Monday, August 14, 2017

SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs - "Down and Dirty With the Dark and Edgy" Edition

No, SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs isn't sharing depressing music or anything somber this week! Far from it! Instead, it's delivering music from games that have dark undertones and/or settings, games with a bit of an edge to them, and songs that are featured in final boss fights against sinister villains.

Beginning with Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, we will listen to a fantastic arranged theme from this third Castlevania on the Nintendo DS. Then, we move on and take flight with the arcade shmup Ikaruga before feeling the edge of Jak 3. Intelligent Systems' attempt at creating a successful new franchise for Nintendo may have backfired commercially, but Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. offers great music and gameplay to boot. Ending this edition of SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs is a final boss theme from Final Fantasy XIII.

Just click on the VGM volume name to go to the YouTube page where you can hear that song. Per usual, check out SuperPhillip Central's VGM Database for every song mentioned on this weekly segment. Now, let's get on to the music!

v1446. Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (DS) - Dusk Holy Mark (Arranged)


I have editions of SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs planned out in weekly chunks, already having what games and songs I want to feature each week. A song from Anarchy Reigns was set for this edition to kick things off, but because of the horrific and terrifying events over the weekend in Charlottesville, the game, song, and lyrics in question were too inappropriate, tacky, and tasteless to use in this week's edition.

Instead, we have a wonderful replacement with Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia! It's an arranged track from the game in the form of Dusk Holy Mark. The original song used in the Nintendo DS release was great enough already, but this arranged version is simply delightful as well. I find Order of Ecclesia to be one of the most difficult of the Metroid-styled Castlevanias out there. Would you agree?

v1447. Ikaruga (Multi) - Chapter 01 - Ideal


Take flight in this color-coded shmup that was originally released on the Sega Dreamcast and then later the Nintendo GameCube. Ikaruga's main gameplay feature is being to change colors to avoid enemy bullets. It's quite the bullet hell shooter, but this ability to change between two colors on the fly brings something new to the table. Plus, the game is addictive as all get out. This theme that represents Ikaruga on SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs launches players into the fast and fluid action with some spirited music to accompany them.

v1448. Jak 3 (PS2) - Haven City Battle


It's no secret that I thought that Naughty Dog changing Jak from the first Jak and Daxter into an edgier version with guns was laughable at best and worthy of cringing at worst, but the games that succeeded The Precursor Legacy ended up being okay affairs all to their own. Influenced by open world games at the time like Grand Theft Auto--and what better way to connect with the kids than turning a colorful platformer into a gritty and edgy third-person shooter/platformer hybrid--Jak II and more impressively Jak 3 offered engaging gameplay and solid enough music to be enjoyable experiences.

v1449. Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. (3DS) - Deadly Dance II


Intelligent Systems churned out challenging, innovative, and interesting new IP with Code Name: S.T.E.A.M., a strategy RPG that was quite atypical compared to its competition. The slowness of enemy turns created a lot of disinterest for the game, and while it was very quickly fixed with a patch soon after launch, the damage had already been done. Now, one can readily find a copy of Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. lingering in bargain bins for low prices. It's a shame, as not only is the gameplay really rewarding, but the style of the game in both creativity with the story and characters, the settings, the art, and of course, the music were all terrific. Well, I'm obviously speaking subjectively here.

v1450. Final Fantasy XIII (PS3, 360, PC) - Nascent Requiem


Last Thursday, SuperPhillip Central showed off a special edition of Best Boss Battles in Gaming History which showcased some recent awesome final boss battles. To round out this edition of SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs, let's hear the theme for the final boss of Final Fantasy XIII. Despite a lot of things within the game that went wrong, leading to its negative critic and fan feedback, one part of Final Fantasy XIII that truly shined was Masashi Hamauzu's incredible score for the game. Seriously, take an afternoon to listen to the full soundtrack. You won't be disappointed.

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