Game music of the day: Axelay

Game: Axelay

Song: Colony

Composer: Akiropito, Adachi and Kudou

Above: Colony from Axelay

Once upon a time, 2D shooters were the ultimate show of force for videogame consoles. Every few months a new graphically intense, hardware-pushing game would land on the SNES, Genesis and TurboGrafx-16, each one attempting to use every trick in the book to lure us into the console wars. Axelay came around about a year into the SNES' existence, and hoo boy, it ticked all the boxes: amazing visuals, titanic bosses, a varied, and a varied, robust soundtrack that still stands as one of the system's best.

This song is from the second stage, where you're flying through a space colony that's orbiting your home planet. It begins with an omnious hum and Inception-like horn, then brings in a moody backbeat and haunting melody. The song continues to escalate until around  1:15 in, where it kicks up in to a big ol' fanfare. Motivating stuff for sure.

Above: Also consider the game's opening cutscene, which puts a rather personal spin on the "one ship versus a million" game. This guy lost his whole family!

Above: Mother is a totally bizarre song - the opening sounds like it's going to lead into a '40s brass number, then it goes all '90s funk on us

Above: A fantastically shredding version of the Axelay theme from OverClocked ReMix

There was no shortage of shooters in the early '90s. Gradius, R-Type, Gaiares, Raiden, Darius, Viewpoint, Blazing Lazers... the list goes on. Yet among all those, Axelay stood out as one of my all-time favorites, partly due to its music. I also loved the slight personal touch in the opening, where the pilot is looking at the picture of his lost family - finally, an actual reason for someone to go on a suicide mission against an alien fleet! Aside from that, the weapon variation and weirdo Mode-7-soaked level design made it stand out in such a crowded field. Axelay was released on the Virtual Console on November 12, 2007 (same day as Mario Galaxy, btw), so if you're at all curious, by all means follow-up. Or just watch YouTube videos, if that's your preferred method of digesting olde timey games.


Game music of the day: Chip n Dale's Rescue Rangers
Final level music by Yoshihiro Sakaguchi



Game music of the day: Jurassic Park
Gate Area/Jungle by Jonathan Dunn



Game music of the day: Jet Grind Radio
Sneakman by Hideki Naganuma


  • 8bitBaby - January 27, 2011 4:40 a.m.

    +25 awesome brett. ▲▲▲ ║║║ i JUST got this soundtrack today. XD
  • Cleanser247 - January 25, 2011 6:35 p.m.

    Great song Brett! I can't wait to hear you talk about the 3DS on TalkRadar this week! Keep up the great work :)
  • philipshaw - January 25, 2011 12:23 p.m.

    I never played this game but the music has that really cool atmospheric quality that games like Dead Space has these days
  • ChilMan - January 25, 2011 4:27 a.m.

    I remember getting this game for my birthday many years ago. It stuck in my memory because my oldest sister got it for me. It was over $70.00 before tax that long ago. I have played through this game many times since then and still have it. I think I will play it later tonight. Thanks for the flashback.
  • CoktorBloktopus - January 25, 2011 2:23 a.m.

    you never disappoint Brett love the GMOTD articles.
  • NdIGiTy - January 25, 2011 1:55 a.m.

    Love this soundtrack! 'Silence' is my personal favorite.
  • Daruniah - January 25, 2011 1:46 a.m.

    I would have not found OCRemix without this article pointing it out. Thanks Brett!
  • CH3BURASHKA - January 25, 2011 1:44 a.m.

    Ah yes, Axelay - Colony. The ending of podcast 21 or 22, I believe. It's so damn chill, and the "chorus" of trumpets or whatever is pretty epic. It reminds me a tiny bit of Donkey Kong Country, if Donkey Kong happened to be flying a space fighter. I missed ya, GMotD. "SOMEBODY SAY SOMETHING!" "I wish Spiderman was in Animal Crossing."
  • goochbiscuit - January 25, 2011 1:30 a.m.

    That OC Remix track is pretty legit.
  • Eliath - January 25, 2011 1:24 a.m.

    Hey Brett, I know GR posted a music of the day on The OneUps, but they also did an Axelay remake. It's pretty mellow; I love it. You can find it fairly easily just searching the web to listen to a sample. You should check it out if you haven't.
  • Aeshir - January 25, 2011 12:23 a.m.

    Hey, I remember hearing this on TalkRadar. I always thought it must've been from some Castlewania. Parts of it sound very Golden Sun, too.
  • Shagnasty - January 25, 2011 12:19 a.m.

    Is this the prequel to Rapelay?
  • flabslapper - January 25, 2011 12:13 a.m.

    Welcome back Brett!
  • MonocledYaoGuai - January 25, 2011 12:04 a.m.

    Awesome choice! I love Axely and it's music. Glad to see someone else remembers it!

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