Super Smash Bros. 4 – Gerudo Valley Remix

Since its release at the beginning of October, all of my gaming time has been relegated to the new Smash Bros. Having a game of this scope and scale is a double-edged sword; it’s by far the most extensive title on the 3DS, but due to hardware limitations, it’s not quite as good as its predecessor on the Wii. This is especially true when it comes to the soundtrack, which has only a fraction of Brawl’s mind-blowingly huge playlist. That doesn’t mean the music is bad, though; Rio Hamamoto shows off a new flamenco remix of the classic Gerudo Valley theme from Ocarina of Time. The original was amazing enough (seriously, give it a listen), but the instrumentals in the new version add so much energy.

If you want more Super Smash Bros. 4, you can find the full OST here.

Good gaming, good music.

Soundtrack Saturdays: Katamari Forever – Katamari On The Funk (Senor Coconut’s Katamambo! Remix)

If there’s any musical genre that was unexpected for the Katamari Damacy series, it was probably Mambo. But when the trailer for Katamari Forever debuted, this remix of the original Katamari On The Funk stole the show. It rounds out an already eclectic soundtrack with some powerful brass instrumentals and one of the most upbeat rhythms in the entire series. In a game that involves rolling the entire universe up into a gigantic sticky ball, you need a track like this to cheer you on.

If you want more Katamari Forever, you can find part of the OST here.

Good gaming, good music.