Above: Incredible Crisis Theme from Incredible Crisis
Beloved by games journalists and all five of the people who bought it when it dropped in late 2000, Incredible Crisis was an oddball series of minigames centered around a normal Japanese family stuck in the middle of a completely abnormal day. It also had an fantastic, ridiculously catchy soundtrack, provided you're not the kind of person whose ears shrivel and turn to dust at the mention of ska.
Even if you are, it's hard to ignore how perfectly the stylings of the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra complement the game's silly, occasionally rhythm-driven action. The game's main theme, for example, is a cool track on its own, but doesn't really shine until you see it the way it was meant to be seen: accompanying Incredible Crisis' insane intro sequence:
The catchy pairing of music and action continues into the game itself, starting with the unforgettable office-aerobics-turned-synchronized-dance sequence that begins salaryman father Taneo's first chapter, just before he's terrorized by a giant concrete globe and hurled out of his office building:
Sometimes, the music is a direct part of the action. My personal favorite comes during the game's second act, when mother Etsuko gets kidnapped by a gang of wolf-masked bank robbers. For some reason, they decide that a frumpy homemaker is the best possible person to disarm a bank alarm and then crack the lock on a golden piggy bank, which they force her to do at trumpetpoint.
Yeah, OK, the melody's a little tinny, based as it is on player input. But the little payoff tune at the end? Exquisite.
Interestingly, while Incredible Crisis never got the sequel its cliffhanger ending promised, the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra's work on videogames didn't stop there. While they apparently haven't provided the entire soundtrack for a game since Incredible Crisis, they were responsible for the badass Japanese theme song for Sly Cooper and The Thievius Raccoonus, titled Black Jack.
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