I’ve been playing a lot of Dark Souls lately, which means that I’ve been spending what little free time I can scrape up meeting various interesting people and animals in a magical, virtual world, and then watching them eat my face.
For those of you who aren’t familiar, Dark Souls is a game about getting your ass kicked. There’s a beautiful, bleakly sad story here, and an investing dark fantasy world to explore and tons of unique locations to visit and monsters to fight and blah blah whatever, but at the end of the day, it’s basically Get-Your-Ass-Kicked Simulator 2011. It’s rewarding because the game is incredibly hard, but also really fair, and every death teaches you something so that you tend to get a little further each time your battered husk pulls himself back up from the grave, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s pretty much a nonstop beatdown and everyone remembered to bring their pillowcase full of batteries except for you.
As usual, the music is one of my favorite aspects. It’s all live orchestral recordings, full of brooding choirs, lurking strings, and angry brass. It’s very sinister, foreboding, and awesome. One of my favorite tracks is below; the music that plays when you fight Gravelord Nito, who is essentually a huge skeleton man made out of hundreds of regular size skeletons. He wanted to know how many licks to the center of a Tootsie Pop, where the licks are “horrifically violent thrusts from a sword the size of an ironing board” and the Tootsie Pop was my skull. The answer we came up with was “one,” but he still did it like 800 times.
The thing is, aside from a few brief instances, the only music in the game is during boss fights; all the time you spend out in the world fighting regular enemies has no music. This was a design choice; you’re supposed to feel isolated and alone, and the lack of music only accents the clash of steel and the growls of the things trying to make your lungs into decorative serving bowls. Still, I occasionally wish there was some (incredibly tonally inappropriate) music playing in these sections. So I made some! Liven up the joint a bit, you know?