Hey, did you know Pokemonturned 20 this week? Yeah, I was surprised, too. I remember when the series first came to America. I was in that perfect target demographic sweet spot; I had a Game Boy, watched weekday afternoon cartoons (Pokemon was technically my first anime, as Toonami hadn’t premiered yet), and still had the time to dedicate hours to catching ’em all. I can still recite the original PokeRap. I don’t think I need to elaborate on Nintendo’s brilliant marketing campaign; the fact that the series has survived this long – with two brand new games coming out this Christmas – speaks for itself. Nintendo definitely knew they were onto something by 2001, when they included this song in Super Smash Bros. Melee. A fully-orchestrated remix of the anime’s title theme, complete with an utterly epic choir? Yeah, that’ll blow any fan’s mind the first time they hear it. While I don’t play Pokemon anymore (an exercise in futility if there ever was one), I still remember the original games fondly.
If you want more SSBM, you can find the full OST here.
Since I went back into Smash 3DS to review it this week, I spent some time with its small but oh-so awesome OST. “Gaur Plain” is a track from Xenoblade Chronicles, an excellent RPG for the Wii. It’s hard to explain the plot – it involves a teenager with a magical sword and his friends fighting an army of mechanical monsters – but the game has one of the most gorgeous and expansive settings in recent memory. Imagine huge grassy fields and hills teeming with all sorts of wildlife. You’re given free reign over this amazing landscape, allowing you to undertake an epic quest at your own pace. Few games encourage that kind of exploration, making Xenoblade Chronicles such an amazing experience. It’s only fitting that an epic theme like “Gaur Plain” accompanies you along the journey.
If you want more Super Smash Bros. 4, you can find the full OST here.
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.
It’s yet another week leading up to the release of Smash Bros. on the 3DS, so I figured another look into the previous games’ soundtracks was fitting. This particularly epic song comes from Metal Gear Solid 4; Snake, its protagonist, was a guest character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. However, it’s worth noting that Brawl came out before MGS4; this song and the stage it’s used on were actually little teasers and cameos for MGS fans waiting for the latter game to come out. As a result, the Theme of Love debuted in a completely different franchise and console than the game it was designed for. Funny how video game crossovers work…
Quick show of hands: Who’s played Tetris? I know at least some of you have; it even has a cognitive phenomenon named after it. It’s been around since the mid-80’s, though people in my generation probably associate it most with the original Gameboy (which just celebrated its 25th anniversary this week!) and NES. I don’t think I need to expound on the virtues of the greatest puzzle video game ever made. The fact that it’s lasted this long is testament enough. When Nintendo released Super Smash Bros. Brawl on the Wii, they were sure to pay homage to one of the many games that put their consoles on the map. Case in point: A fully orchestrated version of the classic Type A theme, which itself is an arranged version of Korobeiniki, a 19th century Russian folk song.
As far as Brawl goes, however, Type A is just one entry in its over 250-song soundtrack. It’s such a massive ensemble that it would take almost eight hours to complete! You can find a song listing here, and a partial playlist here.
Remember Super Mario Bros.? The series has come a long, long way in the last 30 years, and this was especially evident with Super Mario Galaxy. Released in 2007 on the Wii, the game boasted stunning visions of the iconic plumber leaping and soaring through space. The innovative level design and sleek style made the game a modern classic. It was also the first Mario soundtrack to be designed for a 50-player symphony orchestra. The result? One of the greatest OSTs in gaming history.
You can find Super Mario Galaxy’s soundtrack (and its sequel!) here.