The 'Shroom:Issue 139/Palette Swap
Hi, everybody! Welcome to your super sp00py edition of Palette Swap!
We have a treat for you this month- our resident Sub-Director Superchao (talk) is joining Palette Swap with a brand-new music section called Touhou (Remix) Project, where he will be analyzing and discussing tracks and remixes from the Touhou Project OST. Do check that out, I highly recommend it! Welcome to the team, Superchao!
I don't have a ton to say for you this month. I've been working my way through Octopath and the Torna DLC for Xenoblade, switching them off as they are a LOT of grinding, and especially in Torna's case, it's a lot of boring busy work. I won't bore you with my thoughts on the DLC. There is one thing I'm excited for, though, and that's the localization of Yo-Kai Watch 3 we're getting in February. Additionally, Level 5 is making Yo-Kai Watch 4 for the Switch, and that's exactly what I wanted, so I can't complain too much!
This month, we're featuring our music sections! Hooded Pitohui (talk) has some fantastic pieces that you should check out from some popular survival horror games, and Henry Tucayo Clay (talk) is featuring some of his favorite artists in Take Cover! this time, so I won't keep you from reading! See you in this space next month!
Section of the Month
Well, this certainly makes my job easier. Yoshi876 (talk) takes another win for his What's on the Box? section featuring the cover art for Donkey Kong Classics, although his was the only section featured last month. Still, 30 votes is huge! Thank you so much to everyone who voted, and please keep it up!
What's on the Box?
Hello readers, and welcome back to What's on the Box.
Okay, so despite only playing one game, I am absolutely obsessed with the Luigi's Mansion series. Although I am a little disappointed that it looks like the 3DS port hasn't added any new Portrait Ghosts, especially since I'd been led to believe that E. Gadd's collection had been expanded. Anyhow, as much as this section looks at art, I'm actually looking at a boxart, rather than a Portrait Ghost.
So, the boxart for this game is actually a little bit disappointing, as it's the boxart from the original game, I was slightly hoping for something a little bit different, like how the boxart for Super Mario 64 DS is different from the Super Mario 64 boxart.
On the boxart, we see Luigi screaming as a wide variety of ghosts surround him. These ghosts are some Boos, a Purple Puncher, a Gold Ghost and a Blue Twirler. Boo Woods is also featured on the boxart, you can make out E. Gadd's shack, and the titular mansion is actually pretty well hidden by Luigi and the ghosts, as well as the game's title. The game's title my favourite part of this boxart as every letter is stylised as a ghost, each with their own cute set of eyes. Honestly, I'd happily be haunted by these letter ghosts.
But as I said, I'm disappointed that the game's boxart didn't receive an update. One of the reasons is because of Luigi. As nice as the reference to Kevin McAllister from the Home Alone series is, considering that film series is from the 1980s, it was dated the first time around. In 2018, it's even more dated, a new pose for Luigi really is needed. The ghosts, on the other hand, are completely fine, but I'd more of them. The Portrait Ghosts are a pretty big element in this game, so maybe it would have been nice to have the mansion more in the forefront, and in some of the windows you can make out some of the early ones like Neville and Lydia. And of course, King Boo. With Dark Moon having come out in 2013, pretty much everyone buying this game knows that he's involved with Luigi. Having him arch over the whole mansion, and over Luigi, would have been a really nice visual.
So, in conclusion, I do like this boxart a lot, but it would have benefited with an update. Hopefully, the Luigi's Mansion 3 boxart is amazing.
Ongoing Fan Projects
Five Nights at Freddy’s, Bendy and the Ink Machine, Hello Neighbor, Baldi’s Basics in Education and Learning... These titles (or, in the first case, franchise) are part of the mainstream proliferation of the survival horror genre. Games that employ jumpscares and force players to wander around while being chased by or avoiding mysterious and powerful enemies play on our basic fears to create an immersive experience. Fear is turned into fun; it’s a rather simple formula which has allowed these games to have a large impact on popular culture. Interestingly enough, these games also tend to inspire a great deal of music. It’s rather easy to search up and find music inspired by any of these games. With October being a month all about fear, I thought it would be a good time to take a look at a few of the songs inspired by survival horror games. This month will start with two new artists before moving on to some selections from artists who have been featured in this section before.
With a variety of songs inspired by Five Nights at Freddy’s and Baldi’s Basics, The Living Tombstone is an artist anyone with in an interest in survival horror games should look into. The Living Tombstone’s song that caught my attention, though, is “1000 Doors”. Inspired by Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion, this song chronicles the player’s thoughts as they make their way through the mansion of the titular young ghost girl. With the player singing the verses and Spooky herself briefly interjecting during the chorus, the song effectively establishes the main premise of the game and details the major events of the game. The player makes their way through the mansion’s one-thousand doors, facing a variety of obstacles and ultimately discovering that there is more than it seems to Spooky and her backstory. Near the end, the song becomes spoiler-heavy. While it doesn’t quite reveal everything about Spooky’s past and the mansion’s existence, it certainly tells you enough that the impact of discovering the story by playing the game is lost. It might go the other way for you though, as it did for me. I heard the song before I even knew of the existence of the game it was inspired by, and I found the ending interesting enough to make me go and immediately look up more about the game. You may want to play the game first, depending on your stance on spoilers, but I would recommend listening to “1000 Doors” and taking a look at The Living Tombstone’s other songs.
If The Living Tombstone isn’t enough for you, you can also look into DAGames, another artist with a plethora of songs inspired by indie survival horror games. Particular mention goes to “Build Our Machine”. This song, inspired by Bendy and the Ink Machine, has a cheerful feeling that contrasts sharply with its threatening lyrics. It wouldn’t sound too out of place in an old cartoon, which makes it a perfect match for the aesthetics of the game. The song was even popular enough to show up as an easter egg in the game’s second chapter. A few fan-created songs, actually, have received enough attention that they’ve appeared in the game as easter eggs. If this song isn’t for you, though, DAGames has plenty of others, including some based on Five Nights at Freddy’s and Hello Neighbor.
As a final suggestion for a song inspired by survival horror games, I’d also like to point to “Draw Me Closer” by Mandopony. It’s another Bendy and the Ink Machine song, but it takes the unique approach of being sung from the perspective of neither the protagonist nor the character doing the chasing. Rather, the song is sung from the perspective of Sammy Lawrence, a secondary character. Sammy was the musical director of the animation studio that created Bendy. By the time of the game’s events, he’s trapped inside the abandoned studio and seemingly corrupted by ink. He’s come to view Bendy as a savior figure, one who can free him from his state. The song does a great job capturing his devotion to Bendy, progressing from Sammy trying to sacrifice the protagonist Henry to giving in and giving up his life to Bendy. By choosing to focus on a secondary character with plot importance (which is a rarity in survival horror games like this), the song sets itself apart from other pieces inspired by Bendy and the Ink Machine and its competitors.
If survival horror games don’t appeal to you or you simply prefer to look for something a little more cheerful for your Halloween, I’d suggest Brentalfloss’ “Papyrus’ Song”. Brentalfloss does what he does best, adding lyrics to Bonetrousle, Papyrus’ theme from Undertale. The song is light-hearted and accompanied by a cute animation of Papyrus and his brother Sans. Papyrus’ personality is captured well by Toby Fox’s original theme and Brentalfloss’ lyrics alike. Naivete, cheerfulness, confidence, optimism, a sense of discipline, and even a hint of loneliness, among other personality traits, are expressed in the song. Much like Papyrus, this song could be analyzed and analyzed, but it’s ultimately just an innocent and fun piece. And, really, what more could someone ask for on Halloween than a song about an adorkable skeleton and his dreams?
HI, everyone! I'm your xenial writer, Tucayo, here with October's edition of Take Cover! Let's get right to the music.
Absolutely everyone has to listen to what I will leave you with this month. It's an amazing hour-and-a-half piano medley of completely random songs that were being suggested on a livestream. Massive props for this amazing effort. Enjoy.
Touhou (Remix) Project
Written by: Superchao (talk)
Rigid Paradise is the theme of Yoshika Miyako, the jiang shi guarding a graveyard. It's surprisingly Egyptian in style, sounding more like what you'd think of for a mummy rather than for a chinese undead. It's pretty much my favorite theme in Ten Desires, and considering it belongs to someone undead, it's the perfect theme to both celebrate Halloween season and kick off this section! To start with, I'll mention one of the instrumental remixes I like - Rigid Paradise by Sound Sepher. ...Yep, a couple of the remixes don't have names of their own. This one is more of a "reinstrumentation" than a full-on remix, considering it's mostly Rigid Paradise the original but played differently. It's still catchy, though, and it's impressive how the same tune sounds different when just given different instruments. What surpises me is the short fully-original part at 1:38 - after you get used to the song being the same as before, you're suddenly hit with new music for half a minute. The dBu remix of Rigid Paradise is another great example of the reinstrumentation trend - the entire song never shifts away from the main melody of Rigid Paradise, but plays it so differently that it's clearly a completely different track.
Of course, not all instrumental remixes are just reinstrumentation. Jiang Shi Dance by takumi_rimitz is one that skews close to the original, but introduces enough of its own material that I would personally say it's a step removed compared to the previous two. The same is pretty true of Rigid Paradise by k-Waves LAB, which gives a completely different tone and feel to Rigid Paradise by applying a folk aesthetic and style to the song, without actually changing the melody itself to any real extent.
It's still not as big of a leap as Dawn of the Dead by Demitori, a metal take on the theme that spins it into a completely different genre from what it was originally. Dawn of the Dead includes a couple solos that help set it apart, as well as the genre being a huge shift - whereas most of the earlier songs were more in the same type as Rigid Paradise's original, this is a full on metal song. In a similar genre reinvention style, Yoshikarnkraft 400 by Jerico's Law transforms Rigid Paradise into an electronic/techno theme, giving a much more synthesized feel to the entire song. In fact, it takes some time before it's even truly recognizable as Rigid Paradise, the main melody not kicking in until just under a minute. Even after that, it's one of the bigger departures from the original, using it as a basic to make a new song.
Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the vocal remixes - heck, I've got more of them lined up than I do instrumentals! To start with, we have 黄泉少女 by C-CLAYS, which contains the usual strength to their vocals. I'm not the best at genres so I can't place one, but all C-CLAYS songs tend to have the same style and take to their music. It's still really catchy, and one of my personal favorites among the Rigid Paradise remixes - even if with the vocals such as this, you start to diverge a lot more from the original Rigid Paradise. Rigid Lover by Amateras Record gives the interesting effect where it starts off sounding almost identical to regular Rigid Paradise in melody, before going full techno remix after hitting the minute mark and letting that inform most of the song going forward - but not all of it!
奈落の華 by TAMUSIC comes as a surprise to me, since the circle is known for doing violin solo tracks and not vocal pieces that have several instruments as a result. Of course, the violin's still a forerunner in this particular take on the theme, considering that it both opens and closes with solo violin. It's an interesting contrast in tone with Close to you -LNB6 Remix- by Hachimitsu-Lemon, which keeps the same beat and feel to it the whole way through, being one of the calmest Rigid Paradise remixes on this list. When I first listened to it, I wasn't even expecting vocals, what with taking two minutes to kick in! It's a nice, peaceful tune... the same can't be said for SUPER HOPPING VAMPIRE by Pizuya's Cell, a dramatic vocal remix, and one of the larger departures. I'll be honest, if I didn't explicitly know it was Rigid Paradise, I'd have a hard time recognizing it as a remix of the theme! It's certainly quite different, yet still enjoyable and with some surprisingly quiet vocals.
If we're talking remixes that have unique starts, I also have to recommend Veda by Liz Triangle, which spends half a minute building up to the main song. Even then, though, the chorus is more of a smooth one, carrying you along on the back of the music. Perfect for a graveyard? I don't know, maybe! Meanwhile, Vomiting, Again. by RD-Sounds goes for a full rock vocal style, giving power and weight to the words with the intensity of the music. Similarly to SUPER HOPPING VAMPIRE, this one sacrifices faithfulness to the original Rigid Paradise to allow the remix's unique style to shine through. It's a trade that I don't think always works, but here it makes a good combination.
One of the most surprising remixes, to me, is Desire by IOSYS. A straight-up parody of Lady Gaga's Bad Romance, it manages to combine a Touhou remix with a Gaga song to... actually, really good effect! Really, I wouldn't assume this was even something people would think to blend, but.. yeah, I like it. A lot. Not as much as the one I'm finishing with, though - Adieu, to this Lively Graveyard by Akatsuki Records is an infectous and catchy folk music take on Rigid Paradise. Giving a much more traditional vibe to this one, you can just picture this song playing for some kind of a dance, can't you? Despite being one of the newest Rigid Paradise remixes, this one is probably my favorite out of all of them - and it's a difficult choice. If you only listen to a single one of the jiang shi themes, I wholeheartedly and completely recommend listening to this one!
Anyhow, that's all I got - hopefully, listening to Rigid Paradise fifteen different ways has given you an appreciation for the wildly different ways that Touhou remixers turn the basic theme upside down, sideways, and backwards. And if not, then I'll just have to try again in December, won't I?