Its remastered WiiWare release this year might be garnering all the attention, but indie-game phenomenon Cave Story – a deceptively simple-looking shooter-platformer about gun-toting androids trying to rescue a civilization of rabbit-people – started life as the creation of just one person. The original game, released for PCs in 2004, was the product of five years of work by Daisuke Amaya, better known as Pixel. Working on his own, Pixel created the art, penned the script, designed the levels and programmed the game. More to the point, he also wrote 42 original, chiptune-style music tracks that range from happy to haunting, with the most immediately recognizable one being the title-screen music.
The track above is Pixel's PC original, a jaunty 8-bit-sounding piece that comes off as adventuresome and cheerful, but hints at some of the surprisingly tragic turns the game can take. It's since been remixed multiple times, with the WiiWare version alone sporting three different versions: the mellowed (and somewhat unpopular) "original" release, an updated remix, and a super-short version that's actually a snippet of a track by mixer Tumult for the Cave Story Remix Project. That last one is our favorite, as it's the only one to really capture the chiptuney excitement of the original:
Another excellent track that was arguably better in its original form was Moonsong, which plays in Cave Story's Outer Wall area. While the WiiWare version was a little spacier and (strangely enough) more 8-bit-sounding, the original's louder, more bass-heavy arrangement gives it a stronger kick while still being evocative of the Outer Wall's eerie beauty.
If you'd like to check it out firsthand (and we recommend that you do), the PC version's available for free download, as is Pixel's music. And if it leaves you hungry for more, the Wii version's remastered visuals and additional game modes still make it worth a download, even if some of the music isn't quite as good.
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