Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The 20th Anniversary of the SNES - Final

Whoops! I forgot to post the final part of this last month! Oh well, I guess I still will, in case anyone is still paying attention.

Chrono Trigger
Anyone with an interest in RPGs has surely heard of this game, which is largely considered to be the finest RPG created in the 16-bit generation. Although it certainly contains a well-told story and interesting battle system, the music is the one aspect which I believe propelled it into the running of Best RPG Ever. Each tune was composed with such care rarely seen in gaming, each piece captures the mood of every moment with striking emotion. The adventure, the hope, the pain, the triumph... every scene is driven in perfect harmony of the soundtrack.

The Millennium Fair
A fair that comes only once every thousand years needs to have a suitably monumental tune accompanying it, and this one doesn't disappoint. It's a shame the fair isn't an area of the game where a lot of time is spent, although that is also a testament to the effort behind the game's soundtrack.

The Black Omen
With a name as ominous as The Black Omen, I expected something a little more dramatic. The piece starts with an eerie plink, then moves into a somewhat jazzy sequence with a piano. It's a weird mix of styles, but it somehow fits the setting quite well.

R-66Y's Theme
Despite meeting this friendly robot in a desolate future, this theme song is particularly upbeat. Its uplifting melody is inspiring to continue the long road ahead, instilling hope that this future can be prevented. The rhythmic beat even sounds like a robot stomping the ground, giving an image of a whole robot ensemble dancing to the music. For some reason, this one reminds me of disco, even though I don't think it uses instruments typically associated with disco. Maybe it has something to do with R-66Y's attack involving lasers...

Spekkio's Theme
The self-proclaimed Master of War, Spekkio is a strange creature with an interesting motto: you're only as strong as you think your opponent looks. Spekkio is one of the few living beings who remain at the End of Time, and he's there to provide the party with practice bouts to test their strength. The tune's cheerful flute melody and lively tempo may seem out of place for a battle theme, but it captures the radical nature of Spekkio.

The Magic Kingdom
This is the one. The track that has been engrained in my mind almost my entire life. I don't exactly know what it is about it that makes it so pleasant to my ears; it's certainly an apt piece for the kingdom of magic, as it contains a magical quality. The drums provide the perfect rhythm for the sitar to follow, and the opening echo of the gamelan still gives me chills to this day. If there were only one tune I found infinitely listenable, this is it, the track that I could make my theme song for entering a room and never get tired of listening to it.

Honourable Mentions
As a system with many memorable soundtracks, it wasn't easy choosing just five, as evidenced by the fact that I picked six. There were still many more in consideration, some of which still deserve a mention.
DooM – This port may be rough, but surprisingly enough, the music is actually an improvement over the PC version.
Earthbound – Though Earthbound's whimsical soundtrack is unique, its quirkiness makes it the kind of music that works only when actually playing the game.
Final Fantasy Mystic Quest – An RPG designed for those new to the genre, the game itself is rather boring. Despite this, its soundtrack is expertly done, with inspiring pieces, energetic battle themes, and upbeat melodies.
Super Metroid – Its moody tunes set the tone of each area perfectly, but it's missing the spark that makes a piece infinitely listenable.

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