Today brings the second issue of The Voice Of Horror, where I talk about the importance of music and sound in a specific horror title. In this issue I’m taking a look at a game that is very near and dear to my heart: Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest.
Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest was the first real horror game I ever played, a game some of you might question whether or not this game is actually horror or not. Personally, I find this to be a fantastic game and I still consider it one of my Top 5 games that I can enjoy playing over and over (take that AVGN!).
Full of werewolves, mummies, goblins, vampires, skeletons, bats, spiders, and so on and so forth, Simon’s Quest was not so much a side-scroller with a definitive start and end point as it was an adventure/RPG that, at least in my book, qualifies as one of the first survival horror games ever released. I mean, think about it: You have to get an item to access a new area to fight a boss to access a new area, etc… all while being grounded in the horror universe.
This change in style from the first Castlevania also meant that the music had to reflect the new feel. While bearing many similarities, Simon’s Quest needed to step the music up a notch to create an epic score to match an epic game. To say that it delivered is, in my opinion, an understatement. The music is grand, epic, sweeping, thrilling and, most of all, conveys the feeling of a gothic 18th century, Eastern Europe horror adventure.
Composed by Kenichi Matsubara, the music of the game is built around gothic classic theory with influences of European folk, all blending together to create an atmospheric soundtrack that fully complimented the game, not only in visuals, but also in creating a sense of dread and immediacy to the game. Plus, it was catchy as hell!
Unfortunately, due to the limitations of the NES console, the audio outside of the music was not exactly the most stunning or astounding by today’s standards. However, because of the countless hours I put into that game, I can still belt out many of the tunes from this game on the spot, as they are that memorable.