“Colour of the Summer Sky” from Square’s Secret of Mana, released in 1993.
We first hear it in Potos Village, but it never leaves us through the rest of the game. Hiroki Kikuta‘s score to Squaresoft’s 1993 RPG, Secret of Mana is one of those scores that transcends other musical works of its generation and that really isn’t a superlative generalization – it’s just one of those scores.
When I was thinking about doing a post on Secret of Mana, I couldn’t decide which to do at first: The iconic “Angel’s Fear” (or “Fear of the Heavens,” depending on your translation) from the game’s opening? The epic “Star of Darkness ~ Grand Palace Theme?” The victorious “Calm Before the Storm?” The unifying (and super groovy) “Eternal Recurrance ~ Undine’s Cave?”
So we see how difficult this is? How does one choose? Current notion: I’ll choose one now and others later 🙂
The plot of the game is one of those complex-yet-incredibly-simple-but-still-incredibly-complex games, where on the story’s surface, a three young boys disobey the village elder and visit a waterfall where they find the Mana Sword of ages past. Upon finding the sword, a military higher up (Jema, I think) says that the sword is legendary and tells our hero to go visit the eight Mana Temples and energize it.
There’s so much more, but that’s how we start.
From spritely woodwinds (like in “What the Forest Taught Me ~ Upper Land Forest Theme“, exotic percussion (especially the gamelan-style mallets and harmonic work in “Ceremony ~ South Ruins Theme“), there really is SO much that goes beyond both gameplay and nostalgia – there’s something really happening here.
But it’s not just the music, it’s the interplay between the music and the visuals, the gameplay and the story, for all are cohesive and none are isolated in video games. Alec Holowka of Infinite Ammo talks about this, the synergy of elements in gaming and how the whole is more than the sum of its parts. He and Derek Yu made “Aquaria” for the PC and Mac… that’s up next week.
Thanks for listening! If you ever want to check out more musings on VGM, come check out my podcast, Into the Score!
Until next time,