What do Rocket Knights sound like?

So, as promised, here’s a quick look at some of the more standout tunes in Rocket Knight Adventures soundtrack. The soundtrack has a number of people credited to it, Michiru Yamane, Aki Hata, and so on, so getting one definitive composers take on the project is a little tough.

It’s interesting to note the overall arc of the soundtrack throughout the game, starting with the 1-1 and 1-2 areas that are far more light-hearted and upbeat to the more “serious” tones of the later half of the game. Chiptune style music can only generate so much of a dark feeling, but there’s a definite sense of foreboding in the later half of the game. Instead of feebly trying to explain this, let’s go with some examples here:

Stage 1-1:

This is a pretty solid “Let’s get started!” kind of track. Upbeat, energetic, and it gives you some sense of starting a big adventure. Definitely a good opening track, but not entirely memorable outside of a couple repeating sections at the beginning there.

Stage 4-?:

This is pretty much the last of what I’d consider the upbeat style music of Rocket Knight. Does this remind anyone else of what you’d typically hear in a Casino themed stage of Sonic? Probably not intended, I’m sure, and I think it’s more of that “twang” noise throughout, but yeah, Casino Zone for sure.

Stage 6-?:

Ok, see what I mean about the shift in tone? There’s still some lighthearted, airy pieces within this track, but starting off the song with a siren like noise and an overall heavier noise than the previous ones kind of indicates, ok, now we’re in for some serious shit people.

Stage 7:

Pretty much as ominous as you can get for Rocket Knight Adventures. Big tonal shift with deep bass like noise, the siren effect again, and just a lot of oppressive like tones throughout. Great final stage music in my opinion, really drives home that this is the end battle of all battles.

Overall, I’ll say that while I enjoy RKA’s music selections, it’s definitely not my favorite 2D action soundtrack. In fact, I know Aki Hata has done a lot better things, and while something like Light Crusader might be a little more obscure than RKA (and not particularly fun to play), the soundtrack is fantastic and worth youtubing for yourself.

Still, it’s always fun to check out the progression of a video game soundtrack in correlation to how the game feels from beginning to end, and in that regard Rocket Knight matches sound and gameplay quite well. It starts off easy enough, colorful, with lots of life, and ends with a tough as nails, dark, and sometimes punishing level and boss design. Good fit if nothing else.

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