Christ Centered Gamer Blog

This blog contains non-gaming related reviews and random ramblings

Encuentro De Sangre – A Metal Tribute to Castlevania

 

Thank you Scarlet Moon for sending us a digital album to review!

The genre Metroidvania is combination of Metroid and Castlevania which revolutionized platformer games.  Growing up, I played more Castlevania games than Metroid and most of my time in the series was spent in Castlevania III.  Upon hearing about a metal tribute album featuring songs from the first three Catlevania games, my interest was piqued.  I was sold on checking out the album upon funding out that Ferdk was one of the performers.  I really enjoyed his rendition of NieR: Automata and Undertale songs.  

Along with Ferdk, other collaborators (that I now admire) include Pokérus Project. ThePlasmas, and Thennecan.  Each group/artist contributes three songs to this tribute album.  All of the songs are exceptionally done and there are no weak links here. Each game is equally represented with four songs apiece.

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Milk & Honey

Thank you Crowder Music for sending us a digital album to review!

I first heard of David Crowder Band when they played for the youth group (I was a leader) at Harvest Bible Chapel. This was around the time of their Can You Hear Us album which I highly recommend if you haven’t listened to it yet. Their music ranged from alternative rock to bluegrass and everything in between. I was heartbroken when the band broke up, but am happy to hear that the members are still making music. Since the breakup, I have bought albums from the previous band members, The Digital Age, along with David Crowder’s records that go by Crowder Music.

Crowder Music’s latest album Milk & Honey is pure gold as there are no bad tracks in my opinion. The first song, “Good God Almighty”, has a title that I’m so used to hearing as a blaspheme but it’s wonderful to hear it in a good context. This is a very uplifting and powerful hymn. “In the House” has a pop feel to it, but it’s got a great message about God’s love and peace that He offers. “He Is” has a nice blend of piano and a tiny bit of country. The title song “Milk & Honey” has bluegrass roots and is quite catchy.

Higher Power is something I would expect to hear at a Christian dance club. Sweet Jesus takes things in a whole different direction with a smooth pop vibe that reminds me of something Usher would sing. God Really Loves Us is a beautiful piano ballad praising God’s love for us. Who’s Gonna Stop The King is a pop hymn that gives God the glory He deserves. Better Than Sunshine has a melody that reminds me of something that I would hear on a paradise island. Glory, Glory (God Is Able) has a 1920’s sound to it that’s bound to get your foot stomping to the beat. Hallelujah For Every Broken Heart sings about seeking God when all else is lost. This song mostly consists of piano and clapping. The final track, The Anchor is another piano-driven tune that sings about God being our hope in tough times.

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Fallen Hero

Thank you Materia Collective for sending us this digital album to review!

It’s no secret that I love the music from Undertale and have reviewed many different renditions of the songs from this game. If you enjoyed Ferdk’s interpretations of Battle Against a True Hero, Hopes and Dreams, and Spider Dance, you’ll want to hear Ro Panuganti’s versions in this album. I was impressed with Ro Panuganti’s Pokemon album, Metal Trainer, and looked forward to his progressive metal take on Undertale. While it doesn’t dethrone String Player Gamer’s version as my favorite, it’s still a solid album.

Fallen Hero has 24 tracks with the guitar being the most dominant instrument used. You’ll still hear drums, keyboard, violin, and other percussion instruments too. All of the songs were instantly recognizable and brought back fond memories of playing this game.

Here’s a full track list:

1. Once Upon a Time 02:25

2. Fallen Down 01:12

3. Ruins 03:25

4. Enemy Approaching 02:52

5. Ghost Fight 02:10

6. Home 03:26

7. Heartache 04:58

8. Snowy 03:38

9. Bonetrousle 02:49

10. Waterfall 03:31

11. Run! 03:01

12. Spear of Justice 03:39

13. Battle Against a True Hero 05:30

14. Metal Crusher 02:15

15. Another Medium 06:00

16. Spider Dance 02:33

17. Oh! One True Love 01:35

18. Dogsong 02:43

19. Death by Glamour 05:11

20. Bergentrückung 01:16

21. ASGORE 04:23

22. Your Best Nightmare 06:11

23. Hopes and Dreams 06:00

24. MEGALOVANIA 04:56

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13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim Remix & Arrange Album -The Branched-

Thank you Scarlet Moon Productions for providing a digital album to review!

I find it very interesting that the game 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim was nearly considered by publisher Atlus to be written down as a loss. When the game was originally released in Japan back in 2019, it didn’t even sell well in the beginning. It was only by the generous word of mouth by well-regarded game developers Masahiro Sakurai (Super Smash Bros. series) and Yoko Taro (NieR: Automata) that sales started to pick up—and eventually considered a sales success by Atlus despite its long and troubled development time. I previously reviewed said game here where I more or less gush about it for 2000+ words. If you’re a fan of sci-fi or adventure games and have a PS4/PS5, I highly recommend checking it out.

The soundtrack of 13 Sentinels is praised all around by the reviewers and players who experienced it. Basiscape Records, who previously worked on the game’s soundtrack took another crack at it with this arranged and remixed album, officially titled “13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim Remix & Arrange Album -The Branched-”. Basiscape was founded by world-renowned video game composer Hitoshi Sakimoto (best known for his work on the Final Fantasy Tactics series). This album, spearheaded by Yoshimi Kudo takes twelve pieces from the Remembrance (adventure) segments and Destruction (battle) segments while introducing two completely new tracks, making a total of fourteen. The first new track, titled -[PROTEASE]- is in the style of the battle segments. The other new track, Stellar Memories is completely original, with vocals sung by one of the characters, Miyuki Inaba. 

The other twelve tracks are an alternative take, almost as if the story went along a different path. Some pieces tend to either double down on the intensity of the overall feeling, incorporating genres or inspiration from techno, dubstep, and digital instruments. Other pieces even slow down the pace, taking a more muted and mellow approach. My favorite track out of the remixed album is Halcyon Days -Branched- as it takes a soothing and relaxing theme that I already enjoyed a lot and energizes it, giving a bouncy and peppy feeling to it. It almost sounds like it could be the music to the first level of a platformer. 

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8 Music Genres That Everyone Should Listen To

Every person is unique. They have unique tastes, unique opinions as well as unique lifestyles. No two people are identical in nature. But there is one thing that unites everyone. And that is Music. Everyone likes to listen to music.

Well, almost everyone. There can be exceptions of course. They, sure, may not like listening to one genre. Their preference for genres may vary widely. But music is something everybody enjoys. There are some specific genres in music that is a must for everyone to listen to.

So, here is the list and description of 10 music genres that everyone should listen to at least once in their lifetime.

    1. Pop Music:

Pop Music is one of the music genres that is very popular and produces most of the hit songs. Pop Music has a good rhythm and a nice melody. Pop music theory is a formula that is there in most of the songs. Pop music culture started growing in the mid-1950s in the United States and the United Kingdom. Sebastian, a content writer who wrote men's eyebrow trimmer says, “I grew up listening to pop music and it always heals me. Pop is my all-time favourite genre.”

    2. Jazz Music:

It mainly started in the communities of Africa America. Almost all the genres of music can get overlapped by jazz. There is no particular set of instruments for jazz music. Almost any instrument can be used; the only condition is that the instrument must be such that it allows improvisation. Instruments like Guitar, trombone, trumpet, keyboard, drum, and saxophone are used mostly. New York City is considered as the jazz capital. Other places famous for jazz are Chicago, Kansas city. Some famous jazz musicians are Miles Davis, Stan Getz, and Kenny Burrel etc

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Conspiravision: Deus Ex Remixed

Thank you Materia Collective for sending us this digital album to review!

Deus Ex was originally released in 2000 and this album was released to coincide with its 20th anniversary. While Deus Ex doesn’t look great by today’s standards, it was a revolutionary first-person shooter (FPS) for its time. The story is engaging and the ability to upgrade your augmented body adds strategy to the gameplay. While violence is always an option, you can opt to simply knock out most of the foes if desired.

The electronica background music for this title is phenomenal. I remember extracting the Unreal music files and burning it to multiple CDs since I really enjoyed the music from this game. Not all of my favorite tunes made it onto Conspiravision: Deus Ex Remixed, but most of them are there.

This album consists of seventeen tracks ranging from three to four minutes apiece and will keep your ears happy for over an hour. Alexander Brandon did a fine job staying true to the original songs while giving them all a nice tune-up.

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One Beat Angel FFVII

Thank you Materia Collective for sending us this album to review!

My husband and I are fans of the Final Fantasy games and music. We have attended multiple live orchestral performances and own several Distant World and Black Mages/Earthbound Papas CDs. When I played and beat Final Fantasy VII on PC, I swapped out many of the original game songs to the Black Mages versions. By doing so, I made a great game even better! Before going any further, I must admit that I have not played the remake. With many gamers playing the remake and enjoying its music, it only makes sense to release an enhanced version of the soundtrack. Roborob delivers a nice selection of songs from this epic game in One Beat Angel FFVII.

I enjoyed and reviewed Roborob’s Kingdom Hearts remake album, Kingdom Heartbeats. I recognized many of the tracks but it’s been a while since I played a Kingdom Hearts game so I’m not as familiar with the music from that series. Since I’m a fan of Roborob and Final Fantasy VII, I jumped at the change to review One Beat Angel. For the most part, I have no regrets. While this is an enjoyable 11-track album, I prefer the original and Black Mages versions over this.

Just like the Final Fantasy games, this album opens up with a spruced-up version of the prelude song which is quite fitting. The second track Fight On! Takes the iconic battle song to a new level. If you’ve won a battle in a Final Fantasy game, you’ll recognize the Victory Fanfare song. The Mako Reactor song is instantly recognizable even with the dubstep additions. Who Are You is also given an electronic dance music facelift in this album.

With the album called One Beat Angel, it should come as no surprise that One-Winged Angel is overhauled as well. Aerith’s theme is probably my least favorite song on this albumn since it’s not recognizable until the very end. On the flipside, the peppy Chocobo Theme doesn’t stray too far from the original score. On That Day Five Years Ago brings the seriousness back with some nice beats. Roborob’s rendition of Cosmo Canyon is decent, but I have to give the nod to Pandoh’s dubstep version. The finale song, JENOVA does not disappoint and brings this entertaining album to a close.

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Field of Hopes and Strings

Thank you Materia Collective for sending this digital album to review!

Deltarune Chapter 1 is a free spiritual successor to Undertale. Toby Fox has worked his magic again by producing a fun game with good humor and an excellent soundtrack. In turn, String Player Gamer did an awesome job sprucing up the soundtrack in a fourteen-song collection called Field of Hopes and Strings which is a play on Deltarune’s theme song, Field of Hopes and Dreams. Both Fields of Hopes and Strings and the original soundtrack are available on BandCamp.com for $7 each.

Fields of Hopes and Strings is about forty minutes in length and has a nice sampling of songs from the OST which contains forty tracks. Many of the omitted songs are less than thirty seconds long. The symphonic metal styling of the chosen songs is superb and fans of Toby Fox and Deltarune should give this album a listen.

Here’s a breakdown of the track list:

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Metal Trainer

Thank you Materia Collective for sending us this digital album to review!

The Pokémon franchise has been around since 1996 and has been producing best-selling games almost yearly since then. I started with the first generation of Red, Blue, and Yellow games. Ro Panuganti, who specializes in video game covers, takes tunes from the Red and Blue games and puts a heavy metal spin on them. The end result is a nine-track digital album that provides over twenty-five minutes of heart pumping music to catch Pokémon to!

It’s been years since I’ve played Pokémon Red/Blue, but I still recognized the first tune, Pokémon Master, right off the bat. It’s the theme song, electrified! The second track named Viridian is the Viridian City music overhauled. The guitar playing is fantastic! The third track, Wild Encounter, has some nice sound effects and really spruces up the wild Pokémon battle music. Pokémon Hospital begins with a lot of background noises including chatter and ER machinery before revealing a soothing remake of the Pokémon Center music. The Mt. Moon track is true to the source material and keeps the sense of danger and the thrill of exploration. The sixth track, Cerulean, takes the upbeat city music and jazzes it up a bit. I wonder how many people would recognize it if it was set as hold music?

The seventh track, Lavender, is the longest track at nearly five and a half minutes long. I must say I like this version much better than the original game’s town music. The mysterious mansion music is the eighth track dubbed Mansion. Again, this rendition improves upon the original in my opinion. The final track, Gym Battle, is a souped up version of the iconic Gym Battle music.

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The Unbreakable Unity

Thank you Scarlet Moon Promotions for sending us this digital album to review!

Hiroki Kikuta is a famous composer known for his work in Secret of Mana. The Unbreakable Unity is a one-track album with a thirty-nine minute song that’s heavily influenced by Secret of Mana. The song opens with a wind flute-like instrument and a sense of mystery. Other instruments like a xylophone, oboe, and harp chime in along with other synthesized instruments.

My part-time job is seventeen miles away and with the morning traffic, it can take between thirty-five to forty-five minutes to arrive at work. The Unbreakable Unity is the perfect commuting song as it’s very relaxing and eases road rage a bit. If my commute exceeds forty minutes, this song loops smoothly.

The upbeat sections make for great overworld or traveling soundtracks. Perfect for driving past acres and acres of farmland. Some parts of the song are more mysterious as if you’re exploring some ancient ruins or an abandoned temple filled with hostile monsters or ferocious wildlife. This section makes driving though construction zones with lane closures and detours more interesting.

Many of the themes repeat throughout the song, but they are switched up to keep things interesting. I often envision myself exploring an eerie forest or open fields with frequent stops to battle bad guys. If you enjoyed Secret of Mana and its music, you’ll definitely appreciate this album. Fans of SNES-style game music should give it a listen too.

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Kingdom Heartbeats

Thank you Materia Collective for sending us this digital album to review!

Kingdom Heartbeats features ten electronically remixed tracks from the popular Kingdom Hearts franchise. This album has been produced by Roborob and features some excellent vocals in some of the tracks.

The album begins with a nearly two minute shorter version of the intro song: Simple and Clean. Though the original tracks fall under the electronic dance music category, these remixes kick it up a notch. Tension Rising from Kingdom Hearts II is the second song and the remix amplifies it but stays true to the original battle music. The 13th Struggle from Kingdom Hearts 2 has also been tweaked for this album and it too sounds true to form and is nicely done.

Most of the tracks are from Kingdom Hearts 2 and Sora’s Theme has not been neglected. You’ll find a longer and tweaked version on this album. I have no idea what the Japanese singers are saying in the song Passion, but it sounds great. The menu music Dearly Beloved is so beautiful and should have been left alone. Although the remix is good, I still prefer the original.

Kingdom Hearts 3 gets some representation with Face My Fears. After that opening song, the first game is re-visited with some enhanced theme music from Traverse Town. Kingdom Hearts 2 takes the spotlight again with the upbeat battle music, Sinister Sundown. The album concludes with a much faster and dubstep version of one of my favorite tracks, This Is Halloween. Although interesting, I still prefer the original version.

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Between Earth and Sky (Music from "Chrono Trigger")

Between Earth and Sky (Music from "Chrono Trigger")
By Julia Henderson
Published by: Materia Collective
Julia Henderson: Producer, Arranger, Lyricist, Vocals, Mix Engineer
Alejandro Hernández: Mastering Engineer
Lorenzo de Sequera: Album Art

Thank you Materia Collective for sending us this album on MP3 to review!

Chrono Trigger is one of those rare games that actually deserves all of the unbridled praise that it gets. It was also a capstone on the total domination by the 1990s Squaresoft during the Super Nintendo era of RPGs, and is an absolute classic still worth playing today. One of the many ways in which Chrono Trigger excelled was in its music.

It's funny; during this era, Nobuo Uematsu was king of the Final Fantasy music empire, and while he did contribute to Chrono Trigger's soundtrack, the majority of the truly memorable tracks came not from him, but from Yasunori Mitsuda's excellent compositions. It is from these that Julia Henderson takes her inspiration in the development of this album.

It is only six tracks, and just over twenty-three and a half minutes long. Thankfully, the price is quite reasonable at only $5 on Bandcamp; at that price, it's well worth it.

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The World Is Square

Thank you Scarlet Moon Productions for sending us this digital album to review!

The World Is Square began in 2003 and took over fifteen years to complete by Mustin who is best known as one of the founders of OneUp Studios/The OneUps. This album features classic Square Enix music from hit games like Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy IV, VI, and VII. The eight tracks are given an electronic jazz twist and sound great. There is some creative license, but the songs are still very recognizable.

The songs range from three to over six minutes each. It takes a little over thirty-seven minutes to hear the whole album and I’m always looking for more when it’s finished. The calm and relaxing tracks would make excellent hold music; I certainly wouldn’t mind listening to it while waiting.

The first track is Fear of the Heaven from Secret of Mana. I have to confess that I have not played this game (yet), but the song, acoustic guitar, and vocals are good. Thankfully, I have played all of the Final Fantasy games represented on this album. Final Fantasy IV’s main theme is the second track. One of the most popular songs from Final Fantasy IV, Theme of Love, is the third song. The violin work on this track is exceptional.

Chrono Trigger fans will enjoy Forest Butterflies and From the Bottom. William Carlos Reyes provides the guitar playing for From the Bottom and does an excellent job. We’ve previously reviewed his album Guitar Collections Final Fantasy IV.

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Celeste Piano Collections

Thank you to Scarlet Moon Productions for the music!

Undoubtedly, one of the best parts of Celeste is the soundtrack. The various movements match the action, the melodies are emotional, and every track is catchy. As hackneyed as my regards are, the game deserves the praise it has received. When given the opportunity to listen to the Piano Collections, I was curious to see how an already piano heavy soundtrack would be modified for solos. The end result maintains most of the original's charm, but some of the omissions were disappointing.

Celeste Piano Collections comes with the main soundtrack of Celeste, arranged for the piano, of course. While many of the pieces in the main game were piano oriented, this rendition adds the various harmonies to the piano as well. I was provided a digital copy of the music, though a physical copy and sheet music are also available. All the included music is immediately recognizable to anyone who played Celeste, which is always a good sign with these arrangements. Generally, each piece contains the main melody and appropriate segments needed to loop back to the melody. The mood of each piece is maintained through various dynamic and tempo changes.

However, not all the movements of the pieces are included, which was disappointing. Although the pieces are still well composed and the key is properly maintained, omitting the many movements was a poor move. Granted, this would make some pieces nearly ten minutes long, but some of my favorite pieces from Celeste are these secondary segments. The music is stellar without considering what was removed, however. The B-Side remixes are also not included, despite being an integral part of the game's soundtrack. I assume this is because the negotiations with the various composers of the B-Side music (as opposed to the single composer of the A-Side) would be too difficult. I would have loved to hear the blues remix of Chapter 5's music on a piano.

While all the music that was chosen to be arranged for Celeste Piano Collections was done very well, I couldn't help but be disappointed by the missing parts. I loved that the mood of each piece was maintained with only one instrument, and the original melodies are still easily recognizable. However, I would recommend the original soundtrack over this, simply because it has more music. It’s 15 dollars for both the A and B side music, available wherever the Piano Collections are. As a standalone product, Celeste Piano Collections is nice, but the source material is certainly better.

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MENU: An Homage to Game Title Themes

Thank you Materia Collective for sending us this digital album to review!

Many video games are known for their great soundtracks and some catch your attention at the menu screen before embarking on your adventure. MENU: An Homage to Game Title Themes is a collection of over fifty theme songs and menu tracks from various games in the past three decades. Most of the songs are true to their origins and others like the Mega Man 2 and Minecraft themes have rap and/or lyrics added to them. While I didn’t mind the “enhancement,” the rest of my family preferred the rap-free songs.

Not surprisingly, this collection has five songs (nearly 10%) from Final Fantasy games. There’s music from Final Fantasy Tactics, IX, XIII, XIII-2, and XV. There are three songs from the Mario franchise including tracks from Mario Kart 64, Paper Mario, and Super Mario 64. Elder Scrolls fans will enjoy the songs from Oblivion and Skyrim.

Belmont Overture from Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse is probably one of the oldest tracks in this collection as this game originated in 1989. Listening to this song brought back pleasant memories from my childhood and my NES. Other familiar songs include Geralt of Rivia from Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Doki Doki Literature Club, Main Title from Deus Ex, Happiness from Sims 3, and Myst’s theme.

There are so many songs from games I have yet to play including Limbo, Celeste, Cuphead, Horizon Zero Dawn, Stardew Valley, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, Katamari Damacy, and FTL: Faster Than Light. Although I haven’t played Ninja Gaiden II, I really enjoy its menu music now! Mass Effect: Andromeda has good title music too and that series is on my bucket list.

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Music Box Classics: Mario

Thank you Materia Collective for sending us this digital album to review!

I have been enjoying the Mario Bros. series since the Atari and Super Mario Bros. series on the NES. While the Atari 2600 version of the game lacks music, the NES version has quite the memorable soundtrack and it’s great to see it get the lullaby treatment in the Music Box Classics: Mario collection.

This digital album has ten tracks from various games through Mario’s 30+ years in existence. The first track is the Super Mario Bros. overworld music and is the slowest of the bunch. I honestly think it could have benefited from higher beats per minute. The rest of the tracks are a little bit more upbeat. The underwater music from the first Super Mario Bros. game is a welcome addition as well.

The most represented games are Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy with each having three tracks dedicated to them. You’ll find the following Super Mario 64 songs: Inside the Castle Walls, Bomb-Omb Battlefield, and Dire, Dire Docks. The songs from Super Mario Galaxy Include: Rosalina’s Observatory, Luma, and Gusty Garden. The overworld music from Super Mario Bros. 2 brings back pleasant memories as does Princess Peach’s Theme from Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. I wish that Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario Sunshine had tracks included in the collection, but they’re absent.

Overall, this is a great collection of classic gaming music in music box form. It’s great lullaby music so make sure you’re not too comfortable when listening to it or you may find yourself sleeping before you know it! The total length of this album is a little over thirty-one minutes. It sells for $8.99 on Amazon or for $7 on Bandcamp which provides the tracks in MP3, FLAC and more.

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Music Box Classics: Final Fantasy VII

Thank you Materia Collective for sending us this digital album to review!

Final Fantasy games are known for their extraordinary music and my husband and I have had the pleasure of seeing multiple live symphonic performances of Nobuo Uematsu’s masterpieces. As a result, we own several compilations of Final Fantasy music and managed to get one of our daughters sick of it. Our other two kids love the music so they turned out alright.

Music Box Classics: Final Fantasy VII focuses on a title with many great songs and the music box treatment works well with these melodies. J-E-N-O-V-A is a little too fast paced to be included, but there are plenty of other great songs in this collection. There are lots of theme songs including the Aerith’s, Tifa’s, and the Chocobo song. Of course, the game’s title song is on this album as well.

I love the battle music in Final Fantasy VII and the Fighting song and One Winged Angel are both included. Another welcome addition is Cosmo Canyon though I have to say that I still prefer the version from the game’s soundtrack.

There are fourteen songs in total and they range from a minute and forty-seven seconds to six minutes and forty-one seconds. All of the tracks are great and I highly recommend this $7 digital album to all Final Fantasy VII fans. The songs are available in MP3 and lossless FLAC formats.

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Music Box Classics: Castlevania

Thank you Materia Collective for sending us this digital album to review!

The iconic Castlevania series made its debut in 1986 and I enjoyed playing the first three on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). While I didn’t own the first two games, I have played them at friends’ houses on several occasions. The game I’m the most familiar with is Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse of which there is one track, Beginning, on this album.

Six songs including the 11-second prologue are from the first game. Simon’s Quest has four songs devoted to it. Symphony of the Night has four songs and while they’re good, I didn’t recognize them since I haven’t played any Castlevania games since the NES era.

As the album title suggests, all fifteen tracks are in a lullaby music box style. Each of the songs are exceptionally done despite being a little slower paced than the originals. The longest song is nearly four minutes and most of the tracks are a couple of minutes in length. Many of them bring back good memories of playing this classic series. The soothing music is very relaxing, but I would recommend exercising some caution as they may be too relaxing to listen to when doing long driving stretches late at night! Having this album shuffled in with the rest of your music library is highly recommended though.

This album is ideal for any Castlevania fan who is familiar with the first few games. The asking price on Bandcamp is a reasonable $7. These songs would be great for conditioning a baby to appreciate awesome game music at a tender age. Additionally, these songs would go great in a crib mobile or perhaps a Build-A-Bear. I wish these albums were around when my kids were babies. I guess I can indoctrinate my future grandkids in the not-so-distant future.

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Guitar Collections Final Fantasy IV

Thank you Scarlet Moon Records for sending us this digital album to review!

Of all the Final Fantasy games I’ve played, IV and VI have the most memorable music and stories though there are some other runner-ups in the series as well. Nobuo Uematsu is a talented composer and my husband and I have had the privilege of seeing him in person and conducting a live orchestra performing many of his masterpieces. We have also seen live performances of string quartets playing his works too. I’ll also confess to owning every CD from the Black Mages and Earthbound Papas. I also have the overclocked remixes from Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy VI (hands down better than IV).

Upon hearing about the Guitar Collections Final Fantasy IV album, I was hoping for a chance to check it out and I’m glad that we were able to do so. William Carlos Reyes from The OneUps does an exceptional job playing the classical guitar and does these songs proud with his performance. I’ve only been playing the guitar for a couple of years and it will be a while before I can consider myself worthy of attempting any of these songs.

In total, there are twelve tracks and my favorites from Final Fantasy IV made the cut. The Theme of Love and iconic Fight Song are both done beautifully. Of course, Rydia’s song and the main theme are present too. If you enjoy the town music, you’ll be happy to know that it’s on this album as well. The final track is an original piece titled The Crystals which is inspired by Final Fantasy IV.

This album sells for $8.99 on Amazon and $10 on Bandcamp and it’s worth picking up if you enjoy Final Fantasy IV and its music. They’re planning on making a Guitar Collections Final Fantasy series and I’m definitely looking forward to future releases.

 

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String Player Gamer: Rebirth

Thank you Materia Collective for sending us this digital album to review!

Ever since String Player Gamer’s rendition of Undertale’s music, I’ve been a fan of his work. The Rebirth album has a wide variety of songs, instruments, and source material. Not all of the songs are based off of video games either. Light of the Seven from Game of Thrones makes an appearance. There are some songs from the movies Wonder Woman and Star Wars: A New Hope too. Other than those few songs, the rest of the tracks are from classic video games from the past couple of decades.

In total, there are thirty-two tracks and they are all exceptionally done. Most of them are instrumental though there are some with vocals like Pokémon’s Magikarp Song and the Song of Mana from Legend of Mana. There’s even an acapella version of Star War’s throne room song. Along with the instrument playing, the vocals are fantastic.

There’s a lot of Nintendo representation with songs from Kirby's Dream Land, Super Mario Odyssey, Super Mario Land, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. There are quite a few Pokémon songs including battle and town music. Chrono Cross has a couple of songs in this album. Retro gamers will enjoy tracks from Mega Man 3, Street Fighter II, Sonic the Hedgehog, and the Tetris Reggae. Some other songs come from games like Animal Crossing, Assassin’s Creed II, and Professor Layton and the Curious Village. I was happy to see some Final Fantasy (XV) representation on this album too.

In the end, this album has something for every gamer and fans of superhero and Star Wars movies. The price is a reasonable $12.99 and you can listen to it before buying it on Bandcamp and other digital resellers. While it is available digitally on Amazon, it’s a little more expensive there.

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