Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Biweekly Music Wednesday! No. 27 ~Main Menu~ (Star Fox 64)

Origin: Star Fox 64
Plays in: Main Menu
Status: Original Composition
Composer: Koji Kondo

You're adrift. You don't quite know how you got here, yet your mind can't muster the strength to ask why. The deep darkness of space threatens to swallow you whole, but being surrounded by thousands of stars instils only calm. You merely float along, devoid of all will, content with wherever the gentle pull of space takes you.

And then, within a moment's passing, you land. Your surroundings materialize via wireframe before taking solid form. It's a forgotten museum isolated within the reaches of space: crafts and mannequins of all sorts are on display, all depicting the heroics of Team Star Fox. Be it wall-embedded videos detailing General Pepper's military accomplishments, a diorama of the Battle for Katina, and even a room dedicated to the inventions of the Toad family (complete with prototype replicas for the Landmaster and the Blue Marine), you roam this museum for what seems like years.

There are no other visitors. There's not even a sign of whoever built this museum hidden away amongst the stars. Your only companion is the above song, which plays endlessly through the speakers. It fits the place like a glove, and compels you to delve further and further into these hallowed halls, to learn all you can about the most legendary merc-for-hire team in the universe.

But you never finish. The moment the song begins to fade, your surroundings begin to revert alongside it. From solid form to wireframes to nothingness, only the stars remain as your consciousness drifts back to reality. And that's quite alright; you'll be immortalized within these hallowed halls one day.

After all, you finally got your own spaceship.

...sans the surprise ending, that's the imagery that always come to mind whenever I start up Star Fox 64. It's amazing how the game can switch between its typical B-movie atmosphere, a hardened space drama, and degree of prestige within a moment's notice. It's all thanks to the tagteam duo of Hajime Wakai and Koji Kondo, although the latter's work is what we're featuring today. Koji Kondo's menu theme for Star Fox 64 remains one of the finest menu themes in Nintendo history, elevating the game to the aforementioned level of prestige while maintaining the chillest calm.

A calm that I often sit back and reflect upon before attempting a high-score. I don't have a choice; it compels to recline and let my mind wander. And that goes for even after I've finished my latest campaign; after all, it does play when you're entering your latest score. If not, I zip right back to the menu to ponder a bit.


And while I'm at it, here's the version found in the 3DS remake. While its rearranged soundtrack had its ups and downs, I rather like the take on this song. I still lack the proper vocabulary to discuss the finer points of music, but the instruments used here grant a different flavor while largely maintaining the same tone. Dunno if that made sense, but given the severity of music misfires in this remake, it's more than enough to earn a thumbs-up for me.

I wonder if Star Fox Zero's menu theme will be as good? Between this and the starry theme for the original Star Fox, it has a lot to live up to. Come to think of it, who's composing that game, anyway? I wonder if Mahito Yokota's arrangement for the Star Wolf/Sector Z themes in Smash is a sign...?

Final Thoughts: I went in a bit of a different direction here today. Did you like it? I'm thinking of ways to differentiate entries so I can flex out my writing, so lemme know.

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