Thursday, August 6, 2015

Midweek Music Box: Elevator Action

Most times that my family was at an arcade it meant that we had just finished a round of mini-golf and we were only going to spend a few bucks at most for each person.  This meant that I would usually go for one of two options:  Either play pinball games (because I was halfway decent at them), or hunt down a game or two that I knew I could play for a long time on only one quarter.  After all, I was a kid and trying to milk as much time possible out of an arcade trip was something you would just do.  I was lousy at Donkey Kong, couldn't cut it with the "newer" games like Golden Axe, and managed to make poor Qbert plunge to his doom more often then change the squares to the correct color.  But there was a game or two I could last for a good long while when I played.  One of them was Taito's own Elevator Action.  

Just take a listen to this little tune.  Sorry, had to link to gameplay to get the music:

The depth and richness of the...uh...somethingness.  And the rhythm of the tone gets you...uh....Oh Ok!  

Admittedly, this is not the best soundtrack I've mentioned on this blog.  It gets the job done, the tune is an endless loop that serves a decent functionality in terms of putting you in the mood for some secret agent'ing.  When I was trying to hunt down an Elevator Action cabinet I would listen for it, not so much because it had some mind-blowing soundtrack, but because it had a distinct one.  Despite not having the best music in gamedom; Elevator Action does hold some great memories for me. 

As I mentioned before, I could last for a good long while when I played it.  Now, this isn't really meant as a boast, just that Elevator Action was my game and I loved losing myself in it much the same way other people would lose themselves in Pac Man or Donkey Kong.  Every one has that one game.  If you don't think you "have a game," that one game where you just kick butt and welcome all challengers, trust me you do, you just have to find which one it is.

In addition to playing it every time I went to the arcade, I remember when I got it as a gift from my folks to help me through some tough times.  I was really sick as a kid, had a number of hospital visits here and there.  I still remember following a particularly rough procedure my folks tried to perk up my spirits by getting me two games.  One was a little title called Amagon; the other was the home port of Elevator Action!

I remember the first time I popped the game into the NES and the screen popped up. I was thrilled beyond belief.  When I hit start, it was just like I was in the arcades as that familiar tune started up:

All things considered, the home version did sound and play a lot like the original arcade game.  And it wasn't long before I lost myself in the game and was going building through building shooting spies and stealing secret documents.  It still remains one of my favorite go-to games for just losing myself for a good long time while attempting to rack up a high score.

The arcade was a treasure trove of blips, beeps, and various synthesized gunfire; so hearing a specific game soundtrack above the general din was difficult.  But that doesn't mean I didn't perk up my ears and try to listen for those familiar few notes as they cycled.  It doesn't always take a full soundtrack to trigger great memories, especially if those memories are ones of playing in the arcade attached to the mini golf.

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