Thursday, 2 January 2014

Songs of Future Past: Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Growing up, Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was one of my favourite games in the Legend of Zelda series. Being as I was only 5 when I first played the original Legend of Zelda and never understood the gameplay, or the puzzles and The Adventures of Link was too hard for me. However, A Link To the Past was just right for me. The world of Hyrule had never looked so ideal to me and I spent many hours exploring the 16 bit world. There would be other games in the series that would take my attention for some time, but I would always return to A Link to the Past.

Playing through A Link Between Worlds was great. While some locales have changed slightly, the world was more or less still the same. Kakariko Village was still a sleepy little town, where nothing exciting happens, The Lost Woods was an ancient, mystical place and Death Mountain was still a bastard to navigate correctly.

The music in this game are all orchestrated remakes from the original game and nearly all of them are fantastic. Unlike the original game, this music is all orchestrated and the team used it for great effect. One of the prime examples would be the remake of the Dark World overworld, now called Lorule Overworld. The added violin work really gives it a unique sound when you compare it to the original track. The original Dark World theme was great as it was more military-centric which was ideal given that Ganon had used his power to take over the Golden Land. With Lorule Overworld, the music instead became a more twisted variation reflecting how the land of Lorule was slipping further into chaos.

With the soundtrack, I did find one hiccup and that was with the Lorule Death Mountain Theme. In the original game, Death Mountain was Ganon's throne. From his tower, he overlooked all of the land in which he ruled with an iron fist. The music reflected that as the track was one of a military anthem. Listening to this, you knew who ruled the land. With the track from A Link Between Worlds, it felt out of place. Lorule is not a place of military order, but anarchy. People don't care and are willing to do anything to survive. It is the very opposite of Ganon's brutal regime. I personally believe the track would have been better removed from the game, or used during the final dungeon.

The last track I want to briefly touch upon is the games version of the Hyrule Overworld. It is fantastic. It marks the return of the classic theme in a wonderful way. This is a new adventure in a classic world and the music reflects that. Everything has stayed the same, yet everything has also changed. The map is the same, but certain locations have shifted over the years. However, it is still the same world that many people, myself included, got lost in growing up. The orchestrated theme for Hyrule Overworld is so wonderfully perfect for this game that it easily trumps the originals.

So which is the better of the two soundtracks? While I am normally a sucker for nostalgia, A Link Between Worlds did such a great remake of the original A Link to the Past's music, I have to give my nod towards the new game. As I stated, while I am not too fond of some of the song remakes, the rest of the album is so great that the original sadly pales in comparison.

This is a fantastic soundtrack and it bothers me that Nintendo has yet to release the album. I do wish that more big companies would release the games accompanying OST.

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

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