10/10/2010

VGJUNK MUSICAL HALLOWE'EN PLAYLIST PART 1

Hallowe'en is nothing, nothing without decent music. You hear me? Nothing! If you're planning going out anywhere where other humans are likely to have congregated, you'll be pretty well taken care of by DJs playing the classics like Ghostbusters and Thriller, but us videogame fans will have to look a little further afield if we want to incorporate some geekishly ghoulish tunes into our godless pagan rituals. With that in mind, here are five videogame tracks that are, dare I say it, spooktacular.

Opposing Bloodlines, Castlevania 64, N64



An obvious and not-so obvious place to start; obvious because Castlevania is the quintessential Hallowe'en game, and not so obvious because Castlevania 64 has, quite rightly, been shunned by all right-minded people. Damn you Konami, I still have nightmares about carrying that mandragora down the tower! As big as a disaster as Castlevania 64 was, it had some redeeming features. One of them was the music, and this track in particular, which plays during the intro. I don't think I've ever been more impressed with a noise coming out of a videogames console than I was the first time I head that violin.

The Night Begins, Resident Evil, PS1



This music, somewhat disturbingly, reminds me of Christmas. That was when I received my much-treasured copy of RE, and I played it so much that this terror-inducing music replaced Walking in the Air and Silent Night as the sound of my yuletides. Don't let that make you think it's not Hallowe'en appropriate, though; The Night Begins is a brilliant use of synth strings that seems to affect the brain on a subconcious level, inducing paranoia, madness and eventual death. Well, maybe not the last two.

Metropolis of Ruin, Demon's Crest, SNES



Demon's Crest was a spin-off of the Ghouls N' Ghosts series where, instead of playing as lance-hurling, boxers-wearing glutton for punishment Arthur, you play as Red Arremer, that irritating red gargoyle who flaps just out of range whenever you try and hit him. It's one of the SNES's overlooked gems, and the music is one reasons it should get more recognition. Capcom really pushed the musical capability of the SNES to new heights here, and that slightly wobbly bass sample is a thing of beauty.

Children of the Cathedral, Fallout, PC



While not a particularly Hallowe'eny game in itself, Fallout has a few elements that fit in nicely with the season, the ghouls, mostly, and there's also the music. Normally, I'm not such a fan of the ambient music in RPGs (I'm more of a Final Fantasy battle theme kinda guy), but Fallout is most certainly an exception. Mark Morgan's music is so atmospheric it becomes an integral part of the Fallout experience, and the news that he co-composed the music for Fallout: New Vegas is great news. With Children of the Cathedral, he made a track that haunts my dreams using not much more than some bells and a rainstick, and that is damn impressive.

Betrayal, Silent Hill 2, PS2



No Hallowe'en videogame playlist would be complete without something by Akira Yamaoka, the undisputed master of terrifying videogame music. Yes, Betrayal is terrifying and I would certainly not recommend listening to it on you your MP3 player when, say, walking home from a friend's house in the rain at one in the morning. But it is also, for me at least, deeply beautiful, and I cannot imagine another piece of music fitting better with the action on-screen in any other videogame.
BONUS!

Here is Virt's version of Michael Jackson's Thriller, made using the mighty power of the NES. It is awesome.



Don't know who Virt (AKA Jake Kaufman) is? He is a cool guy who makes awesome chiptune music, and you should go and check his website out right now because, y'know, his NES version of the Katamari Damacy theme is joyous to behold. Can you behold things with your ears? Well, whatever, it's all great stuff.

So, that's part one of VGJUNK's ghastly and ghoulish Hallowe'en playlist. Part Two will be here at some unspecified point in the future, unless it isn't. Ta ta!

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