Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
34 Theme Songs of Christmas
Theme - Castlevania II: Simon's Quest (NES)
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on November 26, 2012   |   Episode 5 (Show Archive)  

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!
Castlevania II: Simon's Quest
[ Company: Konami | Year: 1987 | Console: NES ]
Synopsis: Simon Belmont has the worst luck. First he tracks down the world's most evil vampire and kills him. And then, instead of being celebrated as a hero, he is given a curse that requires him to go through the trouble of resurrecting Dracula. That's right, this is a game about tracking down Drac's body parts and duct taping them back together again. And if that's not bad enough, Simon will need to defeat the vampire all over again. The good news is that our hero has a pretty kick-ass theme song to go with his quest.

Believe me; I don't want to go on Simon's Quest. If I wanted townspeople to lie to me, I would just hang out at the mall for a few minutes. But put this catchy tune on and I suddenly want to collect Dracula's bone. This is 31 seconds of high energy blips that seamlessly repeat until you're ready to tear off your ears and hide them in a spooky castle. The song's first few seconds evoke an AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" vibe. Once the song settles down, we're left with an action theme that's insanely easy to whistle. Simon's Quest may be a game I never want to play again, but that's not going to stop me from enjoying every second of its theme song.

It's hard to use the limited NES sound capabilities effectively, but Castlevania II does a fantastic job of it. Despite only being 8-bit, it doesn't take much to imagine this song being performed by a real band. Each part is well-defined and easy to pick out. The lead piano riff is of course the stand out, with minimal repetition and lots of arpeggios, then switching to sustained chords with a left hand part to accent them. The rhythm section gets to have some fun too, with a varied drum beat and syncopated bass part. Probably what stands out the most to me is how the composition has managed to be both upbeat and still fit the vampire theme. It does exactly what a good theme should do: Makes you excited to play the game. It's also very catchy, but you certainly won't mind having this theme stuck in your head.

What's Next? Sega's mascot gets a new theme song ... with actual lyrics. Fanboys around the world are outraged by the all-new soundtrack.



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