Kirby 64 -The Crystal Shards- Original Soundtrack
Kirby 64 -The Crystal Shards- Original Soundtrack
April 26, 2000
Buy at CDJapan
Simply put, this is a very catchy soundtrack for a very catchy game. The Kirby 64 -The Crystal Shards- Original Soundtrack consists of a few remixes and a multitude of great original material. The soundtrack was composed by the main Kirby composers, Jun Ishikawa and Hirokazu Ando, who have been composing Kirby music ever since the beginning. Although some themes get repetitive while some are just straight out filler or annoying, this soundtrack has some of the catchiest melodies you may ever find. Some tunes go even further than just catchy, which is rare for an average Kirby score and definitely a positive aspect of the album.
Let’s start off by talking about some of the best original material on this album. Obviously, since it’s a pure soundtrack, it starts off with pretty basic Kirby intro and menus pieces. Although “Training” gives off some hints, the fourth track “Pop Star” is where the music really starts. The new, for lack of a better term, “overworld” theme is simply Kirby music doing what it does best. It’s pure happiness, catchiness, and will put you in a good mood no matter what (unless you hate cheery songs of course). It’s great to have such a familiar yet totally original sounding piece to start things off, and it’s definitely a highlight of this album. I’ll admit these some of these pieces get a little overly happy, but they really are appropriate for the type of game Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards is. After “Pop Star” come a couple shorter and generic themes intended purely for the sake of the game. These filler tracks like “Whoa” or “Eek!!” are mostly used for small in game cut scenes and similar causes. Because of all these filler tracks, I tend to go by the rule that, if the piece is under a minute, then it probably isn’t worth listening too.
By the time we get to the next significant track “Quiet Forest”, it starts to become clear that pan flutes and bells are star instruments in this game. Whether slow or fast, the majority of the tracks in this game use bells and flutes. I find these instruments to be appropriate no matter where they are used. In themes like “Quiet Forest” and “Ruins”, bells are heavily used to create a more moody atmosphere for these more isolated lands. Tracks like these two are solid ones and definitely worth listening too, but the slow heavy bell style gets old after listening too long. Bells are also used very appropriately in songs like “Shiver Star” (the winter level), which makes for a kind of a Kirby-ized winter holiday theme.
This album is far from just cheery Kirby music though. There are some deeper, more serious sounding tracks that start to show up as the album nears an end. Right when you started to get sick of those happy tunes, you get pieces like “Zero-Two”, “Factory Investigation”, or “Ripple Star”. There’s a reason that “Zero-Two” was the only Kirby 64 theme chosen to be in the latest Super Smash Bros. “Zero-Two” is one of the top five pieces on this album; the flowing string instrument line ties the pressuring beat together and gives a very monumental sound. It’s a powerful piece (for a Kirby game), but not out of place sounding. “Factory Investigation” is also a great highlight and probably has the most contrasting content to offer in this album. The orchestra hits from 29-50 seconds and the piano chords from 1:31-1:38 really give an amazingly eerie feel, yet in the end it still fits with the rest of the album… maybe it’s the bells in the background.
Kirby music gets recycled much too often, but it seems that it’s for the better this time around. Many of the remixed pieces are fresh and fun. Let’s take “Above the Clouds” for example. “Above the Clouds”, if you didn’t already know, is yet another remix of the original “Butter Building”. It has this jazzy and fun feel to it that really makes it a fresh song. Another quality remix is track 21, “Down the Mountain Stream”, which is a remix of the first level theme from Kirby’s Dreamland 3. It’s a wonderful remix and very fitting for the flowing river level it plays in. In the end of the album you can also hear the famous gourmet race music and this rendition is probably one of the lesser remixes, but the piece in general is good. They threw in some remixed medleys in the end for giggles, but they aren’t much more than that. They are basically just medleys of other tracks with little Kirby voices dubbed over them.
As mentioned before, this album has many fillers and a couple duds even. A couple songs like “Room Guarder” are just way too repetitive and take the quality of the album down a bit. Others like “Boss” or “Miracle Matter” are also repetitive when not actually fighting a boss, but do the job just perfectly for when actually playing the game. It seems like they should have just picked the best out-of-game songs to create a more solid album in the end. Either way, this Kirby album can still be considered one of the better Kirby albums out there.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Charles Szczygiel. Last modified on August 1, 2012.