|By Bucky||Friday, 19 Jun 2009|
Publisher: SunSoft (JP + US + EU), Mattel (AU)
AKA: Raf World
Originally released as the jump-and-gun platformer Raf World in Japan, with
the intention of being
altered into a Terminator title but losing the rights, this game was ported to what most of us know as Journey to Silius.
I have a bunch of favorite tracks from this game, but for now I’ll leave you with the stage 2 and 3 themes. The stage 2 music is delightfully driving and entrancing simultaneously, with some killer drum fills. Stage 3 stands out to me as one of the catchier and more straight forward ‘rock’ tracks.
The introduction music offers a glimspe of what was most likely intended as a Terminator reference. At 56 seconds in, you get to hear this sort of pounding rhythm that, while different, is believed by some to be their take on the classic Terminator “dun-dun dun dun-dun“.
While this isn’t the first SunSoft game to make the list, it is the first
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in a group that share one major thing in common: bass.
Journey to Silius incorporated recorded bass tones sampled down to 1-bit DPCM, a technique used in a handful of other soundtracks including Gremlins 2 and Batman: Return of the Joker. This beefy sound is quite unique and adds a very distinct sound to these games.
Using melodic lines in the sample channel was considerably rare for classic NES soundtracks. Super C (Konami) had a host of orchesta hits, and for other games with pitched bass lines there’s Fire ‘n Ice (Tecmo) and Zombie Nation (Kaze). I’m sure there are some more, but otherwise, SunSoft reigns supreme in this technique. This is no doubt due to the costs involved with using up space for samples. There was quite possibly a hurdle in figuring out how to pitch the samples correctly as well. (I go into more detail on pitching the DPCM here)
If I may plug some of my music for a moment, I did an NES arrangement of the Exorcist theme (Tubular Bells) using the exact same bass samples which can be heard here.
Journey to Silius stands as one of my favorite NES soundtracks, so I was happy to see it place this high on the list. The music and sound design is by Nobuyuki Hara, Shinichi Seya (AKA ‘About S.S.’), and Naoki Kodaka.
Listen to a selection of tracks on youtube here.