Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Midweek Music Box: Rayman Legends

Image result for rayman legends

So much of Rayman Legends represents the best of what platform gaming can offer. From excellent controls, tons of replay value, and fun storyline--the game hits it out the park. Of course, our interest today concerns the phenomenal music composed and arranged by Billy Martin and Christopher Heral. 

With this particular game, we need to break down the soundtrack into two parts: the regular background music, and the musical homage levels. Let's dive in with the instrumental/orchestral music:

Medieval Theme:
"Medieval Theme"

The "Medieval Theme" greets you on the main screen, and I've come to think of it as the main theme for the game. Not only do the trilling flute, chanting voices, bombastic booms and string sections evoke the feeling of a medieval festival; it also offers a hint of what's to come. Yes, Rayman Legends boasts an orchestral soundtrack and makes use of said orchestra in the best ways possible. The game itself has a high fantasy feel in many sections with the good guys battling dragons and trolls, so it's more than fitting that this music introduces you to the world of Rayman and his pals. Everything feels more epic when given a medieval flare, and the limbless lad really feels at home under this umbrella.

Dive Another Day:

"Dive Another Day"

"The name is Man, Rayman. *cue iconic Bond Theme*"
At least, I imagine this was partially going through the composers minds as they put together this particular song. With low bass and guitar riff that with an air of mystery, it's hard not to think of MI 6's best international spy as you run through corridors and plumb the ocean depths. It's nice that this particular song, and indeed all the songs from this particular section of the game, don't give way to some goofball, madcap fast pace just to fit the bright colors and upbeat tone of the game. So often a game soundtrack seems to forget itself and gets overly frenetic in all the wrong places. This track breathes at a slower pace, and that's very much welcome. One of the touches unrelated to the music itself, but still helpful in setting the mood along with the music is that while, you still get the array of miscreant monsters one would expect from the game, but as if to fit the music, the levels set to this theme feature toad creatures equipped with spear guns and wet suits.

The Chief Whistler:

"The Chief Whistler"

Light strumming on the banjo and a pleasant whistling fills the air for this tune. While it doesn't boast the full-bodied orchestra sound of the other tracks in the game, it never-the-less adds a richness to the game in vaguely easy-going, pleasant way. It's going nowhere in a hurray, just ambling along and enjoying the scenery and inviting you to do the same.  You could listen to a loop of it to drift off to sleep at night, or have it playing in the background as mosey about your day. It's neither epic nor bombastic. It's just a pleasant tune to listen to you. It's the Bob Ross soundtrack of the game basically.

The Music Levels:

Really, these just need to be played to get the full impact of how awesome these homages are. From the "Black Betty" singing trolls that were part of the game demo to the "Eye of the Tiger" Mariachis; you can't help but smile when playing through these levels. They are great renditions in their own right, but really, if you needed at least one more reason to get the game, the music levels are your reason. One of the big reasons I got a Wii U was so I could play this game for these levels. For those that can't wait to play or don't have an opportunity to, here's a clip of the music levels in a long play form:

Music levels

As I write this review, I can't help but want to play this game again just to enjoy the music again. Such great blend of whimsy, rock, and fun await, you just need to download the soundtrack now.
Seriously, just download the soundtrack here. It's one of those awesome opportunities to actually give the artists some sort of compensation for the fantastic work they do.

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