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OverClocked Remix: The Albums
I talked about OverClocked Remix in my other article but with that site, I can never run out of enough stuff to say. With thousands of songs and some sixty albums, I could go on forever about single mixes. But nobody wants to read a thousand word essay about the merit of one song.
As I said before, OCRemix does a great job of providing not just singles but whole collections. Their albums take each track of the game and mix them along a general theme or collaboration. Artist from all over the site join together to remix entire soundtracks and the results are always rewarding. While not every album is 100% perfect, you’re guaranteed to find more than a few songs to love.
With OCRemix hosting over sixty albums, it can be a bit daunting to dig into. My advice to anyone visiting the site is to pick a game or two you enjoy and explore the songs for those specifically. Once you have your feet wet, then you can take the dive without fear. In hopes to get you to explore OCRemix, I’ve decided to focus on five albums that they’ve put out. These may not all be the best, or even my favorite, but they do a good job at showing what OCRemix is all about, and odds are you’ll recognize the games, if not the tunes.
Donkey Kong Country: Kong in Concert
Donkey Kong Country: Kong in Concert was actually the first album I ever listened to on the site. Until then, I simply listened to the single mixes. The game’s original soundtrack is one the most atmospheric out there and each level was unique in its musical realm. Kong in Concert takes advantage of that fact and the album doesn’t just go for reinterpretation of the soundtrack, but for a recreation of the mood. From takes of “Aquatic Ambiance” to “Northern Hemisphere”, each track reminds you of the feeling you had exploring DK Island.
The album had a sequel, that is just as good and might even be better quality, but nothing beats the original game’s soundtrack for pure atmosphere.
Final Fantasy VII: Voices of the Lifestream
Final Fantasy VII: Voices of the Lifestream holds a special place in my heart. The album was released around the same time I had been broken up with and helped me recover with its musical remedy. If you’ve played any Final Fantasy game, then you know that the series has some of the best music out there. While, personally, my favorite soundtrack comes from Final Fantasy VI, this entry in the series is right up there with the best, and tends to be many people’s favorite.
This album is massive, with over four discs of music. Each song is given the master’s treatment and sounds amazing. Some are tracks are more atmospheric, like “Frozen Landscape” and “Rare Square”, while others are just meant to rock your face off, like “Scenes from a Memory”. For pure quality, you can’t go wrong with Voices of the Lifestream.
Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo: Blood on the Asphalt
Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo: Blood on the Asphalt is the album that got OCRemix noticed by Capcom and brought them in to do the soundtrack for Super Street Fighter II: Turbo HD Remix. It’s a fun one and not just because I grew up playing Street Fighter II: The World Warrior as a kid. Each stage of the game is given treatment and, since each level was as memorable as the next, the entire soundtrack stands out. Tunes like “I Don’t Fight Boys” and “Sexy Trunks” are great not just because of the mixes, but because the original source tunes are still incredible.
I don’t know if you were a Street Fighter fan or if you preferred Mortal Kombat, though if you do prefer the latter, I feel bad for you. Either way, you should check this album out for great rock songs that know how to have fun.
Heroes vs. Villains
What are video games if not a hero fighting a villain? Where would Mario be without Bowser? Well, he’d probably be getting fat off cake, but we would be lesser for it. OCRemix knows this too, and they gave us Heroes vs. Villains. This album takes two songs from a game series, one for the hero and one for the villain, and remixes them in a way that compliments the other. The Mega Man II mixes best exemplify this but the whole album is a great balance between dark and light.
The most important thing about Heroes vs.Villains is that it’s a fun album. The concept is one that doesn’t take itself too seriously while still keeping high quality. They know how ridiculous it is that a character like Kirby is fighting a penguin, and the music plays as if it's in on the joke. This is an album for geek fans who like to laugh at their own hobby, but like to retain the cool factor that keeps them going.
Wild Arms: Armed and Dangerous
Wild Arms: Armed and Dangerous isn’t one of my favorite albums, but it proves how eclectic OCRemix can get. Wild Arms isn’t the biggest series, even though my uncle will disagree, but there are people who love the games. Luckily, those behind Armed and Dangerous do too. With four discs, this game is given the same loving treatment that Final Fantasy VII received. This album retains the fun and adventure of the west while also working in darker themes that would fit with Xenogears.
I don’t just mention this album to show the variety of OCRemix, but to make a point. I’ve never played the games and have no connection to the series, but I love this album. While not every song is the greatest, there are some that are amazing and the song “What’s Left” is one of the most played songs on my iTunes. So, if you’re on OverClocked Remix and you’ve tried a few albums based on games you’ve played, check out some of the other projects. You might just find a new favorite.
Mega Man X: Maverick Rising
Maverick Rising is a full throttle tribute to the Mega Man X series, from start to finish. This collection is over five discs and has more than 60 songs. There's some variety, but the overarching genre is rock, with a heavy focus on metal and pure, unadulterated guitar work. Considering that the series lasted for almost 12 years, the artist involved with this album had a lot to work with.
Like the game series, Maverick Rising is melodramatic, fast-paced and in your face. There's moments of humor, such as their Mario Kart/Mega Man mix and sad themes for Zero and Isis. If you're looking for some harder rock songs and for free, check this album out!
And so many more!
As I said, this is not a list of the best or all of my favorites. It’s just to show you how incredible OCRemix is for finding free game music. There are many albums that are just as good that deserve mention, but I don’t have the space for a rundown of each. The best thing to do is to go there yourself and look around. Then you can yell at me in the comments about the albums I left out!