Waterworld (SNES, 1995) Video Game Music Review

Welcome to Morning Music, Kotaku’s ongoing hangout for people who love video video games and the cool-ass sounds they make. Hold onto your mutated gills and webbed ft, as a result of immediately we’re diving into the music of Waterworld for the SNES.

Have you ever heard of a “Soundtrack Delivery System”? It’s a phrase utilized by some VGM followers to explain a forgettable sport that however has unbelievable music. Waterworld (playlist / longplay) for the SNES is among the finest Soundtrack Delivery Systems I’ve ever encountered. The sport relies on Kevin Costner’s 1995 movie Waterworld, which…kinda sucked. The costliest movie as much as that time, it was a bloated, bald-faced Mad Max ripoff on water that requested the burning query: What if the rarest, most beneficial factor on the planet was dust?

As mediocre because the movie was, the video games have been worse. Back within the early ‘90s, good video games based mostly on motion pictures have been about as uncommon as middling Yuzo Koshiro soundtracks, and Waterworld wore these britches dutifully. Waterworld video games have been introduced on eight completely different techniques, and a few really got here out (pPublished by Ocean, natch). Between all of the out there variations there’s just one factor I can unabashedly suggest: the SNES model’s completely stellar soundtrack, composed by Dean Evans:

Ocean / VintaGamers Paradise (YouTube)

Kicking issues off with “Map,” we will already inform this isn’t going to be a typical SNES trumpet-fest. Evans is the grasp of easy, moody SNES chill, and he by some means manages to combine new age, Euro pop, and ‘80s-after-dark TV scores to nice impact. In “Mission Theme 1” Evans jumps in with percussion straight out of a Love Deluxe-era Sade jam, then lays on these moody synths. This could be excellent accompaniment for a late-summer night time drive by an unfamiliar metropolis.

Evans explores a full vary of moods and feelings on the OST. “Scores” sounds just like the music they’d play for Celine Dion as she accepted an award for that Titanic track, whereas “Shop” sounds prefer it belongs in a USA Network film’s love scene. Nothing unsuitable with that! But then, simply while you’re lulled right into a false sense of rest, he hits you with “Attack 1”:

Ocean / VintaGamers Paradise (YouTube)

That low growling synth hints that you just’re in for some hassle forward, belied by that ambling percussion. Then at 1:06 that screeching, bluesy guitar solo begins in (actually taking off about 2:16), with an oh-so-good breakdown at 2:42. It smacks of one thing I’d have heard on the tragically short-lived sequence The Highwayman. Good lord, it’s one of the best of late-’80s late-night TV…in 1995. In 2021.

“Attack 1” additionally epitomizes a pattern extra frequent amongst the European sport composers of the day. In distinction to most Japanese sport tracks, most European compositions took their time. Whereas Japanese composers of the 16-bit period tended to create tightly compacted and densely intricate tracks, on common looping across the 1:30 mark, European compositions extra typically took their time opening up. Waterworld tracks fluctuate broadly in size, however they’re all considerably longer than a typical Japanese composition. This actually doesn’t make them higher, however I do get pleasure from Evans’ willingness to let a monitor unfold at its personal tempo.

The final tracks of the OST introduce extra techno-ish dance beats, but retain those self same moody synth pads. “Mission Theme 2” is the right music to accompany a drive down a desert freeway at nightfall; its deftly programmed bassline, throbbing, four-on-the-floor kick, and groovy bongos function a pleasant distinction to its quietly determined synths. In “Mission Theme 3” these synths at the moment are indignant, however nonetheless backing a solidly ‘90s techno rhythm part. A pleasant contact right here is at about 2:02-2:20, the place the synth slides down in pitch unexpectedly, as if it have been working out of steam. “Final Mission Theme” rounds out Waterworld’s early ‘90s techno extravaganza, however the depth and bongo work makes it sound extra like a stripped-down model of the Miami Vice theme, which fits me simply wonderful.

Ocean / VintaGamers Paradise (YouTube)

If I needed to choose a favourite monitor (and naturally I do), it will hands-down be the superlative “Diving.” It was the primary monitor I’d heard from the Waterworld OST, and from its opening moments firmly establishes Dean Evans within the pantheon of European composer demigods, subsequent to Tim Follin, Matt Furniss, and Alberto José Gonzales. The monitor takes its time, flowing by completely different moods, motifs, and even key adjustments. And it simply feels sooo good.

And that’s the SNES Waterworld soundtrack! Doing analysis for this Morning Music, I’ve to admit I used to be slightly disenchanted to find that Kevin Costner appears to be like again considerably fondly on his experiences with the movie. In my head canon, I had pictured a defeated Costner stumbling upon Evans’ compositions years later and figuring out “Fishtar” had been price it in any case. Oh effectively, though Costner’s indefatigable ego received out over my creativeness, I nonetheless get to share this nice Soundtrack Delivery System with y’all proper now.

Speaking of sharing, drop a line beneath and let the group know what your favourite Soundtrack Delivery System is, whether or not you favored the tunes, and most significantly, inform us the way you’re doing! Until subsequent time.

Nathan Daniels is a VGM addict who lives within the mighty PNW. When he’s not pretending to write down, he’s enjoying Gang Beasts along with his youngsters and questioning the place the years went.


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