Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Favorite Video Game Music, #11: Good Friends/Bad Friends

#11: Good Friends/Bad Friends

Back at #17 I said that EarthBound offers the best endgame of any game in existence. It really does. And by "endgame" I mean from the events that set up the Very Definitely Final Dungeon, through the end of the ending. I described back at #17 EarthBound's uniquely haunting confrontation with its alien monstrosity of a Big Bad.

And man, do you get one heck of a reward when you fell him.

EarthBound features the most downright enjoyable ending I've ever seen. The ending comes down in three prongs: First, where you reassume control of Ness and can freely wander, as leisurely as you like, anywhere in the entire world, and talk to whoever you want, and most of the people you talk to have new things to say, while terrifically soothing, peaceful music plays. That by itself is ten pounds of awesome in a five pound bag.

Prong two, which you instigate by going back to your house, is the in-game cast of characters, which is set to this life-threateningly awesome music. (Prong three is your reward for enduring that bastard cameraman all through the game. We'll get to that in a bit.)

If you've played through the game you'll recognize this music as a remix of some of the Runaway Five's rock/blues music, or more aptly, the Runaway Five after taking a level in awesome. When people try to describe EarthBound and come up with the adjective EarthBoundy... this music is EarthBoundy. It's upbeat and cool and fun.

And you'll notice the odd name, but that's exactly how the in-game credits present everybody: not as friends and enemies, just good friends and bad friends. Everybody's a friend. That's an example of the strong undercurrent of sentimentality that, as much as anything, divides players into the "I LOVE EarthBound" camp and the "this is the stupidest game I ever wasted my time on" camp.

I could sum it up this way: if you've never played EarthBound, and you like this music, play it. You will probably love it.

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