It's the time of the year when the days get shorter, retailers stay open longer, big games are released and there seems to be a holiday every other week. Defunct Games wants to ring in this festive season with a look at the most memorable video game themes of all time. For five weeks straight, Cyril Lachel and Kevin Bailey will share their thoughts on themes from the last thirty years. Join us every day between November 22 and December 25 for The 34 Game Themes of Christmas!
The sequel to Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf, Jungle Strike flew its way into our heart thanks to an interesting setting and vehicles that let us blow stuff up. This 16-bit sequel trades sand for lush forests. But don't get too comfortable, because there are enemies behind every tree. The success of Jungle Strike led to Urban Strike, Soviet Strike and Nuclear Strike. This theme song may not help you forget about the never-released Future Strike, but it will give you a good reason to play air guitar.
You don't need to see the 16-bit graphics to know what era Jungle Strike comes from. With its screaming guitar sounds and aggressive drum beat, it's painfully obvious that this is a product of the early 1990s. You can almost see Motley Crue high-fiving Winger when the song busts into its guitar riff. On one hand, this Jungle Strike theme fits in perfectly with the manly, chest-pounding action movies Hollywood was making at the time. This is a song for the type of action junky who thought the Airwolf theme was too wimpy. This song reeks of hair spray and drips eyeliner all over the new carpet. It's cheesy in the right way, much like "The Tough" by Stan Bush. For better or worse, this theme is a product of its era.
Jungle Strike's theme does a great job of building tension. The deep bass and heavy synth sustains make for a powerful intro. A ballistic hi-hat roll comes a few measures in, and an additional, heavier synth creating a 'wall of sound' effect. This is soon followed by a strong riff from the lead guitar sound that carries the rest of the song. I feel like this initial build is a big part of why Jungle Strike found its way into my Genesis again and again as a kid despite that I wasn't very good at it. I absolutely love the build-up. Beyond that build-up though, it gets a little less interesting. The bass and drum patterns become very simple and that lead guitar sound takes over, just riffing over the very basic rock rhythm. While I adore the build, the endless solo following it starts to lose me pretty quickly.
This hero is on a quest to put the world's most famous vampire back together again. Why would somebody want to do that?