Mintjam – Million Knights Vermilion Original Soundtrack Review

It’s a real shame how the fighting game genre is falling apart these days. Never it was anymore like the good old times – young scrawny teenagers with a stick ball in hand, buttons on the other, poised to kill in virtual violence for victory. When the dust settles the fallen would be offered a hand in friendship, and they would make a solemn promise to challenge each other if their fates would ever cross paths again. No. Win, and expect to have the arcade cabinet flying at you, thrown by an enraged, burly man in a dirty tank top as if you pointed out in front everybody that his hairy nut was showing.

So people being people – they work around their problems, instead of dealing it face to face. Fighting games eventually joined the internet bandwagon, and you could now fuck each other up in cyberspace.

Did I just make a rhyme?

I’m not much of a SF fan. The game plays upon a tried and true formula of three buttons for fists and another three for feet, which in my opinion does not introduce any depth to the game as it seems from its exterior. This is the reason why I enjoy more doujin games nowadays is because they they try to break out of the mundane cycle, introduce some wacky mechanics into the mess they’ve made and then slowly tone it down, learning from mistakes. That’s the kind of game I’d want to play.

So we have Million Knights Vermillion, a fighter from NRF, scored by Mintjam. Mintjam has been known for their fantastic electric guitars, whether in backing or in front. Forgive the non-sensical terminologies I use, but you can get the gist. They’ve been featured in Highschool of the Dead and Kud Wafter as well, but they aren’t going commercial likely yet.

(Protip: MKV is largely terrible by standards. The only two things worth mentioning is its character design and the music.)

The game’s soundtrack largely features a good mixture of drums, synths, natural instruments and ambient effects saturated to emphasize the dark, gritty atmosphere of the game. There’s nothing that drones on and on, and it is absent of any ‘character song’ feel to it. Likewise it is original, does not feel flat nor uninspirational, and there’s a healthy dose of the electric guitar everywhere. It is close to being that good, even if you did not play the game (don’t).

No SoundCloud sadly, so this will have to do. Nice of them to provide samples, aside which you can listen when you have the game.

‘Bloody Nightmare’ is the theme song of MKV, and it is certainly fitting of one. Hitting full throttle with the percussion and electrics this should, and most probably the first thing you need to hear. ‘Let’s Rumble’ may do for some as well, but some may disagree with the doo-wops, which I think is a little cheeky to have in my opinion. Anyhow, still good with me.

‘Damaged Blade’ is another track, almost pure Mintjam style. Starts off strong and hard, ends off light. I like.

Those who like to hear more than just Mintjam’s specialty should hit up ‘Archenemy…?’, and ‘Crimson Butterfly’. Keeping the best for last would be ‘Mad Temptation’ and ‘Endless Sorrow’ – I never knew the inclusion of exclaims, sniggering and laughter of Yuri’s (possibly Tamara’s as well?) could turn the song around so much. Having said so these two tracks are easily the best you can find in the entire game.

The soundtrack gets a 3.5 out of 5, if it wasn’t for those meddlin’ – I mean, happy songs in the CD. Seriously Mintjam, it just felt pretty out of place.


Lifeformed – Fastfall (Dustforce Soundtrack) Review

Fastfall cover

Dustforce is an interesting game. You run, you slide, you slash, you leap and you cling, for the best times. I’ve seen a friend of mine totally engrossed in it, doing runs and trials of a level just to shave off milliseconds off their records. One mistake, and oops, you find yourself smashing your keyboard in anger for that little delay you made. As you can tell by now this is a game for the patient and ready – totally not what I’ll spend countless hours on.

Which comes to today’s review – Dustforce has a pretty solid soundtrack, beautifully interweaved with the game’s art direction, where everything is dim, washed out and serene – but unbelievably goes against its assumed pace. You’d expect ramming electric guitars, raging drums and distorted voices – but there is none to find in Fastfall. Instead, the music is slow, cool and collected, unlike the gameplay where speed is king.

 

The tracks are reminiscient of a cold, sombre jungle in the night after a heavy pour – and this is its charm. Utilizing grevious amounts of reverb, strings and manually pitched wind instruments with a touch of 8 bit effects, Terence Lee has definitely laid down his best for this 18 track CD.

All time favorites include ‘Cider Time’, ‘9-bit Expedition’, and ‘Fifty FPS Forest’, which extrues a happy cheerful stroll through the lint-filled woods – and then there’s the melancholy ones which I suppose they are found in the harder levels such as ‘Swimming While It Rains’, ‘The Magnetic Tree’, ‘Electric Relic’ and ‘Upside Down Staglamite’.

 

To those who demand variety from their composers, Fastfall might be a hard letdown. It toes the line with its ambient feel, and it does not digress. Some may find it repetitive and stale after a few, but if you listen closely each track has its own personality and identity – as long as you stay awake to listen to it.

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Fastfall gets a 4 out of 5. Check out where the music came from here.