Soundtrack Central The best of VGM and other great soundtracks

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Dais Jun 24, 2009 (edited Jun 24, 2009)

"read anything", I like that.

Can you name a few games that fit your ideal of the proper evolutionary path of game music?

picture. Cinematic and interactive suck to you because you consider the stereotype, not the wider potential.

wait, interactive? like dynamic music? what does that have to do with anything?

Chris Jun 24, 2009

Dais wrote:

"read anything", I like that.

Can you name a few games that fit your ideal of the proper evolutionary path of game music?

Not many, though I don't have time to play many games these days. I liked what I saw of No More Heroes and Dead Space in the past year though.

wait, interactive? like dynamic music? what does that have to do with anything?

It's all the rage in Animal Crossing and Nintendo PR in general. Totakeke must die though.

Dais Jun 24, 2009

Chris wrote:
Dais wrote:

"read anything", I like that.

Can you name a few games that fit your ideal of the proper evolutionary path of game music?

Not many, though I don't have time to play many games these days. I liked what I saw of No More Heroes and Dead Space in the past year though.

wait, interactive? like dynamic music? what does that have to do with anything?

It's all the rage in Animal Crossing and Nintendo PR in general. Totakeke must die though.

okay, now you're just f---ing with me.

Qui-Gon Joe Jun 24, 2009

Dais wrote:

Could you perhaps elaborate a bit further?

If you're referring to me, sure!

I've always felt that Symphony of the Night has simultaneously one of the most varied and yet "whole" soundtracks in the history of the genre.  By that I mean that each area of the game has a distinct sound that is entirely appropriate for the area.  When I hear pieces of music from the game, I can instantly visualize the area it came from (something I haven't felt recently in a game outside of Mario Galaxy, I don't think).  At the same time, despite how different in style many of the tracks are, they still all work together.  I think that's one of the things that makes SotN such a great OST.

I cannot, however, say the same thing for any Castlevania score since then.  While I still LIKE a lot of the work that Yamane has done in the series, I don't feel that any of the soundtracks since then have recaptured quite what I loved about that one.  I feel they're very interchangeable and haven't really had the same impact for me.

Being that Yamane was relatively unknown when she first started on the series, I think it would be interesting to see some fresh blood take it on.  We've had a decade of her being the primary force directing the music of the series; let's hear a different take on it.

TerraEpon Jun 25, 2009

Chris wrote:

Very generic response... Ehrm, read anything from the industry or game companies and you'll realize it, in fact, does. Would you rather cutscenes with no underscoring or gameplay with no adaptivity? To me, you seem a little stuck in the 90s even though 2010 is round the corner. That's no really a bad thing since the 90s were pretty good for game music But it seems a little like calling humans the pinnacle of evolution. Decent enough, but there's still a lot to improve upon...

But yet, none of that has anything to do with the quality of the music itself. How does the lack of cinematicness make it "dated"?

Dais Jun 25, 2009

I still don't even understand what cinematic music is, at least as regards video game scores. "Cinematic" means it's related to cinema.

Qui-Gon Joe wrote:
Dais wrote:

Could you perhaps elaborate a bit further?

If you're referring to me, sure!

I've always felt that Symphony of the Night has simultaneously one of the most varied and yet "whole" soundtracks in the history of the genre.  By that I mean that each area of the game has a distinct sound that is entirely appropriate for the area.  When I hear pieces of music from the game, I can instantly visualize the area it came from (something I haven't felt recently in a game outside of Mario Galaxy, I don't think).  At the same time, despite how different in style many of the tracks are, they still all work together.  I think that's one of the things that makes SotN such a great OST.

I cannot, however, say the same thing for any Castlevania score since then.  While I still LIKE a lot of the work that Yamane has done in the series, I don't feel that any of the soundtracks since then have recaptured quite what I loved about that one.  I feel they're very interchangeable and haven't really had the same impact for me.

Being that Yamane was relatively unknown when she first started on the series, I think it would be interesting to see some fresh blood take it on.  We've had a decade of her being the primary force directing the music of the series; let's hear a different take on it.

Now this is an evaluation and criticism I can appreciate. I disagree with some part (I think SOTN is actually fairly weak as a whole, but feel it's individual tracks excel beyond most game music, even stuff produced since it's release), but it actually, well, makes sense. Thank you.

I have something of a mixed feeling about post-SOTN scores. For the most part, I enjoy them all, but they each have notable flaws. I'd actually say that I find Aria of Sorrow the closest in matching the diversity and creativity of SOTN, but I feel the limits of the platform kept the music from really being comparable (and I love GBA music). Unfortunately, I haven't been that impressed with her work since then, save some select stand out tunes that I feel still surpass (whew) most of what you hear in games these days.

I just recoil at the suggestion that Lords of Shadow could mark an opportunity to refocus the music of the series. In my view, the media so far presented has yet to earn the distinction of even marking the game as consistent with any Castlevania design or tradition, let alone showing anything that might make me swallow Konami's claim that this was their plan all along. I can't conceive of what kind of impact this game's score could have on the Castlevania music "canon" when I can't even accept it as a Castlevania game.

Chris Jun 25, 2009 (edited Jun 25, 2009)

Sober again, yay! I don't think I'm saying anything revolutionary here, but maybe I didn't express myself well or people misunderstood me.

okay, now you're just f---ing with me.

Maybe. When our opinions are so different and your approach is so aggressive, I figured a normal argument would be out of the question.

TerraEpon wrote:

But yet, none of that has anything to do with the quality of the music itself. How does the lack of cinematicness make it "dated"?

It's not about the quality of the music itself, just how it works in the game. Static music doesn't offer the most engaging gameplay experience and events really need some underscoring (orchestral or otherwise) to be as affecting as possible.  These weren't big priorities back in Symphony of the Night's day, even if things had vastly improved from five to ten years earlier. However, they tend to be essential in expansive games these days.

Again, I think you're focusing too much on the stereotype that cinematic music automatically comes from Hollywood. All I mean by cinematic is that it convincingly underscores the various movie sequences and whatnot that are now commonplace in games. This can be in any genre, any tone, etc. so long as it works in the game. Of course, it's necessary to make sure the core gameplay doesn't suffer and so many Western games scores (or Xenosaga) suffer from disproportionate focus on cinematic scoring.

There'll probably always be the need for some static music, since it's very demanding to create adaptive music for every scenario, but some interactivity can be achieved quite efficiently. For example, the MGS series is known for its evasion, caution, and alert music that elegantly changes the mood and pace in conjunction with the game. The Kingdom Hearts series nicely transitions from stylistically related stage and battle music. Even a few early games like Banjo Kazooie and DK64 offered some variety within giant levels by simple variations on each level theme. And FFXII's approach of offering expansive music within one single area theme was kind of effective too. Not that interactive, but certainly representative.

Another example: I love the soundtracks to FFVII - FFIX and think they were just right for their time, but I'm not convinced they would fit new Final Fantasy games even with an improvement in technology. They just seem too simple with the more elaborate graphics and too static with the novel gameplay. I guess FFIX did cinematic well though. All the major cutscenes were beautifully underscored with vibrant orchestration by Shiro Hamaguchi. That wasn't generic Hollywood music at all and just as colourful and emotional as the main score. I'd love to see more like that...

I think SOTN is actually fairly weak as a whole, but feel it's individual tracks excel beyond most game music, even stuff produced since it's release

I actually somewhat agree with this. Some of its individual tracks in my opinion surpass its achievement as a collective whole. I'd go for fairly strong rather than fairly weak as a whole, but I'd not describe it as downright perfect either. This is part of the reason I thought there was still a lot of room for evolution. For me, Lament of Innocence is a better collective whole and has about as many star tracks, though it also has more weaker ones.

Ashley Winchester Jun 25, 2009

Chris wrote:

I think SOTN is actually fairly weak as a whole, but feel it's individual tracks excel beyond most game music, even stuff produced since it's release

I actually somewhat agree with this. Some of its individual tracks in my opinion surpass its achievement as a collective whole. I'd go for fairly strong rather than fairly weak as a whole, but I'd not describe it as downright perfect either. This is part of the reason I thought there was still a lot of room for evolution. For me, Lament of Innocence is a better collective whole and has about as many star tracks, though it also has more weaker ones.

I have to jump on this bandwagon as well. SotN is a wonderful score but time has shown me it's far from the perfect creature I thought it once was.

Herrkotowski Aug 21, 2009 (edited Aug 21, 2009)

There's an interesting write up on Lords of Shadow at 1up. Perhaps the most intriguing thing, of course, is that the entire soundtrack will be recorded using a 120 piece orchestra and is being handled by a famous Spanish film composer. For those movie soundtrack buffs out there, any guesses?

http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3175699

I'm personally hoping for Javier Navarrete (Pan's Labyrinth), but anything is possible I guess.

Angela Aug 21, 2009

Herrkotowski wrote:

There's an interesting write up on Lords of Shadow at 1up. Perhaps the most intriguing thing, of course, is that the entire soundtrack will be recorded using a 120 piece orchestra and is being handled by a famous Spanish film composer. For those movie soundtrack buffs out there, any guesses?

http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3175699

I'm personally hoping for Javier Navarrete (Pan's Labyrinth), but anything is possible I guess.

My first thought immediately went to Navarrete.  Either him, or Alberto Iglesias, who composed "The Kite Runner."

Eirikr Aug 21, 2009

One source I found for composer is Óscar Araujo, though I'm waiting to see something else to confirm it.

Apparently old themes will be featured in the score, so there's reason to believe this game will be handled better than we might think.

SonicPanda Aug 21, 2009

Eirikr wrote:

One source I found for composer is Óscar Araujo, though I'm waiting to see something else to confirm it.

Given that he already has done VGM, I'm calling this the safe bet.
I just hope it's not the Babel guy. Academy Award be damned, I wasn't impressed.

Chris Aug 22, 2009

SonicPanda wrote:
Eirikr wrote:

One source I found for composer is Óscar Araujo, though I'm waiting to see something else to confirm it.

Given that he already has done VGM, I'm calling this the safe bet.

And more importantly for the exact same developer.

Adam Corn Sep 17, 2010

Wow have we really gone a year without any mention of Lords of Shadow?  I played it at TGS yesterday and am still very impressed and very hopeful about this title.

The gameplay segment was the night scene in the village, Gabriel vs. a batch of wolve-like creatures culminating in a boss battle with the giga-wolf.  There's definitely a GoW-like flair in the combos you can pull off but with your whip flying everywhere and blood splattering about it feels and looks just right (I'm not interested in seeing the series go hyper-violent but in context the added gore works).  The dark, fairly realistic graphics look great in both a technical and artistic sense... I for one am so relieved to see the character designs go back in the direction of the early NES and SNES Castlevanias.  The orchestral music was dark and at times booming; it accompanied the action well but it remains to be heard how much of a melodic tilt it will take.

Just as encouraging as the gameplay segment is the trailer they were showing.  With Gabriel climbing and swinging about on his whip and solving visually striking puzzles in between taking out smaller minions and massive bosses, I don't see how anyone interested in a modern-day 3D Castlevania with added adventure elements in the vein of Simon's Quest couldn't be excited.

Along with the music, how the story and pacing pan out are the big questions that remain but as it stands now I expect this to the second physical purchase I make for my new PS3 (the first having been Street Fighter IV).

GoldfishX Sep 17, 2010

Adam Corn wrote:

Just as encouraging as the gameplay segment is the trailer they were showing.  With Gabriel climbing and swinging about on his whip and solving visually striking puzzles in between taking out smaller minions and massive bosses, I don't see how anyone interested in a modern-day 3D Castlevania with added adventure elements in the vein of Simon's Quest couldn't be excited.

Maybe we're just skeptical because Castlevania has been a massive, decade-long failure in making the transition from 2D to 3D, ultimately splashing down into oblivion as a Wiimote-toting joke of a fighting game in Castlevania Judgement. For me personally, the fact that Igarashi is NOT heading this project up is reason enough to approach this new attempt with an open mind. From the descriptions of the music, I'm not terribly interested in the soundtrack to this one nor do I really have any expectations for it. I'll just stream old-school Castlevania music through my 360 instead, lol.

And yes, the new character designs are VERY welcome. Even...rather kickass, if I do say so myself.

Angela Sep 18, 2010

Previews have been overwhelmingly positive, even calling it one of the year's potentially brightest titles yet to be released.  I'm still not entirely convinced of the gameplay; I've about had my fill with the likes of Bayonetta and God of War III, so I'm not sure if I could take on another like-minded game so soon.

brandonk Oct 5, 2010

Angela wrote:

Previews have been overwhelmingly positive, even calling it one of the year's potentially brightest titles yet to be released.  I'm still not entirely convinced of the gameplay; I've about had my fill with the likes of Bayonetta and God of War III, so I'm not sure if I could take on another like-minded game so soon.

Isn't this an interesting phenomenon...I tried playing through Bayonetta but grew tired - I still want to...God of War which looks amazing, just not interested....yet if a killer 2D game came out, I'd definitely at least be interested...Finally Castlevania gets the 3d action game it deserves, and I have to admit I could barely care...though it is showing up from Gamefly this week.  I guess I'll see if I can find the time and interest

Ashley Winchester Oct 6, 2010

The more I see of this thing the less interested I grow. Despite the somewhat negative connotation that's attached to the terms "Castleroid" and "Metroidvania" I feel that such Castlevania games didn't really copy Metroid's formula as much as they took an influence from it. Such a feeling doesn't really apply when looking at Lords of Shadow, in fact the opposite scenario seems to prevail.

Obviously though, "look" doesn't equal "experience" in any such case, although I can say if Castlevania had indeed become something I don't care for I'm not going to be heartbroken over it, it just means less one less license to worry about. This has already come to light for me when it comes to Mega Man beyond the initial three incarnations but the world still turns.

Angela Oct 11, 2010

Angela wrote:

The second part is up now, covering Super Castlevania IV, Rondo of Blood, Bloodlines, and Symphony of the Night. 

I'm reminded of the musical golden oldies these games boast.  Super Castlevania IV's rendition of Bloody Tears, Rondo of Blood's Bloodlines, Bloodlines' Requiem For The Nameless Victims, Symphony of the Night's Crystal Teardrops and Requiem for the Gods...... all so good.

GoldfishX Oct 11, 2010

Angela wrote:
Angela wrote:

The second part is up now, covering Super Castlevania IV, Rondo of Blood, Bloodlines, and Symphony of the Night. 

I'm reminded of the musical golden oldies these games boast.  Super Castlevania IV's rendition of Bloody Tears, Rondo of Blood's Bloodlines, Bloodlines' Requiem For The Nameless Victims, Symphony of the Night's Crystal Teardrops and Requiem for the Gods...... all so good.

Musically, the series ran of steam after the original Dracula X for me. Symphony and Circle have moments and then WHAM!...flat as a pancake and about as exciting from there on out, with the graceful exception of Rebirth (for obvious reasons). My expectations for music from the series are not very high anymore in the least and my expectations have been successfully met.

Angry Video Game Nerd did a 4 part retrospective on the history of Castlevania as well, basically holding up 3 and 4 as the holy grails of the series and he wasn't real big on the changes in the series when they occurred. From what he showed of the N64 Castlevanias, it didn't look like I missed a whole lot with those.

http://www.cinemassacre.com/category/avgn/avgn-2009/

Zane Oct 19, 2010

Taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castlevania#Plot re: Lords of Shadow:

Wiki wrote:

It's not part of the so-called timeline. This is an original, standalone product. We didn't want to follow the timeline because we felt it would put us in a bit of a box in terms of what we could do creatively... A lot of people don't understand the timeline. Even the fans - a lot of them don't really understand it...So this is a rebirth, definitely. It doesn't follow a timeline. It's not, people use the word canon, it's not canon. It's an original game."

Then don't f---ing call it Castlevania.

Ashley Winchester Oct 19, 2010

Zane wrote:

Taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castlevania#Plot re: Lords of Shadow:

Wiki wrote:

It's not part of the so-called timeline. This is an original, standalone product. We didn't want to follow the timeline because we felt it would put us in a bit of a box in terms of what we could do creatively... A lot of people don't understand the timeline. Even the fans - a lot of them don't really understand it...So this is a rebirth, definitely. It doesn't follow a timeline. It's not, people use the word canon, it's not canon. It's an original game."

Then don't f---ing call it Castlevania.

That's a lot like the time the school misplaced my FASA form and said "it's not lost, we just don't know where it is."

When you take a word and try to make it mean the opposite of what it really means, well, you're fighting a losing battle. It's nice to see that "original game" falls into that category as well.

As for Castlevania's "timeline", does anyone really stay up at night and wonder how it all fits together? I pretty much take all the games as their own separate entity when I play them anyways. Some of them do connect more than others (CV3-->CoD, RoB-->SotN) but it's not like it has a complex, arching narrative like Xenosaga or something. Using such an excuse to justify slapping the Castlevania name on something is pretty flimsy IMO, I rather them just come out and say they wanted to go the God of War route with the gameplay.

the_miker Oct 19, 2010

Zane wrote:

Then don't f---ing call it Castlevania.

After playing the demo, listening to the OST (barf), and reading quotes like that from the developers.. I can now safely say: f--- this game.

GoldfishX Oct 19, 2010

Ya know...I didn't realize there WAS a timeline until Iga started babbling about it in various interviews. I knew CV3 was the predecessor to CV1 and 2 and that was cool, but I don't know or care where Rondo or IV fit in. Something I'll think about for a couple seconds if I read something on it, but it's scary to think anyone would obsess over this.

If you're going to "rebirth" a franchise, call it something else to ward off the unwanted comparisons.

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