Hello and welcome back to P-Vock's Music Box. The holidays are here! Now is the time to sit back, have a nice cup of your favourite bevvie, and play video games until your eyes start to bleed.
At least, that's how I spend the holidays. What else am I supposed to do? See loved ones and celebrate people? Gross.
There are so many great tracks I use to get into the winter spirit. Last year when I wrote a column right before the big day, I dropped the greatest piece of holiday music ever composed in Freezeezy Peak from Banjo Kazooie, and I think I'll stay festive and furry.
So, let's monkey around with a series I've written about before but have never delivered the music from.
Ape Escape is one of the all-time greats for me. For a game with a concept as simple as running around capturing monkeys with a sci-fi lacrosse stick, it has so many elements that go so hard. The monkeys are iconic. The characters are fun (and in Ape Escape 2, the main two are voiced by the same voices that originally played Ash and Misty in Pokemon and that's just awesome). The locations are varied, and of course, every piece of music slaps.
Let's have a listen to one of my personal favourite festive tracks.
It's just so festive. Perfect for waltzing around a bustling holiday scene with the lights and sounds you'd normally see this time of year that can melt even my cold ass heart. The frantic tempo gives off vibes of running around, as if embodying the chaos you'll find if you go to a shopping mall this time of year, but the instrumentation and mood give it that warm and inviting feel that really captures what the holiday season should be all about.
And if the holiday vibes don't do it for you, you can always just hop on a snowmobile and spend time running over the monkeys like a sadist. I myself have spent hours over the years doing just that!
Ape Escape 2 is one piece of media that is forever linked to my childhood. It is probably in my top three favourite games ever and I am so glad that I can still appreciate its wonderful OST all these years later.
Lo and behold though, the sequel we got a few years later was certainly no slouch.
Where Snowball Mountain feels like a fun time outside, Wintersville feels cozy and secluded. As if the weather outside is indeed frightful, but you're inside surrounded by the warmth of people you love and probably some garbage movie about the true spirit of the holidays. The composition and instrumentation are honestly just perfect and while I don't necessarily feel festive when I hear it, I certainly feel that comfort and calm that winter provides for me.
I get why most folks hate it, but winter is my favourite season and this track delivers the exact sensation I cherish.
That's not to say it doesn't have a jam to really hit the holiday spirit.
The bells alone give this the festive spirit I can't help but succumb to each year. The introduction absolutely captures the spirit of both of the two tracks I listed previously, only to then flip them on their heads and crank it up to eleven because we are still playing a funky game about capturing monkeys and WE GOTTA GO!
Also, completely unrelated but I feel I should share that Yumi (the young lady in the video thumbnail) was my first love when I played this game when I was like 10. She was an idol who also saved the world from evil monkeys and I like that in a woman.
Not sure where to go from here, so I'll just end the column.
While I would say this applies to the entire series, I think Ape Escape music as a whole is extremely underappreciated. It has so much heart and variety in each game while still remaining unmistakably Ape Escape. That's a combination of traits that I don't believe many pieces of media manage to nail. I could share the music this series has for Halloween levels, for summer levels, and even for space, but I figured for now I could just share some of the warmest music from the coolest levels.
Also, I got a fun fact to share. The Ape Escape monkeys are called Pipo Monkeys and are often known for their iconic helmets that blink like an emergency light. I never actually understood what that meant until a few weeks back when I learned that Pipo is actually a term in Japanese for the "wee woo" of sirens and flashing you see on an ambulance or police car. So the name is really fitting with their rad helmets (of which I have wanted one of my own for over twenty years).
No matter what you celebrate or how you celebrate it, I really hope your holidays are full of joy and warmth. I hope you all get the chance to relax and destress.
Thank you so much for checking out my content and I hope to catch you back here next time with another suggestion from my Music Box.