Tag Archives: Nintendo

Review: Star Fox Zero

Star Fox soundtracks are some of my favorites. Nintendo’s take on science fiction with majestic orchestra and electronic elements has been a treat since the original Star Fox on the SNES, and while the team at Bandai Namco was largely responsible for this soundtrack, I was curious to see how they’d treat the source material. Overall, it’s a rather grand and serious orchestral score with a lot of references to classic Star Fox themes, and I think anyone who played through the game was sure to enjoythe music.

The score overall is quite large and covers a lot of ground, making it even more unfortunate that Nintendo is unlikely to publish a soundtrack. I’ll simply call out some of my favorites that you may pay special attention to as you play through the game and hear them for yourself. Right out of the gate with the title theme, you get bombastic orchestra that sets the stage for an epic adventure in space. I got an immediate kick out of the theme that plays when you complete training, as it’s glorious and triumphant, working in the Star Fox theme and incorporating some cool rock percussion alongside the fancy synth work. Corneria gets the blood pumping with a tense take on the main theme, while the laid back map theme (my favorite track) works in electronic percussion and beautiful harmonies. Area 3 gets fast-paced drum ‘n’ bass, Katt gets a playful jazz theme with meows at the end, and the track that plays when you complete a mission is a sleek electronic march that is an arrangement of the classic victory tune. The Star Fox theme itself is an upbeat and bouncy march with little synth runs that are a nice touch, while Fortuna gets a tropical forest vibe complete with marimba and male choral chanting. Towards the end, Venom is accompanied by droning tones and scattered notes, adding to the tension, and even deeper into the planet, you get repetitive whirring and string stabs that are almost maddening. Andross gets a sinister theme with choir and big brass. The lengthy ending sequence sports the expected triumphant orchestral territory, but there’s some chillout material that I really enjoyed.

In all, I was pleased with the Star Fox Zero soundtrack. I’d love to see it published some day, but it hasn’t happened yet. Perhaps it’ll get picked up by an external publisher like we’ve been seeing with recent Pokemon, Zelda, and Fire Emblem releases.

Review: Xenoblade Chronicles X Original Soundtrack

The announcement that anime and film composer Hiroyuki Sawano would be working on Xenoblade Chronicles X was met with a lot of excitement. The team was going all out with the score, and for anyone who’s played the game, the vast landscapes that are at the same time primeval and futuristic are captured perfectly in Sawano’s blend of epic orchestral, electronic, rock, hip-hop, vocal and piano ballads, and more. There are sleek production values throughout, and while the track titles are often unreadable (presented as alpha-numeric gibberish), making it hard to find your favorite moments, listening from start to finish will present numerous outstanding moments.

Many of the in-game themes have been spliced together and shift pretty dramatically in mood over the course of a single track, so it’s hard to describe individual tracks, but the variety is pretty staggering. The four-disc collection begins with a bang, with the epic choir and strings of “CODENAMEZ” and the uplifting main theme, “THEMEX.” “LP” presents a soundscape that’s exotic and alien, complete with pretty bell tones, while “MONOX” sports a smooth electronic vibe before hitting the powerful main theme again. The ethereal “Nemousu” is beautiful yet melancholy with its use of choir and bells, while the tracks from the central hub city, New LA, include hip hop elements mixed with rock and electronica. The battle themes, “Black Tar” and “Uncontrollable” are both great at building tension and getting you pumped with their heavy electronics and hip hop vocals in the former and male/female duet in the latter. Other areas of the game feature funk, blues, and even tread on Celtic territory. One track even makes use of phone noises and scary screeches to create a tense atmosphere, while another brings in ethnic instruments that are perfect accompaniments for an arid desert. Anyone who’s played the game will also know the music featured in Primordia, which has a distinctly prehistoric sound with rock elements, heavy string stabs and a driving melody that will leave you wanting to explore every nook and cranny of this foreign world. There are also some nice solo piano tracks tucked away on the last disc.

I mentioned vocals earlier, but in addition to the battle and New LA themes, there are a number of other vocal tracks. “You Voice” is a grungy pop rock track, “Wir fliegen” is a pumping electronic piece with German vocals, and “By my side” is a sweet pop rock ballad with cheesy lyrics reminiscent of the GENKI ROCKETS. “Don’t Worry” also stands out with its 80s synths and sticky sweet electronic synth pop vibe. The star, however, is “In the forest,” which is featured three separate times on the album, featuring an epic orchestral and choir backing alongside spoken narration-style singing.

In all, fans of the game should enjoy what’s on offer here. While it’s not organized in a way to find your favorite tracks, you’ll be right at home with all of the music here. It’s epic, it’s well produced, and it’s memorable. Grab the four-disc set at CD Japan if you’re interested.

Review: FINAL FANTASY EXPLORERS Original Soundtrack

While we’ve grown accustomed to Naoshi Mizuta scoring many of the smaller spin-off Final Fantasy titles over the past several years, Final Fantasy Explorers opts instead for composer Tsuyoshi Sekito, who’s probably best known for his rock-oriented work on The Last Remnant and various contributions to many Square Enix titles.

He delivers a fairly impressive mix of sweeping orchestral themes with the JRPG-standard rock-flavored battle music, which plays to his strengths. The regal orchestral main theme is big and bombastic, and is worked throughout many of the tracms, and there are a few Final Fantasy series references featured throughout in addition to the battle themes from Final Fantasy IV through IX tucked away at the end of the album.

There are playful marches, adventurous suites, droning ambiance, flamenco, accordion-laden Western, and tense espionage themes. The rocking metal take on the chocobo’s theme is a lot of fun, and one of my favorite tracks comes as an exotic piece with an unusual oboe melody that stuck with me. The then there’s epic rock throughout, particularly in the final battle theme, that should please fans of the epic battle themes of yore.

In all, Sekito delivers a fairly fun and upbeat Final Fantasy score that should please JRPG enthusiasts. It’s been a while since we’ve heard an entire score from Tsuyoshi Sekito, so his fans will definitely want to check this out. It’s available on CD Japan.

Review: Bayonetta 2 Original Soundtrack

Listening to a Bayonetta soundtrack is always a huge undertaking. The first game’s soundtrack was five discs, and not to be outdone, Bayonetta 2 also clocks in at five. Still, much with the games, there’s a lot of quirkiness and charm found within the eclectic mix of electronic, orchestral, and jazz themes presented.

To go along with this large collection of music, there’s also a number of contributing composers from Platinum games and elsewhere who make this soundtrack what it is.

Does the Bayonetta 2 soundtrack surpass the first game’s effort? Read more below. Continue reading Review: Bayonetta 2 Original Soundtrack

Review: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

I’ve finally dug through the 400+ songs featured in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. I was particularly pleased with the Super Smash Bros. for 3DS soundtrack that I reviewed a couple months back, and the Wii U soundtrack is a staggering three-to-four times bigger.

Now, while many of those tracks are original soundtrack versions and returning arrangements from Melee and Brawl (which are excellent themselves), there’s still new arrangements to enjoy.

Let’s have a listen. Continue reading Review: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

Review: Super Smash Bros. for 3DS

Super Smash Bros. titles offer a rare treat for game music fans. While gamers get pumped to do battle with their favorite Nintendo (and guest) characters, this comes with musical arrangements that pay homage to all of these characters and their respective worlds.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii broke new ground by featuring arrangements from some of the top game music composers from Japan, and Super Smash Bros. for 3DS follows suit by including many of these arrangements along with new ones from the development team at Bandai Namco Games.

There’s a lot of music to hear (and even more will be featured in the Wii U version), so let’s take a look! Continue reading Review: Super Smash Bros. for 3DS

Review: Hyrule Warriors

Everyone knew from the moment Hyrule Warriors was announced that this game would be all about fan service. I’ve personally never delved into the Dynasty Warriors series, mainly because the setting didn’t appeal to me very much, but a similar game taking place in Hyrule with all my favorite Zelda characters? I knew I’d be in  for a treat.

One thing that was never discussed leading up to launch was the game’s soundtrack. Would there be an original score? Would we get renditions of our favorite Zelda tunes, and if so, in the rockin’ style that Dynasty Warriors is known for, or a more orchestral approach that we know from the Zelda franchise?

I’ll say I wasn’t disappointed. Read our review below. Continue reading Review: Hyrule Warriors

Review: Mario Kart 8 Soundtrack

I always figured that Mario Kart would be the last hold out from Nintendo, doomed to host cheesy synth sounds for its soundtracks for all eternity. We’ve seen Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda get the orchestral treatment, but Mario Kart is a party game, so when Mario Kart 8 was announced, I didn’t expect anything new on the sound front.

I was mistaken, however, as Nintendo has really gone all out once again for this score. Given the time and attention that the large sound team at Nintendo put into the game, including contributions from Shiho Fujii, Atsuko Asahi, Ryo Nagamatsu, Yasuaki Iwata, and direction by Kenta Nagata, I thought we should dig in and take a look at what they’ve accomplished.

Read impressions below. Continue reading Review: Mario Kart 8 Soundtrack

Prescription for Sleep: Game Music Lullabies (SMRC-1006)

It’s out! Ten tracks from across the spectrum of gaming, arranged and performed by GENTLE LOVE (Norihiko Hibino and AYAKI) for maximum relaxation and sleep. The album’s official website now contains the full track list (also below), and you can now purchase the album via Loudr.

Also, don’t miss the exclusive interview over on The Escapist where we discuss the potential for a second album. Send your feedback and suggestions to jayson[at]scarletmoonproductions.com!

Finally, check out the beautiful launch trailer at IGN today! Continue reading Prescription for Sleep: Game Music Lullabies (SMRC-1006)

Prescription for Sleep: Game Music Lullabies Announced

Scarlet Moon Records is extremely proud to be able to reveal Prescription for Sleep: Game Music Lullabies, an album of videogame music tracks arranged and performed live for sleep and relaxation. The album features Norihiko Hibino on saxophone and AYAKI on piano, performing together at GENTLE LOVE. There’s a website dedicated to the album, which can be found here.

Each week we’ll be unveiling two track titles leading up to the May 19, 2014 release date on Loudr and other digital retailers. So far Donkey Kong Country’s “Aquatic Ambiance” has been announced (sample below) alongside Secret of Mana’s “A Wish…” (exclusive sample on GameSpot).