Thursday, September 3, 2009

Resident Evil ~ Music Perversion

On a whim, I decided to pick out ten of my favorite tracks from the Resident Evil franchise. I typically hit binges during sometime of the week where I'll pick out a game series and repeatedly listen to its music until my ears begin to bleed. For this week, it's been mostly Resident Evil and another franchise I don't wish to speak on at the moment. When I'm able to, I'll analyze entire singular OSTs in their entirety (as that's something very few people do at all), but for right now I'm just content with making a gift basket of fifteen music tracks that Resident Evil fans will appreciate.

#15 ~ Resident Evil Zero ~ "Safe Haven" ~ Seiko Kobuchi ~ 1:14

The save room titles in Resident Evil games are among the most soothing there are. Usually it stems from nostalgia and prepubescent scares being relaxed away, but there were some good compositions behind some of these. Resident Evil Zero's 'Safe Haven' echoes the games own sense of disjointed separation from the series proper. Granted, it's still a Resident Evil, but the 'zap system' and progenitor virus/James Marcus backstory all knock the game slightly off-kilter. This track actually reflects that in my eyes...or ears for that matter. It's at its most prominent during the train-based save rooms that the game opens with, as I distinctly remember the sound of the train moving actually dying away as this begins to play

#14 ~ Resident Evil 5 ~""Majini's Trap I"" ~ Kota Suzuki ~ 1:57

Something about the underlying rhythm in this song actually meshes with the more action-paced tone that the RE franchise has undoubtedly picked up for itself now. For all of the hating you'll see me doing on RE5's so-called 'tension', this song is one of the few things actually communicating that tone to me, which is saying quite a lot considering how much I've adamantly made my position on RE5 stand to this day.

#13 ~ Resident Evil 4 ~""Final Battle"" ~ Misao Senbogi, Shusaku Uchiyama ~ 3:46

Resident Evil 4 I'm a bit less harsh on, since there's some trace of the series' prior standings in terms of content. This track is actually a signifier of what was left when Resident Evil went and jumped 'over the shoulder', so to speak. Just like the prior track, it has a piercing rhythm that was just right with the slight drizzle going on around Leon's final confrontation with Odmund Saddler's mutated form.

#12 ~ Resident Evil 2 ~""G-Virus II"" ~ Masami Ueda, Shun Nishigaki, Shusaku Uchiyama ~ 1:37

Minus the rhythm, the pacing of this track directly relates to that of the previous one, as it's one of tunes playing when facing William Birkin's THREE MILLION FUCKING TRANSFORMATIONS that go on over the course of the game (compliments of the ever-mutating G-Virus no doubt). If nothing else, I consider this track to communicate to the most potent extent, "absolute nostalgic annoyance".

#11 ~ Resident Evil Zero ~""Stop The Train!"" ~ Seiko Kobuchi ~ 2:21

With all the contextual variances people have when playing their games, there are some we can all relate and agree on during certain instances and I'd love to say this track is one of them. Just as the train introduction of Resident Evil Zero winds down, the player is forced to jerk around with keycards and broken machinery in order to apply the braking mechanism. A timer begins winding down as this track begins to play and more important than the timer itself, this music is what drives that sequence---more so than anything else.

#10 ~ Resident Evil 2 ~""The Front Hall"" ~ Masami Ueda, Shun Nishigaki, Shusaku Uchiyama ~ 1:49

The empty, dead, and derelict police station of Resident Evil 2 is worth absolutely nothing without this track that plays in the main hall. I don't really have anything more to say on that note.

#09 ~ Resident Evil: Code Veronica ~""Pulsating Right Arm"" ~ Artist? ~ 0:48

I loathe this track, I hate it so much in fact that it's etched itself into a state where I can only love to hate it. It's mainly due to this signalling the Bandernsatch's presence in the room with the player. For those who forget the creature I'm talking about, it's an annoying flesh colored monster with one large stretchy right arm that it uses to grab the player from nearly any distance, as long it's in the room with them. I found the asshole even more annoying due to this being in the era when Resident Evil was still using fixed camera angles. This meant that a bandersnatch could grab you (and he mostly likely WOULD mind you) while he was off screen and unable to be shot at effectively. The track goes from being mildly thematic to subtly nostalgic in how much it elicits the bandersnatch's presence.

#08 ~ Resident Evil: Outbreak ~ "Third Time's a Charm" ~ Artist? ~ 2:13

It's a little much, even for my tastes, but this is definitely my favorite track in Resident Evil Outbreak, and it's mainly due to the culmination of fighting one of the tyant models that doesn't just lumber after the player menancingly. Thantos was a large black tyrant that smashed walls and ran with the force of an elite track star. He was definitely a treat to run from and dispatch and he has his music to thank for that as well.

#07 ~ Resident Evil: Code Veronica ~ "The Suspended Doll"" ~ Artist? ~ 2:06

This was was a very tension-inducing piece and the music actually owes it's power to the thematic of how twisted Albert and Alexia were constantly being revealed as. That and there's a slight hint of their supposed child-genius antics in every step they took over the course of the game. This track actually reflects that playful albeit ominous tone.

#06 ~ Resident Evil 4 ~ "Mercenaries - Albert Wesker" ~ Misao Senbogi, Shusaku Uchiyama ~ 3:56

At this point in the Resident Evil franchise, Albert Wesker had already reached his mythical status as the behind-the-curtains manipulative antagonist of the series. Resident Evil 4 actually gives the player control over him as an extra character in its Mercenaries mini-game. This track accompanies any levels the player uses Wesker on. It's an action based tune, but it's also very hollow at the same time, which is actually kind of inviting considering how powerful the jackass is. I can specifically recall abusing his thrust maneuver to knock dozens of ganados back at once, this track reflects that imagery for me.

#05 ~ Resident Evil: Code Veronica ~ "Murderous Eyes" ~ Artist? ~ 1:13




This is one of the key moments where not only does Albert Wesker get slapped around like a bitch, but its the first appearance of Alexia's Ashford's mutated T-Veronica form (see image at the top of this post). The scene it plays in isn't accessible to the player, but the transition it makes afterwards is priceless. The player is left to deal with Alexia as Wesker flees the scene. Due to that and the music being so striking, the player might be a little flustered as what to do when they finally regain control. The track in that sense is auditory-deception, as it effectively lures the player into an instance where Alexia can easily choke them to death and set them on fire. Almost everybody who I've watched play the game for the first time fell into that exact trap and I want to attribute it to the music (as long as they don't consciously know about it beforehand).

#04 ~ Resident Evil: Code Veronica ~ "The Ending of The Beginning" ~ Artist? ~ 2:12

This plays during Alexia Ashford's first appearance; the ending cutscene which spells out a cliche cliffhanger for Claire's side of the story. This is all while a nude and just-recently released (from cryostasis) Alexia cradles her brother's corpse as her mysterious tentacles cause havoc outside. The best thing about this track's emergence was that Alexia doesn't say one word at all---she doesn't have to.

#03 ~ Resident Evil: Code Veronica ~ "The Code is Veronica" ~ Artist? ~ 1:59

In a move I've not experienced since Metal Gear Solid, the game's own box spells out the player's next move. This track plays when you're meant to enter in the last security code and basically start the final sequence of the game. Due to me adamantly not using guide when this title first came out (I prefer and first played the Dreamcast version), Code Veronica took me quite a while to beat (I think I first played it all the way through for 48 straight hours on weekend, give or take a one-hour nap). So, at the end of this title, when they seemingly hand me an arbitrary input I'm meant to type in (I wasn't paying attention to my notes at the time either), my eyes fell across the game's box, which I put in the computer as a joke to myself. When it actually granted me access and this epic theme began playing, it absolutely cemented Code Veronica as not only my favorite Resident Evil game, but the point at which I generally stopped using guides and walkthroughs for all my games, period.

#02 ~ Resident Evil: Code Veronica ~ "The Theme Alexia Ashford Type 2" ~ Artist? ~ 2:31

The only thing I didn't like about this battle was the physical setting, but at the same time it actually fit perfectly. The reason being for that is that this was playing in the background. Not only is it a pretty damn powerful melody, but the piano undercurrent meshed perfectly with what I enjoyed so much about having Alexia Ashford as an antagonist; someone who didn't even make their appearance until the second half of the game and was revealed to be a cruel, intelligent, and ruthless young woman who to this day, produced the most successful strain of the T-Virus. Las Plagas can kiss my ass in that respect.

#01 ~ Resident Evil 2 ~ "Secure Place" ~ Masami Ueda, Shun Nishigaki, Shusaku Uchiyama ~ 0:57

This is by far the most beautiful track I've heard in an Resident Evil game to date. It's the most melancholic yet relaxing tune in the entire franchise and perfectly sums up the hopeless tone that got lost between Resident Evil 2 and 4. It's the mother of all the save room themes and always kept an emotional check on me during those early puberty years where I actually spent hours sifting through the notes I had gathered in the game so far.

So yeah, I'm obviously a Code Veronica whore, but it's not like I promised anything beforehand. That and I always thought it was something quite special that despite the exemplary sound design of its more 'mature' brother Silent Hill, Resident Evil could still stand formidably against it.

~sLs~