Monday, 11 February 2013

Waxing Lyrical ~ Star Tropics II

When i was younger, Video Games were a rare treat in my family. Due to the exorbitant prices of games of that era, the family usually got 1 or 2 games a year. One game I remember getting for my birthday was Star Tropics II, Zoda's Revenge. Now I know what you are all thinking, but I like it. Yes I have seen the Happy Video Game Nerd episode regarding the game and to be honest, I disagree with him. The game isn't that bad, certainly not as great as the original Star Tropics, but it still is a good game in its own right.

One of the critiques of the game was the music and to a sense I agree. Some tracks such as Italy and London are bad, but Ice Age, Dungeon #2 and Wild West are great tunes. The songs are not as good as the original Star Tropics, but I still enjoy them. So today, I will be focusing on not one, but two tracks from Star Tropics II, incidentally both from the same era.

The first track I would like to talk about is Dungeon Theme #2 (Great title there guys). Where the first game dungeon theme was more about exploring (and being chased by skeletal ostriches and snakes) Dungeon Theme #2 was a rescue mission, so the song was more exciting. You seemed to be the only one in this time to have the courage to fight against this beast and this song reflects that. You are no longer Mike Jones the banana eared saviour, but now Mike Jones, temporal warrior. It's a great tune that sets up the rest of the game. Too bad some of the other Dungeon themes aren't as memorable.

One of the worst offenders is the dungeon theme from Chapter 8. Given the context of what has happened in this area, the dungeon theme should be more like Dungeon Theme #2. Instead it is a remix of the original Star Tropics Dungeon Theme and that would be fine. Instead however the main villain has made this fight very personal and the music should reflect that.

The other song on today's list is the Chapter 2 theme, Ice Age. For years this song has stuck with me, even after I have moved away from the NES and well into my years as a gamer. I have played dozens of different games over the years and this song is one of the few that has stuck with me through the years. I don't know why this song is so memorable. Perhaps because it was the first game I got for my birthday that I could call my own. Before that my brother and I usually shared games, but this time, it was my game.

When I first played Chrono Trigger and I got to the Medieval Era for the first time, I listened to the world music. For a while I could not recall why it seemed familiar until I began playing Star Tropics II again and I heard Ice Age. The two songs are no where near the same song, but Medieval reminded me so much of Ice Age. Perhaps it the fact that both heroes are displaced in a new time period that makes me relate both songs, but surely there has to be more to that.

As much as I love Star Tropics II, I do admit it is a flawed game and came out way too late in the NES lifecycle. If perhaps the game came out on the SNES, we would have an entire franchise. Don't get me wrong, I love the game, it just is incredibly flawed and maybe would have fared better on the SNES.

This is Daimo Mac and I am lost in the music.

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