I require thee to listen and learn this final lesson.
I made a promise to myself—and in a quiet way to all of you as well—that I wouldn’t let this drawn-out feature slide into 2009. This is me coming through on that promise. In case you missed them:
And now, the final installment of The Living Tribunal Presents: Five Game Soundtracks You Don’t Listen To Enough… ASTYANAX!
Astyanax holds a unique spot in my gaming history, as it was an adventure I experienced countless times without ever progressing too far. Even playing it now, it’s cheap and sometimes ugly, but there’s an undeniable charm that extends beyond the bizarre and slightly homosexual depiction of the titular character on the US box art.
I feel extra crunchy about taking so long to get to this one, too, because the gracious and awesome Bucky ripped the soundtrack at my request, himself being an admitted fan of this months-long Tribunal endeavor. It is with great enthusiasm, then, that I direct you to his upload of the Astyanax soundtrack so that you may hum along to this very post.
Astyanax starts off conservatively and, arguably, beautifully before kicking into full adventure gear. Don’t let the jovial jaunt of the Title Screen fool you, though, because the quest ahead is a dark and violent one, littered with hideous creatures like the boss pictured below.
The tunes couldn’t be more varied here, from the wildly optimistic (“Remlia Castle”) to frantic melodies designed to keep the player on edge (“Round 1 Cutscene”). I’ve never been more insistent that some brave and skilled game music cover band apply a metal edge to a lot of these tracks, especially the imposing “Marshy Swamp,” which I can’t get out of my head for the life of me. For Pete’s sake, just listen to “Boss” and try your best to feign bravery!
I was honestly concerned that the Astyanax soundtrack wouldn’t hold up, but it has some of the most unique stage music of the time, in my opinion. There aren’t any rules to Astyanax’s visceral world and these tracks reflect that, with the occasional changing time signature inserted to remind you that these walls, roots and wooden bridges are unpredictable, soaked with the blood of dead failures that long preceded you.