Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The 20th Anniversary of the SNES - Part 2

The second game of my feature is a little obscure.


A little-known mech battling game which is practically unheard of, and so are its tunes. This one has some of the highest-quality synth I've heard in any Super NES game, which is a part of what makes the soundtrack special. It's also one of the only SNES games I know of with surround sound. The music does a good job of getting me pumped for the action, or it would if this weren't an awful game. Maybe that's being harsh, as it was an early 3D game and those just don't hold up. Sadly, the music is the only remarkable thing about this game, especially today.


With a light and airy tone, the music that plays during the training stage is bordering on relaxing. As this is basically a drill where you learn the controls and capabilities of the mech, there is no real danger here. It's like the calm before the storm, and the music does a good job portraying that.


Whereas the first stage in the game simply has the mech drifting through space on a set path so all you can do is point and shoot, this second stage is the first one to give you complete control. Similarly, the music picks up here as well. The techno-style beat gets you ready to rock, and the instrumentation here not only captures the feeling of your first step onto an alien world, but also the coldness of the ice planet Cryston. Too bad the action to be found doesn't compare.


This stage has the mech racing to the other end of the planet before time runs out, so the music is fast-paced and energetic to keep you moving. It's a fun idea in concept, but this is unfortunately the stage where the poor jump mechanic really sticks out. When you jump, the camera stays in place briefly as the mech bounds forward, then catches up with it as begins to land, so it is hard to make corrections in mid-air. Add in that there are no checkpoints so a mistake means starting over, and it's just not fun. It's a shame, because the music makes it sound like what's happening should be exciting.


As the final stage in the game, the generally expected tone of the music would be something dramatic. This game takes a different approach, having an almost uplifting piece with a melody centered around a (synth) piano and strings. It gives the feeling that you're almost there, just one more challenge to overcome, and then peace will return to the civilized galaxy. Or it would return, if the stage weren't so long and filled with enemies impossible to dodge without some sort of evasive maneuver. If only this game's awesome soundtrack were indicative of the game itself...

You'll have heard of next entry's game, I promise!

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