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Offline Lumi Kløvstad

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I would like to express my love for the N64 soundtracks
« on: March 30, 2012, 03:38:18 AM »
+1
Honestly, they're unusual. They're less involved than other games soundtracks. Rather than driving the player forward with a beat and a pleasant tune, the music elicits to become part of the environment itself. It's ambient, ethereal, and speculative, and the boss themes are less powerful than in the rest of the series. This includes the oft-remixed Dance of Illusions, which is ordinarily a piece that takes center stage, yet it still manages to retain it's feel without being quite so commanding in the Castlevania 64 soundtrack.

And yet, this all feels rather perfect for a Castlevania game somehow, though in a different way to be sure. Rather than urging the player on to achieve true glory and save the world, the quiet soundtracks of the 64 games speak quietly of the foggy graveyards, mysterious crypts, and empty ruined battlements of Castlevania that you journey through. Just like the muted color palettes the games themselves use to achieve a drained, sickly feel to the game world, the soundtracks use hushed tones and simple instrumentation to paint that musical masterpiece that makes up much of the more pleasant experiences the games have to offer.

They're truly original, truly apart from the rest, and it is truly a shame this style hasn't been revisited in this way or at this level since then; although to his credit, Masahiko Kimura DID throw the 64 games a few nice bones in Dawn of Sorrow with Echoes of Darkness (which by itself deserved to be stage music, rather than the cutscene theme it ended up being), and Platinum Moonlight, another less involved track that invokes some feelings reminiscent of his work in the 64 games.

All in all, I'd rank the soundtrack for Castlevania 64 among my top 5 Castlevania soundtracks. Legacy of Darkness' soundtrack I have less love for, because there's just too much of the same stuff on it, but that doesn't keep it from being used just as effectively as Castlevania 64's was.

What are your thoughts on the Nintendo 64 soundtracks? Under-appreciated masterpieces? Decent, unique entries? Or utter slop?

How not to be a dark lord: the answer to that is a terribly interesting answer that involves an almost Jedi-like adherence to keeping oneself under control and finding ways to be true to yourself in a way that doesn't encourage the worst parts of you to become dangerously exaggerated and instead feeds your better nature. Also, protip: don't fuck with Alchemy or strike up any deals with ancient Japanese Shinigami gods no matter how tempting the deal or how suavely dressed the Shinigami is.

Offline Puwexil

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Re: I would like to express my love for the N64 soundtracks
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2012, 05:18:43 AM »
+1
Just like the games they represent, I find it difficult to care about them by any measure. None of the tracks are particularly hateful, nor do they elicit any positive feelings, either. They take the concept of "background music" far too literally, and try to excuse the compositional drought with a pretense of being ambient or "cinematic". Ambience does not have to stand for boredom, however. Super Castlevania IV, Symphony of the Night, Lament of Innocence etc. very aptly showcased how to do that style of music effectively. Most of the tracks in the N64 games are too meandering to accomplish anything on a similar level.

Kimura's legacy within the series is far better served in his Dawn of Sorrow tracks, with energetic, lively numbers like Into the Dark Night and Dracula's Tears, or straightforward moodsetters in the vein of Gloomy Memories and After Confession.

Offline Lumi Kløvstad

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Re: I would like to express my love for the N64 soundtracks
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2012, 05:35:42 AM »
+1
Funny. When I think of Symphony and Lament, "ambient" and "quiet" are exactly the LAST words I'd use to describe them. They're both very involved soundtracks, more about pushing the player along than adding layers onto the environment (although they do accomplish that as well, I never felt like that was their real purpose), which is what was done in the 64 games (and agreeably a bit more stylistically in Super Castlevania 4).

I'm going to further quibble with your post in that you used the word "cinematic" as a pretext the Castlevania 64 soundtrack used as justification. This is untrue and unfair. "Cinematic" is what I believe the soundtrack was precisely trying to avoid.

Lords of Shadow definitely tried to use "cinematic" as a justification, and that gave us a soundtrack that while well composed sounded nothing like Castlevania.

Castlevania 64 on the other hand had a soundtrack that was more like an extra layer of fog; it added a certain gloominess to a sickly and grim world that had been reduced to a festering wound by Dracula's minions. Every note accompanies your steps with a sense of melancholy or foreboding, and the quietude hammers home just how utterly alone you really are in your quest. Sure, you may run into Charlie Vincent on occasion, or cross paths with the ever dapper Renon, but these moments are short, and the music will pick up accordingly, but you know that even though you have some allies, you can never actually count on them to be there for you. When they depart, the music dies down once again, and you are again alone against the darkness, and the quiet of the game's soundtrack reflects this.

Admittedly, it's not as catchy or fun to listen to outside of the game, but it's used fantastically within the game, and that's what I want most out of a soundtrack. Everything after that is icing on the cake: I'm glad to have it, but the cake is still a cake without it.
How not to be a dark lord: the answer to that is a terribly interesting answer that involves an almost Jedi-like adherence to keeping oneself under control and finding ways to be true to yourself in a way that doesn't encourage the worst parts of you to become dangerously exaggerated and instead feeds your better nature. Also, protip: don't fuck with Alchemy or strike up any deals with ancient Japanese Shinigami gods no matter how tempting the deal or how suavely dressed the Shinigami is.

Offline uzo

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Re: I would like to express my love for the N64 soundtracks
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2012, 05:49:18 AM »
0
SotN and LoI both had a bunch of ambient tracks. Not that their whole sound tracks were ambient. What he's saying is the tracks in those that were, were much better than the N64 games' attempts. I happen to agree whole-heartedly here.

LoI's second garden theme, I believe entitled Fog Enshrouded Night or something to that degree, is one of my favorite ambient tracks of the series. It stands on it's own for sure. I can't say that about the majority of the N64 games' osts.

Offline Dark Nemesis

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Re: I would like to express my love for the N64 soundtracks
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2012, 05:54:19 AM »
+1
I love them and i have a CD from a magazine with the OST. They have their unique style, that makes them different from the rest of the series with the exeption of 2-3 rearrangements. Not all of the tracks are great, but still 64 is one of my most favorites OSTs.
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Offline Lumi Kløvstad

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Re: I would like to express my love for the N64 soundtracks
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2012, 05:57:28 AM »
+1
LoI's second garden theme, I believe entitled Fog Enshrouded Night or something to that degree, is one of my favorite ambient tracks of the series. It stands on it's own for sure. I can't say that about the majority of the N64 games' osts.

Fog-enshrouded Nightscape. And it is wonderful. Dark Palace of Waterfalls is another good pick. Nightmare Aria however, just sucked. Hated it in-game and hate it out of the game. One of Yamane's duds, but even the best crank out a few duds. Odd though, because Nightmare Aria was the most stylistically similar of the three to the Castlevania 64 soundtrack, but the style just didn't mesh as well with the game world of Lament, which I feel supports the statement that in any other Castlevania, the N64 soundtracks would have been downright horrible.

But those OSTs were perfectly paired with the games they went with, so no harm done.
How not to be a dark lord: the answer to that is a terribly interesting answer that involves an almost Jedi-like adherence to keeping oneself under control and finding ways to be true to yourself in a way that doesn't encourage the worst parts of you to become dangerously exaggerated and instead feeds your better nature. Also, protip: don't fuck with Alchemy or strike up any deals with ancient Japanese Shinigami gods no matter how tempting the deal or how suavely dressed the Shinigami is.

Offline Puwexil

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Re: I would like to express my love for the N64 soundtracks
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2012, 06:03:41 AM »
+2
Yes, Uzo cleared up what I meant. They're simply one of the many facets of stylistic expertise on display in those games' soundtracks. The N64 offerings plod along with a hazy, nondescript purpose. The issue is not if the tracks are strictly memorable, or "hummable" as the appeal is often quantified. I don't hum Aria of Nightmare (one of my favourite songs, from one of my favourite soundtracks), Cursed Memories or Abandoned Pit, but they're evocative numbers in and outside of their context. With nary a few exception, the N64 music is mere wallpaper.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2012, 06:05:38 AM by Puwexil »

Offline Lumi Kløvstad

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Re: I would like to express my love for the N64 soundtracks
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2012, 06:48:55 AM »
-1
Eh. I'm just going to agree to disagree. I feel that the N64 soundtracks (or at least the first one) were highlights of the series, and obviously you don't feel that way, and if I kept to my argument, I'd soon run out and have to recycle.

Oh well. Can't win them all over...  :rollseyes:

It seems to be one of those "you like it or you don't" soundtracks, no matter which side you're on, although mine was an acquired taste. My initial reaction was more of a "meh" but it's warmed over the years. At this point, I think Castlevania could do with more mellow ambient music like Super Castlevania IV or Castlevania 64. It fits rather well, I think.

If a game were made with Lords' level of graphical attention and combat, and the music, layout and visuals in the style of Castlevania 64, I think I'd be pretty much in heaven.
How not to be a dark lord: the answer to that is a terribly interesting answer that involves an almost Jedi-like adherence to keeping oneself under control and finding ways to be true to yourself in a way that doesn't encourage the worst parts of you to become dangerously exaggerated and instead feeds your better nature. Also, protip: don't fuck with Alchemy or strike up any deals with ancient Japanese Shinigami gods no matter how tempting the deal or how suavely dressed the Shinigami is.

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Re: I would like to express my love for the N64 soundtracks
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2012, 06:49:48 AM »
0
I have a few tracks that I hum from the N64 'vanias.

First off, let's start with the obvious ones:
-The Art Tower (probably the best version of "Sinking Old Sanctuary" yet)
-Third Struggle: Dance of Illusions (I like the chorus used in this one)
-Sign of Blood Pulse + Opposing Bloodlines (the entire intro including the violin - first part is also used in Circle of the Moon)
-Second Struggle: Dancing in Phantasmic Hell (DraculaX Boss Battle)

And now for the not-so obvious ones:
-Toothed Wheel (The Clock Tower)
-The Castle Center (or "The Wolf Revealed" in LoD, though there are variations to it, like in the staff roll, or in the tower of Ruins)
-Rose (when you first meet Rose, which is a nice tune)
DRACULA APOCALYPSE -ORIGINAL GAME SOUNDTRACK- 09 Rose

-Lamented Rose (Rosa's suicide attempt)
-The Demon Salesman (a short tune for Renon's conversation and other conversations with 'odd' characters, though has an intro and reprise towards the end of the game)
-Fourth Struggle: Concert of Another Dimension (Final Dracula and Behemos battle)
-Malus (his tune is cool but odd)
-Schneider's Good Ending
DRACULA APOCALYPSE -ORIGINAL GAME SOUNDTRACK- 35 Schneider's Good Ending
-Carrie's Good Ending (similar but different than Schneider's)
DRACULA APOCALYPSE -ORIGINAL GAME SOUNDTRACK- 33 Carrie's Good Ending
-Annex: Silent Madness (the Villa) **Lightning Strikes**
-Invisible Sorrow (Underground Tunnel)
-Tower of Sorcery
-Tower of Duels
-Underground Waterway (sounds like a mix of "Chaconne C. Moll and the James Bond theme xD)
-Tower of Science
-Shudder (used also in CotM against the Cerberus hound, short tune)
-First Struggle: Boss Battle
-Watchtower (The Castle Wall)

And for Legacy Only:
-The Legacy (version of Bloody Tears)
Castlevania Legacy of Darkness - 008 - The Legacy
-The Outer Wall (has a little Vampire Killer in there in terms of chords)
-Escape the Maze Garden:
Castlevania Legacy of Darkness - 004 - Maze Garden

While a lot of the tracks are indeed pretty ambient in comparison to other games, there are many that carry a lot of power and emotion to them.
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Offline VampirehunterB

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Re: I would like to express my love for the N64 soundtracks
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2012, 08:21:23 AM »
0
yeah some soundtracks from the 64 are wonderful! imo the games sucked though..too bad the games didn't live up to the music quality.

Offline X

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Re: I would like to express my love for the N64 soundtracks
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2012, 10:30:18 AM »
+1
I definitely found the music to fit the environment of CV64/LoD very well. At first I wasn't all interested in CV64 because I felt at the time the CV should not go 3D (This was not long after SotN came out). But after I warmed up to it I thoroughly enjoyed it. I noticed that one of the tracks; 'The Watchtower' was altered in LoD though only slightly. This is unfortunate as It was perfect the way it was and I personally feel that the LoD version doesn't stand as well as the 64 version does..................................D ammit! Now I have to listen the the sound track again!! Can't resist!!!
« Last Edit: March 30, 2012, 10:32:48 AM by X »
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Re: I would like to express my love for the N64 soundtracks
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2012, 10:37:51 AM »
+1
I think CV 64 has great music. However, most people don't hear those great tunes because CV 64 gets such a bad rep.

Offline darkwzrd4

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Re: I would like to express my love for the N64 soundtracks
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2012, 11:25:12 AM »
+1
As much as I didn't like the N64 games, I feel the music fit the stages and added a horror element to the game that most CV games don't really have.  For example, the villa was creepy enough, but Silent Madness just added to that feeling.  The songs made the stages more unsettling (at for me they did).  Some songs did seem out of place, but for the most part, they added to the game.

Yes, these songs aren't like the songs from the other games and that's what makes these games unique.  I bet if these games were remade with better graphics, better camera angles, and more responsive controls, they would be better received.
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Offline Sumac

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Re: I would like to express my love for the N64 soundtracks
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2012, 02:40:50 PM »
0
CV64 has one of my favorite OSTs in the series.
Its music is more subtle rather, than in other entries in the series. It is more ambient and support levels by adding atmosphere to them, rather than motivating player with bombastic and catchy tunes. Since one of the main strength of the CV64 is an atmosphere, music is very imporant and integral part of the experience. Even more so, than in other games.

I like it, because its stands apart from any other music and provide certain uniqueness to the game and neccessary diversity. In short CV64 OST is brilliant, but it work only for CV64. It wouldn't work with the other games, especially 2D ones, I think.

Favorite melodies from OST:
- Opening "Bloodlines" - a breath taking piece, that gives you a very strong impression. I was enamored with this music for a while and it was certainly one of the things that convinced to try this game;
- Prologue - while quite simple, it gives sense of impeding doom. LOD made this track even more awesome by enjecting Vampire Killer in it;
- Invisible Sorrow - hands down, my favorite track in this game and one of the best tracks in the series, IMO.
- Main theme / Castle Center / Staff Roll - very nice track. Easy on the ears.
- "Renon's Theme";
- Execution Tower - I like rhythmic tunes and this washave some sort of dangerous atmosphere;
- Gear - very atmospheric and somewhat sad;
- Stairway to Dark Clouds - simple, but this is VERY fitting track for the last part of the game. Probably the best track in the series that take place before final battle(s).
Also special mention goes to Dance of Illusions - CV64 has probbaly my favorite version of this track, right next to CDX.

As for LOD, I like Sinking Old Sanctuary and how Bloody Tears was injected into the intro theme. And DOS has nothing on CV64. Especially when it comes to music.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2012, 02:44:23 PM by Sumac »

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Re: I would like to express my love for the N64 soundtracks
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2012, 07:22:40 PM »
0
The N64 games have awesome scores and some pretty nice sound design. I'm just bummed out that none of the additional LOD tracks made it to CD.

I gotta learn how to record N64 tunes in high quality from the hardware; emulation won't do. There are so many soundtracks I'd like to have in really high quality.
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