Following the Zelda seriers is one of my (many) nerdy pastimes. Since no one wants to hear me rant about these things in real life, I thought I’d write about it in a place where I’m allowed to rant and rave about the best video game music I’ve ever heard: the Zelda series!
I just bought the new game, Skyward Sword for Wii. I didn’t just buy the game… I went out and got a new TV and a Wii just for this game. That’s how dedicated I am. I was a little skeptical at first, not really having played Wii before, and reading the reviews of the game make me uneasy that it would be cheesy and too easy. Boy, was I wrong. The graphics are sweet, the music is terrific (more about that soon), the storyline is interesting, and actually controlling Link moving throughout the game is challenging and enough fun that I may not sleep tonight.
Did you know that SS is the first Zelda game to have an entirely orchestrated score? Well, that may not be true. I read it somewhere and now I can’t find the source! The game comes with the 25th anniversary orchestrated CD with eight tracks, all of which are incredible. I’ve always been a lover of orchestral music, and for those people who aren’t, you’re seriously missing out. Even if you don’t like Zelda or play video games, but you like good music, you should check this out. The CD encompasses all the best-loved themes, from title themes to “Gerudo Valley” (love it!). One of my personal favorites from the entire series is the Zora theme, but sadly, that didn’t make the cut. It even has what I assume will be a very well-known Zelda theme by the time the next game comes out, a new piece for Skyward Sword called “Ballad of the Goddess”. The “Great Fairy’s Fountain Theme” is beautiful, it starts as a harp duet with the main theme, it doubles into the cut-time theme, then flute and oboe join in, cue the whole orchestra, complete with an angelic choir. Chills. Parts of the “Twilight Princess Symphonic Movement” sound extremely ominous and eerie, like you’re traveling through a dark forest filled with mist with no chance of ever getting out, and all the stars are blocked out by shreds of black clouds. Then, it transitions into the horse-riding theme, with some very Carmina Burana-like choir voices in the background.
The happiest track on the CD is the Kakariko Village theme mixed with a little Twilight Princess. It’s soft and light, and hopeful. If you could listen to hope, it would sound something like this. By the end of the track, it’s very grand, lots of horns, trombones, and trumpets, but ends serenely, with a soft chord. “The Wind Waker Symphonic Movement” is amazing, it encompasses all the best themes from the game. I know there are a lot of haters out there that don’t think Wind Waker fits into the Zelda series because of the animation style. I highly disagree! Just because something is different, doesn’t mean it doesn’t belong. Come on people, didn’t we all learn that in kindergarten? If you were listening to just the music and not seeing the game, you would have no doubt about it fitting. All the themes in Wind Waker are fantastic, and the symphonic movement on the CD is no different. It’s happy and quirky, just like the game. You can definitely hear the series’ well-known humor come out in the notes.
I didn’t mean to write about ALL the tracks, but now I see that mentioned most of them! It looks like there’s a orchestral tour in the works. I’m definitely going to be keeping an eye on that. Thank you Koji Kondo for many years of amazing music!