Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Soundtrack September: Guilty Gear XX

Game: Guilty Gear XX: The Midnight Carnival (2002)
Platform: arcade, PlayStation 2
Composer: Ishiwatari Daisuke

Guilty Gear is in many ways a love letter to 80s glam metal packaged as a fighting game. The principle designer of the series, Ishiwatari Daisuke, has the distinction of being not only the mastermind behind its canon but also the voice of one of its main characters and the composer of its soundtrack. The latter is an exquisite catalog of instrumental hard rock tracks that, when performed on real instruments, absolutely stands on its own.

It doesn't matter that the game's plot is about bio-organic war machines and Jellyfish Pirates. From the sound of Guilty Gear's music, one might as easily reach the conclusion that it's a plot in which Joe Satriani singlehandedly defends the Earth against Hell's minions, or maybe a story where Eddie Van Halen and Steve Vai put aside their differences to join forces against James Hetfield.

Being a fighting game, the Guilty Gear XX soundtrack does each of the game's 23 characters the due diligence of providing him or her with a memorable theme song (with extra tracks thrown in for fights between specific pairs of characters).  The majority of these are tunes from the earlier Guilty Gear X soundtrack, masterfully reimagined and performed by a flash-and-blood (that was a typo but I decided it was appropriate) ensemble of virtuosic headbangers.

This music will make you act like Dwight Shrute.

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