Game music of the day: Blast Corps

Welcome to GamesRadar's daily blast of all things pertaining to the ever-growing field of game music. Each post will introduce new sounds, games, composers and fan-made remixes of gaming's greatest aural achievements.


April 14, 2010

Game: Blast Corps

Song: Simian Acres

Composer: Graeme Norgate


The mid-to-late 90’s were crazy times, children. Our controllers were inextricably bound by wires, people engaged in video-free “sexy chat” on Prodigy bulletin boards, and the whole world was jammin’ out on “battery” powered “Walk Mans,” that played spinning data off of physical pancakes once known throughout the universe as Compact Discs!

Above: The beginning of the end

Yes, we can confirm there was a time when discs didn’t exclusively contain Halo, and CDs were the preferred musical format for consumers, musicians, and yes, game developers. Discounting the myriad of other reasons for the purpose of this column, the CD was an ideal platform for VG music composers. Instead of being confined to a particular hardware chipset, just about any sound could be crunched inside a CD, including newly arranged orchestral scores and chart topping licensed music.

Above: Blast Corps - I'm getting to it!

Unfortunately, the Nintendo 64 didn’t get the memo. Whether it was due to proprietary greed or fear of piracy, disc-based games were just another revolution Nintendo dragged its heels on. As a result, the N64 was the last system to feature traditional, non-ironic “game music,” during a time when every other home console was cranking out punk songs and thud-bumpy techno from recognized recording artists. However, this wasn’t the sad finale in the proud history of chiptunes you might expect. The few N64 compositions that wrangled every last drop of melodic majesty from the advanced arsenal of bleeps and bloops remain some of the finest game music ever made. Nintendo itself plodded on commendably, yet it was Rare that emerged as the MIDI equivalent of Mozart.

Above: With the possible exception of this...

Apologies for the blowhard history lesson, but I could write a whole article on my love of Rare music (and these Game Music columns are primarily the domain of Brett Elston, so gimme a sec!) It’s probably got a lot to do with the astounding quality and longevity inherent in the gameplay, but the mere mention of the name GoldenEye, Diddy Kong Racing, Banjo-Kazooie, or in this case, Blast Corps, conjures a corresponding tune in my head. Today, most games feature a linear structure that doesn’t lend itself well to wildly divergent level themes, but Rare’s always did, and the tunes admirably followed suit.

Above: In Blast Corps you had to bulldoze a path for a runaway truck carrying sensitive nuclear missiles

Which (finally!) brings me to Blast Corps, a game chock full of wonderfully synthetic sounds we’d never heard before - because the instruments didn’t actually exist. They had to be replicated, and no one approximated musical tools of the trade better than Rare, specifically Graeme Norgate, and the foot-tappin’, bumpkin jam “Simian Acres” symbolizes everything I love about how varying game soundtracks could be.

Above: Peep that badass Japanese box art (and alternate title)

Whereas a large part of the Blast Corps features dramatic flare that could’ve easily found its way into GoldenEye (also Norgate,) “Simian Acres” replicates a full on hilbilly hoedown, complete with banjo pluckin’, jew harp boingin’ and fake fiddlin’ aplenty! If you’ve listened to GR's dumbass show, TalkRadar (and you really should!) you’re probably aware of the ditty, ‘cause we play it all the damned time. It’s easily confused for “Cotton Eyed Joe” by Rednex (as the lovely Veronica Belmont did in TalkRadar 92) but it isn’t… It’s actually better!

If you’d like to know more about Blast Corps, feel free to visit the Official Japanese site which somehow still exists!

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  • hunterXhunter - May 9, 2010 8:22 a.m.

    Love this song.
  • goochbiscuit - April 16, 2010 7:38 p.m.

    I loved this game back in the day. The soundtrack is also part of my vgm collection. Was very disappointed when I bought a used copy on Ebay that I could never get working.
  • goochbiscuit - April 16, 2010 7:35 p.m.

    I loved this game back in the day. I bought a used copy recently on eBay and was thoroughly disappointed and annoyed when it didn't work.
  • JeffGoldblum1 - April 16, 2010 2:40 a.m.

    I just bought this game! I can't wait to play it.
  • QWERTYCommander - April 15, 2010 8:57 p.m.

    Well, the THPS games on the N64 had CD-quality audio, but the music had to be shortened. "Superman" ended at the first bout of "feeling younger in my mind"
  • philipshaw - April 15, 2010 12:37 p.m.

    I always wondered what game that music on the talkradar podcast came from, now I know
  • BlueFlameBat - April 15, 2010 4:19 a.m.

    Best bluegrass ever. Probably not saying much.
  • GamesRadarJuniorWildlifeEditor - April 15, 2010 1:52 a.m.

    Thank you, Chris. This made my day.
  • zigs - April 15, 2010 12:16 a.m.

    Though I do have to say (and forgot to in my above comment) that Obsidian Mile is waaaay better
  • zigs - April 15, 2010 12:14 a.m.

    Brings back such great memories. Absolutely adored Blast Corps back in the day, and the music particularly was just wonderfully bizarre - but perfectly suited the game. Totally love this song :)
  • CH3BURASHKA - April 14, 2010 11:19 p.m.

    I'm right about to bust out my leather boots and straw hat and go out for some square dancin'. YEE-HAW is correct.
  • Modroneman - April 14, 2010 11 p.m.

    Was listening to this on my PC and my wife came into the room and wanted to know if I was watching a movie. Haha... She said, "Is that website playing that crap, I thought you were watching a movie."
  • Strangleme - April 14, 2010 9:19 p.m.

    Everytime I hear this on Tdar I always wondered what game it was from. Thank you Chris for clearing that up for me. I love this track. It makes me laugh so much.
  • GamesRadarChrisAntista - April 14, 2010 9:15 p.m.

    @Hurricane I'd always liked the US box art, but you're right... it is a bit too "Tonka"
  • Felixthecat - April 14, 2010 8:54 p.m.

    Ah, the nostalgia. Blast Corps is a truly awesome game.
  • Hurricrane - April 14, 2010 8:50 p.m.

    I have to say, I loved Blast Corps... but that american box art is terrible
  • profile0000 - April 14, 2010 8:42 p.m.

    Man, I had this song stuck in my head the other day and was dying to hear it. Thanks for making my day again, Chris!
  • RebornKusabi - April 14, 2010 8:40 p.m.

    I rented this when I first got my N64 and loved it. I completely agree with the general sentiment that games like this one SHOULD exist on every new platform just to show off the graphics engine of the system that it is on.

Showing 1-20 of 22 comments

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