Welcome to another edition of Paula’s Games Ramblings. You can find the other ramblings here if you like these random thoughts.
Of course, with the release being so close, what else can I ramble about but the new Zelda game? After watching the final trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and hearing a snippet of the music in the game, it got me thinking about the series’ music.
Video Game Soundtracks
The soundtrack in video games is a crucial aspect of the gameplay. It builds atmosphere and makes a game, and the storyline and the gameplay feel complete and welcoming to the player.
Imagine playing an adventure game where you didn’t hear any music whatsoever; the world would feel empty and void of personality. However, few video game series have a musical tradition as rich as The Legend of Zelda.
The Legend of Zelda series takes us on a journey no matter what game we’re playing in the series. However, for me, it’s not just the gameplay but the music that also holds up the personality of each game in the series. It is also thanks to Koji Kondo, the genius composer of most of the Legend of Zelda soundtracks.
Memorable Songs and Masterpieces
While music plays an integral part in most games, The Legend of Zelda series has brought us some very memorable songs and great masterpieces, and it’s an integral part of the storytelling as much as the game’s lore.
Furthermore, from the older eight or 16-bit games to the newer titles, such as Breath of the Wild, there isn’t a Zelda game that doesn’t have a fantastic soundtrack. Consider the range of songs from the first Zelda game to the most recent. They are bound to have inspired all sorts of emotions in you as they have me, especially if you have played all of the games.
The Legend of Zelda
Released in the 80s, the first game in the series, The Legend of Zelda, set the theme for the music. The game features three background themes: the overworld tune, the standard dungeon tune and the final dungeon tune. The first theme has become the series’ central theme; it is often reused in other games in the series.
Moreover, we have the music of A Link to the Past. It marks the first entry in the series with instrumentation. Rather than relying on chip beats and waves, thankfully, the SNES allowed for more music combinations. As a result, the strings and trumpets of A Link to the Past’s soundtrack helped to establish several iconic tunes that returned later in the series.
We hear repeated songs throughout each game in the Zelda series, but the orchestra arrangements of the songs are different for each game.
For instance, if you listen closely to music as it starts in the trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, you can hear the first few bars of the theme music from The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. Did you catch it?
I love how Nintendo incorporates previous games’ songs into new Zelda releases. So as you are playing the game, you hear old favourites mixed in with the new music, but the music arrangement might be slightly different, but it’s a song you recognise.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of Wild’s soundtrack is filled with recognisable songs and it’s also a soundtrack that is also known for being minimalist.
Most of the time, when travelling through the game’s large world, you’ll only be accompanied by brief piano whisps here and there. This fits the game’s theme of focusing on the wild of the world to a tee.
Of course, there are certainly times when the soundtrack picks up. For instance, when you approach Hyrule Castle and the brilliant Hyrule Castle theme begins, it sure gets the blood pumping and puts you on high alert to watch for Guardians.
Some of my favourite songs from the series are The Lost Woods, Dragon Roost Island and The Song of Storms.
The Song of Storms is taught to Link by the creepy Phonogram man, Guru-Guru, inside the Kakariko Windmill in Ocarina of Time. The Lost Woods is a jaunty tune accompanying you while you get lost in Kokiri Forest in Ocarina of Time. That song probably sticks in my mind as I spent a lot of time going around in circles in the Lost Wood as I was….lost!
Then there is the Dragon Roost Island song from Wind Waker. The pan flutes are beautiful and set the scene for the area Dragon Roost is based in. It also reappears in Breath of the Wild at Rito Village; I was grinning like a Cheshire cat as Link walked up the steps of Rito Village for the first time when I recognised it the music.
That brings me to Kass, one of my favourite characters from BOTW; hearing Kass’s accordion when coming up to a stable always makes me smile. In addition, when you find Kass at several Stables throughout the Hyrule Kingdom, he plays a version of Epona’s Song (another favourite) that harmonises with the familiar Stables theme.
I’m excited to play Tears of the Kingdom and also to hear what Nintendo has in store for us with the soundtrack. I have a feeling it is going to be epic. I could go on and on about the soundtrack of The Legend of Zelda games, as the songs I’ve mentioned are only a few of my favourites; there are so many more. What are some of your favourite songs? Feel free to comment below.