Song Highlights – Xenoblade Chronicles, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Mario Party, Rayman Origins

Guar Plains – Xenoblade Chronicles (ACE+, Wii, Nintendo/Monolith Soft)

Man, this soundtrack is incredible, with this one track a highlight of its quality. I adore wandering around to this theme. So adventurous!

Bramble Blast – Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Michiro Naruke/David Wise [original composer], Wii, Nintendo)

The original song Wise performed is nice, but I really do enjoy listening to Naruke’s arrangement. It has great instrumentation that take the original composition into peppier places, and I am a big fan of the way it sounds. Shame I don’t like the DK level it plays on. :(

Mario Party – Peaceful Mushroom Village (Yasunori Mitsuda, Main Menu theme, N64, Nintendo/Hudson)

A short loop but a really good one. Very relaxing, very mellow, and is the best thing I can recollect from this game. My palms still ache, Nintendo. :p

Rayman Origins – Lost Beats (Christophe Heral/Billy Martin, Desert of Dijiridoos stages, PS3/Xbox 360/Wii/PC/3DS/Vita, UBISoft)

The musical talents of Heral cannot be ignored. I don’t know how much Martin did, but most of this soundtrack screams out Heral to me. :p This is a lovely mix of instrumentation that is just amazing to listen to. It’s 10 minutes long, so it’ll keep you entertained for a bit.

Looking Back: My Favorite Game of 2011

Now Revised!

LVLs., in its earlier Wildcat Online days, ran a traditional awards show (i.e. post) for a couple of years where I awarded games I liked a recolored sprite of NES Link cleverly dubbed “The Golden Links”.  I’ve thrown that idea aside for several years, but this year I actually had a chance to purchase more than a couple games that are current enough for me to postulate my feelings toward them and actually have it be relevant, so I’m bringing the concept back.  However, the “Golden Link” is going to stay a part of the past.  Instead, I’m revising my Looking Back articles to be much more than they have been. Beyond the life ruminations, the shortlist and anecdotes about my favorite game, I’m also going to award some other aspects of games, like Best New Hero/Villain, Best Voice Acting, Best Box Art, and a few others.  It’ll make it more personal and appropriate for the Game of the Year festivities that frequent the ‘net this time of year, and more fun for me to ponder (and I will get back to revising all the older pieces with this material in time).  Note that this is incredibly spoiler-tastic, so I’d advise not reading if you don’t want anything about Skyrim, Dead Space 2, Monster Tale, Portal 2, Batman: Arkham City, Deus Ex: Human Revolution or Zelda: Skyward Sword ruined. Click on if you don’t care! (more…)

Song Highlights – Rayman Origins, King of Fighters ’99, Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest, Zoda’s Revenge: StarTropics II

Rayman Origins – Sea of Serendipity ~ Panic at the Port (Multi-Platform, UBI Soft, Christophe Heral and Billy Martin)

This is a gem.  A shining jewel of happy-go-lucky music that made my day hearing it.  Heral continues to impress me with his work.  I don’t know Billy Martin’s extent of contribution to the overall sound, but it doesn’t matter when music this good is composed.

King of Fighters ’99/Evolution – WWIII (Ikari Warriors Theme, NeoGeo/Dreamcast, SNK, Shinsekai Gakkyoku Zatsugidan)

ROCK OUT with this thrashing tune from a long line of incredible SNK soundtracks.  I definitely consider Evolution to be among the finest fighting game soundtracks out there, with this a good reason why.

Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest – Bloody Tears (NES, Konami, Kenichi Matsubara)

I had to do Bloody Tears at some point – it’s a masterpiece of the NES sound hardware, and is one of the series’ most beloved and reused tunes.  Wonderful stuff.

Zoda’s Revenge: StarTropics II – Transylvania Dungeon (NES, Nintendo, Y. Hirai, T. Kumegawa)

Among the most menacing and pulse-racing tunes on the console.  This soundtrack on the whole deserves way more credit for its incredible music, and I’m planning on giving it a proper spotlight soon.  ‘Til then, enjoy this Gothic infused chiptune.


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