Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike is a serious contender for my favorite game of all time. I could spend hours waxing poetic about its incredible design. How fun it was despite the relatively small roster. How unappreciated it was in its time, simply because of its ridiculously steep learning curve. How its intricate and technical combat mechanics set new standards for the fighting genre. How its complex parrying and combo systems unapologetically demanded memorization down to individual animation frames. How the graphics were some of the finest 2D sprites in the 90s. How high-level play is insanely difficult but extremely entertaining, even almost two decades later. How it’s one of the few games that I’m still willing to play anywhere, anytime.
Yeah, I love3rd Strike.
What many folks remember it for most, however, is the soundtrack. The playlist borrowed from and blended several genres, most notably jazz, rap, techno, and instrumentals. It was a risky departure from the simpler, traditional game music themes (which Street Fighter II helped establish), but the decision paid off in spades. Jazzy NYC ’99 is arguably the most famous track, for obvious reasons. Its catchy beat goes perfectly with the bustling, gritty city subway in which its stage is located. Even after all these years, any old school fighting game fan will recognize it instantly. That’s a testament to this game’s quality.
If you want more 3rd Strike, you can find the full OST here.
Undertale has recently taken the gaming world by storm. For good reason, too; while it pays homage to classic 2D RPGs, it delights in taking all of the genre’s common themes and cliches and turning them upside down in witty, hilarious, and sometimes terrifying ways. Maybe you don’t have to kill every monster you come across. Maybe they’re not as horrible and dangerous as they seem. They could be your friends, if you give them the chance. After all, what kind of hero goes on a quest just for the sake of slaying enemies? What do they get out of it? Money? Power from leveling up? Do they even care what they’re doing? What happens when there’s nothing left to kill?
Yeah, it’s interesting.
This theme, “Megalovania,” is actually a remix of an older song. Toby Fox, the creator of Undertale, previously featured it on his Halloween-themed Earthbound ROM hack, as well as Homestuck. It’s also a reference to “Megalomania,” the boss theme from Live-A-Live. As for this game, the song is reserved for the finale of the optional Genocide Route; going by that kind of name, you can imagine what that kind of playthrough requires. No spoilers for the final boss, but let’s just say you’re gonna have a bad time. If you like the song, check out the various versions, or the remixes like the Dual Mix, the Triple-Layered track or the Mega Man X cover.
If you want more Undertale, you can find the full OST here.
Hey, folks. You might’ve noticed that I really like Majora’s Mask. Since its released in 2000. it’s always been my favorite 3D Zelda game in terms of tone and theming; the concepts of change, loss, death, and determination to act despite them are surprisingly deep for a Nintendo game. The idea of immersing yourself in a self-contained, dream-like world and unraveling its dark secrets interests me for some reason. Of course, Wind Waker’sepic sailing appeals to the adventurer in me, but I’m always drawn to MM’s sinister world and the characters trapped with in it. There’s a real sense of tragedy and desperation involved. However, there is also hope; the choices and actions you undertake affect the outcome, often in ways you don’t foresee. It’s a great life lesson, even if it is masked (no pun intended) by a bizarre, twisted tale. The soundtrack is just as somber as you’d expect. While there aren’t any upbeat songs in the playlist, this awesome OC Remix of the original Inverted Stone Tower theme has long been a favorite of mine.
If you want more Majora’s Mask, 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.
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.
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.
When you ask gamers about the best titles on the SNES, you’ll probably hear things like Super Mario World, A Link To The Past, Chrono Trigger, or Super Metroid. Occasionally, someone will mention Mega Man X, the continuation of the classic Capcom franchise. It set a high standard for every action/platformer that came after it. It took everything from the old NES games and improved on them in every way. There were characters with actual personalities, more upgrades, flashier graphics, tighter controls, versatile weapons, several secrets, fast pacing, gorgeous levels, and epic bosses.
It was so good.
Its success (it eventually spawned eight sequels!) was also due to its incredible sound design. When something exploded, you heard it. The game was one of the first to demonstrate what the SNES could really do, especially with regards to the soundtrack. The guitar riffs in Storm Eagle’s stage, the jazzy, complex beat of Armored Armadillo’s mine…and of course, Spark Mandrill’s classic rock theme. That last one was revamped by Sixto Sounds for OC Remix’sFor Everlasting Peace: 25 Years Of Mega Man, and it’s arguably the best track on the album. It’s an amazing song paying homage to an even more amazing game.
If you want more Mega Man X, you can find the full OST here. If you want more Sixto Sounds, you can find his page here.
Super Mario 64 was one of the most important games ever made. It embodied what the gaming industry strove for at the time: the transition from 2D levels into 3D, fully-realized worlds. Every 3D game that followed owes something to it. By no means was it perfect; the graphics were decent at best, the camera angles were awkward, and there were several glitches. But in 1996, all anyone cared about was that Mario was in 3D. I can still remember the first time I saw Princess Peach’s castle and being completely swept away at the sheer size and scale of it. It controlled so well; Mario seemed so…lively, as if even the slightest press of a button could make him do something awesome. Though not a hard game, the Bowser-themed boss levels were intimidating to new players. Sole Signal’s remix of the classic stage music captures the feeling and pacing of those moments perfectly.
If you want more Super Mario 64, you can find the OST here. If you want more Sole Signal remixes, you can find his work here.
Hey, folks. Today’s Daily Prompt is all about music. Specifically, the songs that will always remind you of the summer of 2014. I don’t think I’ve come up with a definite theme for the season, but the following come to mind:
There’s a mix of isolation and uncertainty, the passage of time, and the determination to keep going. I’m not sure if it just reflects my current mood, or something more. When it comes to the music of our lives, some variety makes for the best soundtracks.
Last week, I chose the Street Fighter theme of my favorite character, Chun-Li. Earlier this week, however, Capcom released the latest entry in the franchise: Ultra Street Fighter IV. It brings five more fights into the mix, making a total roster of 44 playable characters. Some of them are from Third Strike, my favorite game in the franchise. One of whom is Elena, who was originally designed to showcase the graphical capabilities of 2D sprites. In 1997, she one of the most detailed video game characters ever. Since she specialized in capoeira, she was constantly moving and dancing. Even when you weren’t pressing any buttons! While she’s rendered in 3D now in 2014, her slick fighting style and positive personality haven’t changed a bit. What has changed, however, is her theme, Beats In My Head. The vocals didn’t translate well in the original, but the song was too awesome to forget. Capcom remixed it for Ultra, giving old-time fans like me something to enjoy.
If you want more Street Fighter IV, you can find (most of) the OST here.