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A Night at the Symphonii

Hylian Harmonics and Jungle Jazz

by Andrew Brown - December 21, 2012, 10:49 am EST

Link and Donkey Kong are no strangers to catchy music.

Next, we have two more of Nintendo's well-known franchises, The Legend of Zelda and Donkey Kong. Music has been a major theme in the Zelda series for a long time, with each new main game having some kind of plot-central instrument or song-learning process since Link's Awakening way back on the Game Boy.

Likewise, Donkey Kong has become somewhat of a musician himself in recent years, busting out his barrel-bongos and jamming along to the catchy rhythms whenever the opportunity arises. He even had a trilogy of rhythm game spinoffs back in the GameCube days.

By this stage, every gamer and his dog knows the epic secret about this game's central "Ballad of the Goddess" tune used in the trailers, in that it's a clever reversal of the famous Zelda's Lullaby from throughout the series. Strangely, I actually like the backwards version more than the original Zelda's theme. It's slightly dissonant, but something about it feels more heroic and grandiose.

Skyward Sword had perhaps one of the most exciting soundtracks in the Zelda series, and the coincidental success of the incredible Symphony of the Goddesses concert tour shows it. The tour is currently set to head to Australia next February. I hope to see you there!

Am I also the only one who actually likes Fi's singing? Or the character in general?
Nevertheless, here're some of my favorite tracks from the game, including a haunting ambient track from my favorite dungeon and a new twist of a beloved classic Zelda tune. On an slightly related note, I'm not entirely ashamed to admit that the Staff Roll music in the end credits made me cry.

Ballad of the Goddess
Staff Roll
Sandship Interior (Timeshift Stone)
Learn the Song of Heroes

In a true revival of the Donkey Kong Country series in every way, Returns borrowed from the classic tunes composed by David Wise for the SNES original. Most of the soundtrack was a wonderful homage to those tunes we fondly remember, with new remixes and twists to make them feel fresh.

Here I present two such remakes of original tunes (including the most vicious, nail-bitingly hectic rendition of the mine cart ride theme to date!), along with two of the game's original music pieces. Really though, if you haven't played this game you've done your Wii a great disservice. The levels are awesome, the music is awesome, the whole thing is awesome. Go check it out.

Rickety Rails
Treetop Rock Returns
Lift-off Launch
Feather Fiend


FreudianLemurDecember 20, 2012

You must have, at some point in this list, the soundtrack from FF Chrystal Chronicles (only the first one, on the GC).

Disco StuDecember 20, 2012

Oh man, the Puzzle Plank Galaxy music from SMG2 is the perfect, quintessential Mario music to me.

joshnickersonDecember 20, 2012

I'd love to hear the original Galaxy soundtrack someday, if only just to hear what could have been.

RazorkidDecember 20, 2012

I absolutely feel the same way about videogame music. It's a huge detriment to me if the music doesn't pop or add significantly to the experience. I haven't gone through your list Andrew, but I look forward to it. I'm always super curious about the tastes of other fellow videogame music lovers and whether mine overlaps at all.

Pixelated PixiesDecember 20, 2012

Some of my stand out soundtracks on Wii are Xenoblade (so good it hurts), the Galaxy games, Epic Yarn, Twilight Princess, House of the Dead: Overkill, the No More Heroes games, Metroid Prime 3, Muramasa, and of course Beat the Beat (Rhythm Heaven Fever).

On the digital front there's also the Bit.Trip games, Light Trax, the Lost Winds games, World of Goo, Cave Story, Mega Man 9 & 10, and Max & the Magic Marker (way underrated as a soundtrack).

I have to share this again. It's just too good. Too good I say!


Evan_BDecember 21, 2012

Hey, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: the Crystal Bearers has fantastic music, too. The game is the Skyward Sword before Skyward Sword and jam-packed with minigames, but the themes hit just the right balance of that laid-back adventuresome idea and more classy, jazzy material.

joshnickersonDecember 21, 2012

All these articles are doing in making me wish Nintendo would make these soundtracks available to us in the states in one form or another! Y'know, instead of making me track down some rather shady online sources... :-X

I had no problem with Fi; I actually found her quite amusing, once I noticed similarities between her and Vulcans (constantly talking about percentages and logic). I was actually rather touched with her final scene towards the end of the game.

(I did think she looked a tad goofy singing, though ;) )

FreudianLemurDecember 24, 2012

When I listened to the Xenoblade title music, suddenly all my feelings of awe and wonder for the game came rushing back, and I realised how long it is since I last played it. I've not even finished it! Why do I do this with great games? I play a decent way in, and then for some reason I won't play it for ages, to the point where I almost forget about it. *facepalm*

azekeDecember 26, 2012

Judging from the list author hasn't played Rhythm Heaven Fever.

Because it would be #1 if he did.

LittleIrvesDecember 28, 2012

Great stuff, Andrew! Love the sepia-toned logos, too....  I'd add Kirby'd Epic Yarn to the list, and my own personal take on "Ode to Joy" from Wii Music, but I understand how you might have missed that one, ha.


I totally forgot to add Other M's Ridley theme in the Honorables too. Oh well, next time :D

EasyCureJanuary 04, 2013

I can't get the DKCR sound track on my mp3 player :( stupid formats...

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