Monday, January 30, 2012

SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs - A Rare Treat Edition

Ever since Microsoft purchased developer Rare for an exorbitant amount of money, the company behind Windows slowly squeezed all life out of the house of Banjo, Jet Force Gemini, and Perfect Dark. You know when former staff are extremely bitter about the takeover and result from said takeover that there's a problem. Regardless, while Rare may be a shell of its former self and a company in name only, we can look back fondly on the company's past library and smile. That is the point of this week's installment of SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs.

v21. Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (360) - Banjoland (Daytime)

An orchestrated medley of some of the best Banjo-Kazooie themes of the series? Where do I sign up? ...NO! Forget signing up. Just hook it directly into my veins! All kidding aside, this medley plays during the daytime in the criminally overlooked Xbox 360 game Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. Banjoland was made up of old parts of past Banjo-Kazooie stages, and the medley consisted of such themes like Click Clock Wood, Freezeey Peak, Mad Monster Mansion, Gobi's Valley, Cloud Cuckooland, Mayahem Temple, and Rusty Bucket Bay. It was the perfect way to take a loving look back at one of the greatest 3D platformers of all time. I'm talking about the original Banjo-Kazooie, of course.

v22. Starfox Adventures (GCN) - Thorntail Hollow

The last game from Rare that would appear on a Nintendo console (console, mind you, not portable), Starfox Adventures was initially a Nintendo 64 project called Dinosaur Planet. When famed game developer, director, and producer Shigeru Miyamoto asked the team to throw in Fox McCloud, Rare opted to follow his guidance and do just that. Many gameplay elements and battles would be carried over to this Gamecube title. The final product was a Zelda clone with tons of collecting items. Collect this, collect that, etc. Not the note that Nintendo fans wanted Rare to leave on, but it was an admirable effort nonetheless. This theme, Thorntail Hollow, sounds like something taken directly from The Lion King, doesn't it? It's rather soothing if I do say so myself.

v23. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (SNES) - Snakey Chantey

Taking the melody from Donkey Kong Country's Gang Plank Galleon, Snakey Chantey plays in only one level of Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, and that's Rattle Battle, a stage where Diddy and Dixie get transformed into Rattler the Snake. The snake can bounce high into the air, leap off of enemies (even the usually dreaded Zingers), and reach unheard of heights. This toe-tapping tune gets you filled with excitement as you traverse through and aboard one of the Kremlings' many pirate ships. What is your favorite theme from Donkey Kong Country 2?

v24. Kameo: Elements of Power (360) - Thorn's Pass

Performed by the Prague Philharmonic, Thorn's Pass from the Xbox 360 launch title Kameo: Elements of Power is one sensational theme. Imagine yourself on horseback as you control Kameo through a variable battlefield of ogres and trolls. For a launch game from 2005, Kameo: Elements of Power is still one excellent looking game. Kameo was originally planned as a Gamecube title, but when Microsoft bought Rare, the game turned into an Xbox title. Once it was figured that the game wouldn't make it to the Xbox, it was transferred over to the 360 to be a launch title. Aren't game development stories fascinating?

v25. Viva Pinata (360) - Night 3

Viva Pinata was Rare's chance to make an ultra-popular series. It had all the elements: a collectible aspect, cute and cuddly characters, a TV series, and three video games (Viva Pinata, Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise, and Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise). Unfortunately, Xbox 360 gamers tend to skew towards teenagers and young adults who prefer the drab, gray and brown worlds of Call of Duty and Gears of War as opposed to Rare's colorful output of titles. Night 3 is a gentle, flowing piece beginning with a comforting piano and then followed with pleasing strings and a poignant clarinet (which I used to play in middle school) that crescendo into something special.


Another Monday in the books which means another installment of SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs is complete. Stay tuned next week when the favorite VGMs expand to ten for a special Mario & Sonic edition. There will be five Mario tracks and five Sonic tracks to listen to and enjoy. I hope to see you then!


Matt Sainsbury said...

DK Country 2 is possibly the best game Rare ever produced. Amazing level design, great multiplayer, absolutely brilliant music. It took everything that made the first game so popular, and turned it up to 11.

Parko said...

Donkey Kong Country 2 is amazing! One of the best soundtracks in gaming IMO. I really like Disco Train, Hot Head Bop and Mining Melancholy