P-Vock's Music Box: Choo-Choo
Hello and welcome back to P-Vock's Music Box. The sun is shining (for now). My windows are cracked and the breeze feels so good. It's past 8 o'clock and the world hasn't gone totally dark.
This must mean that spring is here! Which means that everyone else around me is finally smiling again.
Last week, I spoke about my favourite OST ever. This week, I think I'll keep them good vibes chugging along by jumping back to a title I played a ton way back when I was in high school, because what else was I going to at the time? Have sex or form meaningful relationships with my peers? I'm a Zelda fan, that doesn't happen.
The Zelda series rarely misses. I think I can say every entry in the mainline series with two exceptions is regarded as a genuine classic (and even then, Zelda 2 rules and cowards need to get good). Lo and behold, the DS console was given one such title in Phantom Hourglass. A very uninspired and forgettable entry with a bizarre control scheme and frustrating gameplay for many led to low reviews and arguably the low point of the series. Such an experimental entry receiving such a mixed reception would surely mean that Nintendo would be better off scrapping the concept and trying something new, Right? Yes, it would. This is precisely why they refused to give up, tried even harder, and gave us one of the most standout entries in the series that hits you the second you turn on the game.
Zelda games' main themes are usually relaxed, emotional, and often melancholy. Spirit Tracks, however, ain't any other Zelda game. As if echoing the trains, this one goes full steam ahead and largely focuses on one instrument rarely used in the series before, the pan flute, to create something upbeat that has an infectious momentum that you can't help but admire.
Then they murder the titular princess in about 20 minutes of game time.
But who cares about the incredibly dark implications of having a ghostly form of Zelda traveling around with Link all game when we got FRIGGIN' TRAINS!
This is it.
This is the best overworld theme in the series, by several country miles.
It's unique, it's catchy, it's got more of that slick pan flute, and the constant drum line acts as if echoing the sounds of a train speeding along the rails.
A sure sign of a great theme is if it makes the player feel the need to stay in its area to continue hearing it, and I have spent many hours riding the rails to continue bobbing along to this top-tier masterpiece.
Pretty much the only thing that could make it better is if it somehow had a leitmotif to use later on in the game, maybe during the final battle...
Zelda games rarely screw up the final battles, and Spirit Tracks is no exception.
One of the best mechanics in the game is using Link's own flute to play sacred melodies and create magical effects. So, of course, it makes sense to have him duet with Zelda right before the final battle in what is an absolutely brilliant display of integrating gameplay to enhance a moment in a story.
Once the duet ends, we get this absolutely phenomenal turn on the overworld theme that manages to perfectly the sinister energy of a malicious demon attempting to rule the world, and the sheer hope portrayed by our beloved dork in green who is ready to stab him in the face.
I'll likely revisit this series in the very near future when Tears of the Kingdom launches and gives me a neverending erection, but sometimes, I just get in a Spirit Tracks mood. Spirit Tracks is absolutely one of the standout titles in the Zelda series to me and I find it a crying shame that so few of the big fans of this big franchise have ever taken the time to give it a go.
What's even more depressing is that thanks to the closure of the Wii U and 3DS eShops last month, this is another game that will likely be lost to time and forgotten by almost everyone.
But, if there is only one Spirit Tracks fan out there, it's me, and I will forever sing its praises.
Thank you, as always, for checking out my nonsense and I hope to catch you back here next time with another suggestion from my Music Box.