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Overclocked Favorites: Gaming Carols December 14, 2008

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(Part 2 of session 58 is up)

What kind of semi-regular feature of Eric Online would Overclocked Favorites be without a Christmas special? Hardly a semi-regular feature at all, that’s what kind. If you usually skip over the songs, thinking they aren’t that interesting, allow me to assure you that Number 3, Super Mario’s Sleigh Ride, is by far one of the best of my favorites and is well-worth a listen, if only for the skill of melding two unique pieces of music.

Merry Little Christmas – Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams, Sega Saturn
NiGHTS was one of those early “true” 3-d games, released within a month of Super Mario 64. Though it was highly rated, it experienced poor sales, making it a somewhat obscure game. This remix has a piano lead through some of it, so bonus points off the bat just on personal preference. The pace is very laid back, taking its time to get where it’s going. At 2:43, the song fades into “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” which surprisingly isn’t out of place with the rest of the song. I just wish the transition was more subtle.

A William Wobbler Christmas – William Wobbler, Commodore 64
Remember how I said NiGHTS was an obscure game? Forget that. I never played William Wobbler. Never even heard of it. But this remix does a good job of capturing that instrumentation that conveys a wintery feeling: melodic percussion, light snare,and syncopation. Therefore, it’s in the list. It’s really just a fun song: light and upbeat, and it keeps things interesting. The notes move quickly up and down, though, so it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around the quick-moving melody.

Super Mario’s Sleigh Ride – Super Mario World, SNES
This song wins at remixes. First of all, it’s by a group called The OneUps, so we’re already off to a good start. The first fifteen seconds of the song let’s you know what’s about to happen for the other three minutes: classic Christmas songs seamlessly integrated with the songs from various Mario games. I can’t believe how well they bring the two together. Halfway through the song, things get mixed up with some jazzy solos, abruptly interrupted by the ending.

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Overclocked Favorites: Halloween Special October 22, 2008

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Adventure games have obligatory haunted levels. Not as scary as water levels, but still an integral part to the adventure. Those tunes, once remixed, make for some frighteningly good listens:

Raptor Waltz – Jurassic Park, Sega Genesis
Not really from a haunted level, per se, but this remix caught me off guard with its all around scare factor. This is a creepy piece of 3/4, to say the least. A set of foreshadowing chords starts the song, and is soon complemented by some bells which… hard to explain, but they make the song feel very empty for a moment. The large gap in pitches between the bass and bells makes it very hollow, which in turn makes you want to turn around to make sure there’s nothing giving chase. There’s some other interesting things to this song that I’ll just let you discover for yourself.

In the Darkness Lies – Banjo-Kazooie, N64
Banjo-Kazooie has my favorite video game soundtrack. Grant Kirkhope is an amazing composer (on a sidenote, he was recently interviewed by OCR). This song shows just how startlingly far remixes can get from their origins. Mad Monster Mansion, the level that this remix takes its melody from, was the obligatory “spooky” level, but it was done in a very cartoony, playful style. This remix is dreadfully serious. Ambient sounds back up support vocals, all layered over the occasionally surfacing motif. Really, an amazing piece having been so familiar with the original.

Ghost – Super Mario World, SNES
This piece is an unusual mixture of styles. I had to look on the remix page to make sure I explained this correctly: it is electro/orchestral. If that doesn’t sound like it should work, listen to the remix first, then come back here. Done? Good. Now you see what I mean. The deep thud of the bass mixed with string lead chords and ample brass. I think it’d be really interesting to hear this piece without the electronic sounds; it feels like that in itself would be a complete orchestral piece. Still, the melding of the two styles make for an intersting remix of an old classic.

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Overclocked Favorites: Arrr! September 19, 2008

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A fine International Talk Like a Pirate Day to ye all! Fer today’s Overclocked Favorites, a few swashbuckling symphonies for ye:

Cursed Pirates of the Sea – Final Fantasy V, SNES
This one has plenty of ambient sea sounds to keep that piratey feel. The flute lead near the beginning is a great part. After once through the tune, the piece builds up to a synth lead, then brass takes over. About halfway through the song, the ambient sounds are the only things left for a moment as the song changes gears. Where it started as a more laid-back song, the tune now conveys a sense of urgency as the storms in the background rise.

Pirates of Dragon Roost Isle – The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, GCN
Wind Waker was a Zelda game that took place almost entirely on the open seas, so any song coming from it had better have a good piratey feel. This piece opens like a movie, which is to say, this feels like the song playing during the opening credits as the camera pans around ships at port, hinting at a great adventure about to unfold. What’s more, this song is remixed from one of my favorite Wind Waker tunes, so it gets bonus points for that.

Set Sail – Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest, SNES
The first few lines of this piece are very calm and relaxing, but that pattern doesn’t continue for the whole song. Soon enough, a great piratey melody comes in, swelling into a grand orchestral arrangement. It fades back out into long chords again, then goes through the melody again, but slowly and more deliberately. The last minute of the song is fantastic, with plenty of brass holding the melody, and making a few sycopated stabs into the piece.

Yar, make sure to listen ta the other Overclocked Favorites

Overclocked Favorites: We interrupt this series… August 9, 2008

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(Session 44 of the D&D campaign has been posted)

Doom II never struck me as a particularly deep game: shoot the demons, look around, find a better gun so you can shoot more demons. The music is nothing to write home about, either. However, that’s where OverClocked Remix comes in. The albums done by OCRemix are always some of the highest quality mixes on the site. This latest release marks the eleventh album done by the online community, this time focusing on Doom II. Check out the new release: Delta-Q-Delta. Also: totally free!

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Overclocked Favorites: Sambas and Rumbas July 21, 2008

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No little introductory blurb this time. The theme is latin music. On to the picks:

Latin Sphere – Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Sega Genesis
Right from the start, this one has a catchy rhythm that just makes you want to dance. It builds up quickly, starting with a piano line, adding some bongos, then some strings. At 0:24, most instruments drop out, leaving you just enough to time to see the start of the song proper on the way two seconds later. Nothing out of the ordinary for about a minute, but at 1:20, an awesome flute solo takes the lead for a while. At 1:52, lead swaps to a jazzy piano, then the flute takes back over.

Hotel Rhumba – Earthbound, SNES
This is a song I didn’t hear too much in Earthbound. The hotels were a place to get your health back up, but I was always kind of stingy about my money, saving up for the better weapons… Anyway. The song is pretty true to the original, which sounded pretty rumbatic already (I thought I just made that word up; turns out it’s about seven other places online). At 0:17, acoustic guitar takes the melody, and sounds great. At 0:34, it tosses in a bit of Earthbound’s other songs, which is a nice touch. At 1:40, the song completely changes gears, and in all honesty I love the second half less.

La Samba De Agua – Super Mario Bros. 3, NES
First off, let me say I was already impressed by this mix before learning this tidbit: all the instruments were played by the same guy. Copied from the remix’s page, that’s “Rhythm Guitar, Lead Guitar, Jimbaes, Maracas, Egg Shakers, Claves, Tenor Sax, Trumpet, Flute, Bass Clarinet, Bass Guitar, and Melodica.” The original was just a few short measures for the water world’s level select screen, but the remixer has made this a full, and impressive, musical piece. I’ve only got one word to say about this one: it’s-awesome-go-listen-to-it-now.

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