Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Midweek Music Box: Ghosts 'N Goblins

If you like to swear in frustration, Ghosts 'N Goblins was a good place to start.  But other than the ability to make gamers rattle off a litany of swear words worth of the Angry Video Game Nerd, it had the ability to set tone with the few notes afforded to it thanks to the system limitations.  Continuing with Halloween themed reviews, this week I've got another familiar title I'd like to talk about.  Harkening back to a time when cinema was restricted to whatever organ music was on hand to accompany the film, Ghosts 'N Goblins embraces a macabre feeling with every note that's played.  Take for instance the music that plays when you start up the game:

"Game Start"

Can't you just picture some sort of Phantom of the Opera-type creature banging away at an organ as this plays?  Granted the setting Ghost 'N Goblins goes for has more in common with a medieval setting--what with knights and princesses fighting the devil himself--but the game composer went for a classic horror genre feel for the music.  Take a listen to the music from stage one:

"Stage 1 Theme"

Doesn't it make you think of films with Bela Lugosi or Boris Karloff?  If it doesn't, then you need to make time in your game-playing schedule for some classic horror because you're missing out.  While those early films may seem a tad campy to us at first glance, they really do offer an unsettling look into the darker side of reality and unleash a world of possibilities that many don't want to think about for too long.  Sure, Ghosts 'N Goblins on a basic level is just your run-of-the-mill action platformer, however the ideas it presents should strike us as a bit unsettling.  Satan himself wants your bride and will literally unleash hell to get her and keep you from reclaiming her.  Classic horror movie stuff happening here.  You've got a terrible monster with evil intent and only one man stands between him and his fiendish desires.  

One last track I want to direct you to is the boss battle music here:

"Boss Battle"

Again, you've got the feel of some one banging away on a pipe organ (within the limitations of the system) and it makes the already nerve racking battles take on a level of intensity that not only ups the ante of an already difficult task, but helps make it feel that much more like you're playing in a classic horror movie.  I hope it doesn't sound (Ha!  Audio pun!) like I'm stretching the comparison too far here, it just takes takes me back to film class.  While it might not have the creep factor of random violin scratches and heart-like drum beats, it does what it can to give you music that fits the tone of the game.  While the Ghosts 'N Goblins soundtrack doesn't exactly make it into my playlists around Halloween, I do enjoy hearing it in all it's 8-bit glory around this time of year, and you should make time to listen and play it too.

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