Hello and welcome back to P-Vock's Music Box. 2022 is finally over, and I am more than ready to escape it and bring on a new year. This year saw some amazing releases and I am quite satisfied that I was able to play most of the games I wanted to (I'll get to Soul Hackers 2 eventually).
While there were a few games that I completely jived with, and one easy favourite of the year (I'll talk about it next year), there was one release that the mere existence of excited me greatly.
A once Japan-exclusive game I never thought I would get to play officially was released worldwide after 25 years of being exclusive to Japan.
This release had me feeling rather Lively, so let's talk about it.
Live A Live is a simple, but brilliant concept. You have 8 stories from 8 different periods of time: A young caveman looking to get lucky, an ancient Chinese Shifu looking to pass along his craft, a shinobi looking to save his country from the shadows in the Edo period, a classic Wild West tale on par with any Clint Eastwood film, a middle ages knight doing middle ages things, a martial arts fighter in the present day looking to challenge the best, a psychic in the near future with a giant robot, and an adorable robot in the distant future who is basically forced to live through the plot of Alien.
All of them are great and while I won't give you the themes from each, the entire soundtrack is highly recommended by me.
This is about as Wild West a piece of music as you can get. But, it absolutely nails that exact feeling. The fleeting melody works as a perfect echo of the vast and harsh desert, only to be interrupted by the drums that resemble the frantic gallops of your nameless wanderer's trusty steed on his way to save a town from bandits before riding off into the sunset.
The music is simple, and rather expected, but that's just what Live A Live is. Simple stories that you can quickly enjoy and then move on from.
Alright, let's move on to another period.
Once again, about as expected as possible. The Twilight of Edo Japan period tasks you with infiltrating a prison to both free a prisoner and, hopefully, save your whole country from being engulfed in a war with invaders that they have no hope of ever winning.
If you asked someone to describe "ninja music" they'd probably think of something along these lines, and while I could see some people complaining that the music isn't as memorable or unique as it could be (though it was composed almost 30 years ago and was definitely much more unique when initially released), I still think it is fitting, effectively, and well composed.
Live A Live was composed by my favourite video game composer of all time, Yoko Shimomura, and looking into her music years ago was what exposed me to Live A Live. There is one particular track from this soundtrack that stands out and is considered one of the all-time greats. Luckily for players, it plays in every era.
We got a unique main battle theme for each era, but every era's final boss is accompanied by Megalomania. This is for good reason because hot damn!
It's just so intense and was honestly a lot more influential than people would ever know.
Many know of the game Undertale (I once shared some tunes from it), but you can hear the influence this track had on the most iconic track from that theme, Megalovania. I mention this because the Undertale creator and composer, Toby Fox, would help work on the rearranges of this OST for the remaster.
I think the lesson here is to follow your dreams.
Apologies for the tangent, but there are only so many ways I can say this music is incredible and deep and perfectly nails the situation in which it accompanies.
Live A Live merely existing as it does now gives me so much joy. I have always intended on playing an emulation of a fan translation of the original release (and will definitely still do that in the future) but I am just happy that I am able to officially own an English release. The fact that it got a full remaster in the HD-2D style, which is easily one of my favourite visual styles ever, is just icing on this delicious cake. This release gives me hope that maybe someday we could get more classics finally released worldwide. Maybe someday I will finally be able to smile about the fact that Mother 3 is available officially in the West and I can feel depression from it without a fan translation.
A boy can dream...
Anyway, I hope your weekend, and your 2023, is absolutely great and I hope to catch you back here next time with another suggestion from my Music Box.
PS. Okay, the Near-Future chapter has a giant robot straight out of a 1980s Kaiju show, and they gave it a theme song and you just have to hear it.