Friday, September 5, 2014

Game Scores: Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (SNES)

Yay, we now have a logo for this series!  What of it, I like logos.  I also like Legos.

I used "Lockjaw's Saga" in Wednesday's MIDI Week Singles article and that song got me to thinking thing that 1) I had not posted a Game Scores article in a while (since April of this year) and 2) that I should do a Game Scores article about the music in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest because I love the music from that game.

Let us start off with the music from the opening Rare logo and title music, both of which do great jobs with setting the tone for both the rest of the soundtrack as well as the rest of the first area.

Now that is quintessential pirate music if I have ever heard it before and because of Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, everybody has heard piratey music.  Keep in mind though that this game/music/soundtrack came out eight years after this, but the sea chanty in one form or another has been around since the mid-16th century, so let us not go into a "Who did it first" discussion.

Normally, I would have included "Lockjaw's Saga" in this list, but I have already highlighted that song two days ago.  So let us move onto another chanty-esque song with "Jib Jig."
Even though the songs are pretty different, and apologies for drawing on Klaus Bladelt's score for Pirates of the Caribbean again, but this track reminds me a bit of what the cello part plays at the beginning of "Fog Bound," except here, it is a MIDI violin/fiddle.  It is just a great piratey (there's that word again) little diddy (eh!?).  Maybe even a little reminiscent of the Chieftain's score from Treasure Island?  For me, there is also something about the wind sound effect and blowing leaves in the background.  I want it to be October and ready for Halloween.

Speaking of Halloween, "Haunted Chase" is the next song I wanted to showcase.

Yes, "Haunted Chase" uses the theme from "Night on Bald Mountain" by Modest Mussorgsky / Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, but the "Haunted Chase" uses the main theme sparingly but is comprised of specific elements.  Instead of being a direct rip-off, the song takes pieces from such Russian pieces as Igor Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" with it's pounding percussion beats.  What I take from this song is to recall musical triggers that the audience has associated with both danger and the finale from Disney's Fantasia.  Taking all of this into account, the music is played during Haunted Hall, one of the (thankfully few) mine-cart sequences in the game, which I do not find to underscore the amount of danger and stress induced by both the level design and pounding sense of terror.

Lastly, according to David Wise' page, "Stickerbrush Symphony" is a favorite of his listeners as it is a favorite of mine.
"Stickerbrush Symphony" is just one of those mellow songs that is calming and relaxing to listen to.  The level that the song comes from however, Bramble Scramble, is anything but calm and relaxing.  The song reminds me a lot of the "Aquatic Ambience" from the first Donkey Kong Country.  Coincidentally, both songs have been covered by online acapellist Smooth McGroove as well as other musicians in various styles.  So yes, this song is easily a fan favorite.

Have a happy Friday all.

Engage the Laser Beam

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for giving a shout to Aquatic Ambience - as I always loved that soundtrack, and am much more familiar with the first Donkey Kong Country. And wow, Bramble Scramble is quite a lot like it.
    Great choice for a Game Scores feature. The DKC series really was a cut above the rest. And still shows great melody and ambience, even with a more archaic sound processor. Kudos to David Wise.