Musical Monday III – the ‘Main Menu’ edition
Musical Monday returns today to help us welcome what will hopefully be a warm, sunny July. This series has found itself on an extended hiatus so far this year, with the last post being back in December 2011. Things were quite different back then: I had rather different career goals to what I do now (more on that soon), snow was falling across WordPress (I hope this makes a return in the winter), and the new Tomb Raider still had a 2012 release date. I’ll just put all that to one side for the time being, and move on to introducing my chosen game soundtracks for this week.
My first choice for this week’s edition takes us back to one of my favourite PC games of recent history, S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl. I remember the day me and my Dad went into town to buy it better than I do with most games. This is because it actually shared its release date with the European launch of the PlayStation 3 (23rd March 2007), which I admit did give me a level of minor amusement at the time. I had the scene I expected to find at the game store made up in my mind — me and my Dad with our copy of S.T.A.L.K.E.R standing in the middle of a long line of fellow customers, each cradling a shiny new PS3. This vision of mine never made the transition into reality though, because we shared the store with just one other customer. He was actually purchasing a PS3, but it still made for a very underwhelming reality compared to how I had imagined it would be. I would have happily joined this individual in purchasing a PS3 myself, but back then, with that £425 price tag it was far beyond anything we could afford.
The theme I have chosen will be easily recognisable by everyone who has allowed a copy of any of the three S.T.A.L.K.E.R games to enter their PC. The music that plays on the main menu has remained the same across the entire series in the same manner as another favourite of mine, the Uncharted series. This is something that I like game developers to do; I feel it gives you an open-arm welcome back into the series and also encourages you to cast your mind back to how it felt to play the previous games. I think this theme does a brilliant job of introducing you to the eerie atmosphere ‘The Zone’ possesses (Lab X18 and X16 especially), and to the hopeless survival situation the characters find themselves in. I always had to wait for it to finish before I moved off the main menu to play the game, which is something I also do with Uncharted and Skyrim. I’ll be quiet for a few moments now to allow you to enjoy this piece of music.
The next theme I have chosen takes us a little further back in my PC gaming history, to a game by the name of Far Cry. I first played this particular game as a demo at my Grandparent’s house. I fell in love with it almost as soon as I first set eyes upon it. Never before had I seen a game with scenery this beautiful: stunning tropical backdrops, golden beaches and a crystal clear ocean. It’s true that I have always had a fondness for the (much) smaller features in games. In this game’s case it was the ability to throw rocks to lure away enemies. In that moment of discovery, I had no doubts that this was the best idea to ever find its way into a game, and it’s entirely possible that I was guilty of giving a number of these rocks a watery new home just off the coast.
After getting Far Cry that Christmas I found it to be as good as I could have hoped based on my impressions from the demo. I fell in love with tropical settings during the course of this game, and through the course of the story many more rocks went splashing into the ocean. As far as I can remember this was the first game I have played where I found myself choosing to wait on the main menu for a few minutes to take in the music. I’m not sure what else to say about this theme other than it did a brilliant job of putting me into a mood to play the game. It made me want to hunt down and kill any enemies I crossed paths with. It left me wanting help Jack find a way out of this situation he found himself in. It made me want to send a jeep crashing through the gates of an enemy outpost. Now with the third entry in the series just a few months away, and a return to a tropical setting shown in the various trailers we have seen, there isn’t a better time for me to pay homage to one of my all-time favourite PC games.
[Video credits: Far Cry – ilikesmecookies, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. – xRussianYulia17x]