Sunday, October 30, 2011

The top ten songs from the Banjo-Kazooie series -- Part 2

Like the title says, this is part two of my list of top ten songs from the Banjo-Kazooie series.  If you haven't read part one yet, then you can read it by clicking here.

Mad Monster Mansion (Banjo-Kazooie)

This track starts off with an organ playing a song that gives off the feeling that you're in some haunted graveyard, but then it transforms into one of the quirky songs that the Banjo-Kazooie series in known for.  While it is a quirky song, it doesn't manage to kill the overall atmosphere of the level.  The organ music continues to play in the background in some parts, and in the other sections of the song, the other instruments used are able to carry the creepy feeling.  Couple that with the hoots of owls and howls of wolves in the background, and you get Mad Monster Mansion's theme.

But the thing that I like most about this song is the feeling you get when you're actually playing the game.  You're constantly running away from ghosts, skeletons, and tombstones that come to life, and the song is just the right pace to make it feel creepy and frantic at the same time.

Jolly Roger's Lagoon (Banjo-Tooie)

Although this song only plays in the entrance of Jolly Roger's Lagoon, it's probably the song that most people associate with this world.  Since it plays right at the entrance, it's the first song you hear when you play the water based level.  Right when you hear the first notes, you realize that the world you just entered is going to have pirate theme, even if the surrounding buildings don't look like it initially.

Freezeezy Peak (Banjo-Kazooie)

Freezeezy Peak is probably one of the most unforgettable stages from the original Banjo-Kazooie, and part of the reason it's so memorable is thanks to the level's music.  The music in this world makes you feel like you're really in a winter wonderland.  The instruments used helps create the vision that everything around you is either icy or covered in snow, and on top of that, the overall feeling of the track is upbeat and happy, just like how you'd imagine a winter wonderland to be.

The music really fits the level when you actiually start to walk around and take everything in.  The enemies are mainly evil snowmen, and then the characters inside the level are colored lights, a walrus, and a family of polar bears, which all fit the winter theme and the music perfectly.

Hailfire Peaks - Lava Side (Banjo-Tooie)

When you enter Hailfire Peaks for the first time, this is the first song you hear.  It's an excellent way to introduce the level, as it automatically makes you feel like you're on the side of a gigantic volcano full of lava.  Instruments such as trumpets and tubas help listeners be able to imagine themselves in an area where they're surrounded by pools of lava on all sides.  The background sounds that play during the song also emphasize that point because throughout the track, you'll hear gas escaping from vents and the sound of bubbles popping in the lava.

Although the ice side of this level is the same song, just with different instruments, it's much more toned down.  While it does fit the theme of the ice side of Hailfire Peaks, it's overall less memorable than the lava side's theme because of its toned down nature, which is why this song appears on the list instead.

Banjo Land (Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts)

I know this is a cheap song to put on the list considering about half of this song is already on the list in form of MIDIs.  I was considering leaving it off of the list for awhile, but then I decided that it was just too good to leave off.  Really, if you're a fan of the music in Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie, how can you not love this song?  It's all of your favorite songs from past Banjo games, just orchestrated.

There isn't much else to say about this track, considering I've talked about most of it in my other entries.  The only thing that's really left to discuss is how it fits in with the level.  Although the level doesn't have the industrial feel that Rusty Bucket Bay has, or the forest like atmosphere that's present in Click Clock Woods, this song does fit the stage to a tee.  Banjo Land is all about nostalgia, and listening to this track is probably one of the most nostalgic things I've ever done.

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