Game: Panzer Dragoon
Composer: Yoshitaka Azuma
Above: Flight from Panzer Dragoon
It's been an interesting week for aging videogame classics. Sonic Adventure plopped onto XBLA, ICO and Shadow of the Colossus are getting HD makeovers and Radiant Silver Gun, a Japan-only, Saturn-exclusive shooter that's been a collector's holy grail for years is also getting a second chance at life. And as long as we're talking about Saturn classics, that immediately leads to Panzer Dragoon and its nearly incomperable orchestral score.
There's a lot to like about Panzer right off the top. Riding a dragon through enemy-infested skies, armed with multi-targeting missiles that scatter across the screen in a dazzling array of direction and color... all in ugly-ass 32-bit polygons. But! Even though the visuals need a pick me up, the music ties it all together, especially the very first song from level one. It's so soaring and whimsical, sounding more like a legitimate movie score than a 1995 videogame. CD-based console games were still new, so at the time this music was mind-blowing. Today it's just plain beautiful.
Above: "Empire" from the OST, a bit more videogame-y but still fits the action perfectly
Above: The lone remix from OverClocked veteran McVaffe
With ICO and Colossus coming to PS3, the next HD collection on my wishlist is Panzer one and two (plus Saga, but that's just getting greedy). The Panzer world was already captivating when it was butt ugly - imagine what it could look like with 15 years of new tech behind it, surpassing even the Xbox's Panzer Dragoon Orta. But, as graphics rise and fall, that original score will remain as effective as it was on day one.
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