Demon’s Crest (or Flowers For Firebrand)

Oh boy, a new post!

Things have been slow ‘coz I have been rather busy (and even out-of-town) for the past week. But no time to waste; dry those tears and read on, lest ye be bored as all hell…

For the last week I have been rocking out to the soundtrack of Demon’s Crest, which was released in 1994 by Capcom for the Super Nintendo (SNES). It’s the third game in the Gargoyle’s Quest franchise, which began on Game Boy and NES with Gargoyle’s Quest 1 & 2 respectively. All of these games have fantastic soundtracks and I will follow up eventually with something about each one. They are rather challenging action-adventure games (somewhat like Zelda II) and I remember being a bit frustrated by them as a kid, although enjoying them very much. The action utilized your ability as a gargoyle to glide/float and cling to walls while navigating dark environments; environments which makes the game simultaneously endearing and romantic.

THE SUNBLOCK DOES NOTHING

The setting in these games is quite exciting and gothic. You play Firebrand, a Casper the Friendly Ghost-esque protagonist, except he’s actually cool, kinda evil and doesn’t suck like Casper (Ok, so he’s really nothing like Casper, but honestly Casper is such a dumb character). Firebrand has wings and breathes fire, which means he’s pretty popular. Of course, when you’re a demon or a gargoyle, popularity means everyone wants to kill you. Apparently Firebrand’s dimension, the Ghoul Realm, originally was invaded by some immigrant aliens looking for work and he has to rise to the challenge of ex-communicating the illegal immigrants or whosits by finding a bunch of magical crests. Actually, that was in the first couple of games…the plot for this one is better explained in an excellent and thorough review here.

We built this city on rock and ROLLYo, I is Firebrands

There are some musical gems up in this mother of invention. Particularly the main theme of the game, which I think is first heard in the track, “Beyond the Colosseum” (is that the world map track?) and later as the closing theme.

But yo, what are up with the tricked out Ihsahn-esque melodies that professionally build up the dark setting and won’t let you relax until you admit the game you’re playing was made by slick fucking visionaries? Too cool for school, my friends. Check out the tracks, “Challenge of Devils” and “Over the Demon Realm” to see what I mean about those melodies. It builds up the diminished fifths and harmonic minor melodicisms for a minute or so, bringing the player/listener ever closer to the very real, very juicy chaos of Firebrand’s quest. Mmm….delicious chaos….

Maybe you can tell from the humorous enthusiasm in this post (humor?), but the aura of the music is quite potent, and draws the listener into a rainy, dark, foggy, forest-covered land where every building is a stone castle built on top of a quarry (if it isn’t already a mausoleum). The composition and sound palettes are entirely up-to-snuff in this game, making good use of SNES audio sampling capabilities. I would make direct musical comparisons to things like My Dying Bride (remember some of the earlier “Sear Me” renditions?), the pre-industrial Mortiis albums or the last Thou Shalt Suffer album that was entirely classical music. But it is differentiated from those artists in that this music has a charming sense of humor to it, since it’s for kids and isn’t meant to be explosively nightmarish or philosophical – it’s meant to present the story and characters in adequate form. I also would draw some comparisons to the soundtrack and general presence of (Super) Castlevania IV, one of the SNES launch titles. The dark colors, damp castle and dungeon atmospheres and minimalist ambient and classical tunes are present in both games.

Bein’ a gargoyle means ya gotta go to church every Sunday.Bein’ a gargoyle means ya gotta go to church every Sunday.

I become rather dysfunctional whenever a harpsichord or clavier comes in over a good composition to great dramatic effect. To be specific, I lose touch with whatever I’m doing and start amassing healing herbs for my trek to the next town (RPG reference, ya jocks). “The Crests Are Hidden Forever” has that effect on me, so I tend to play it when I need to motivate myself to buy groceries. That song and “The Infinite Demon” are harpsichordian meisterwerkes.

Seriously, check these tracks out. This game was a little too short and not quite a classic the way some of the other similar franchises at the time were (Castlevania, Mega Man) but it has its own unique feel – and one that’s quite beautiful at that. I’m very impressed that Capcom created these dark stories and characters, not to mention the exceptional musical numbers. I’m disappointed that I don’t know the composer’s name, but kudos to them. Maybe I can play a ROM sometime and figure it out. Unless one of my dear readers wants to chime in (hint, hint)?

Other wicked cuts from this game:

Get it @ Amazon
Get it @ Half.com
____

I took those in-game shots from the excellent Video Game Museum. I hope it’s not a problem. I like to take my own game screen-caps but I don’t really have the time or resources to do it at the moment.

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~ by chaosrexmachinae on October 10, 2007.

14 Responses to “Demon’s Crest (or Flowers For Firebrand)”

  1. Simon well done there are several midis of these that can be found at vgmusic.com. however if you could be so kind to find those that are not here (I cannot find them) in either midi or mp3 and email them to me, please do so. Else you could leave another comment here directing me to them. (Levels such as the level 6 ice palace, the underground cavern in level three, or the entire track for level four.) any of these in any form (preferably midi) would be appreciated.

  2. Hi, Luke. I’m glad I could help you out and you liked the post. But I’m not such a serious technical sleuth like you imply. You can get almost any SNES soundtrack from http://www.snesmusic.org. Just download the winamp plugin and then rip your songs to mp3.

    I really don’t know about getting the MIDI versions of them. Maybe if you have a studio program that can convert audio files to MIDI format? I don’t have one and don’t know of one, so I can’t help you there.

    But that website has the whole soundtrack. I just use my blog to point out tracks I think are really representative of elements in the music that I enjoy. Hence I didn’t post the whole thing.

    Bonne chance!

  3. Infinite thanks to you, Chaos! In my prior sleuthing, I could not find what you so amazingly provided to me on a silver platter. Your efforts and results are much appreciated!
    Thank you, once again!
    Luke

  4. P.S. How do you rip these strange .spc files to mp3? (can you with a free winamp?)
    Luke

  5. Of course you can. It’s no secret of mine :)

    There’s a feature in Winamp called Nullsoft Disk Writer (it’s under the general plugins). The default plug-in in Winamp is called “Direct Sound Output” which is what you use to simply run audio files through the player.

    The Disk Writer rips anything you choose to .wav format. A prompt will just come up when you choose a track after turning the plug-in on. I like to rip individual tracks to .wav using the Disk Writer and then spruce them up and convert them to mp3 using the free audio editing/mixing software, “Audacity”.

    It’s really quite simple. I get most of my SNES soundtracks from that awesome site.

    Someone wrote a good blog post about this fairly recently somewhere. If I find it, I’ll post it in an article here.

  6. Sorry Simon. I apologise that it has been so long but want to inform you that I (semi) ripped the .spc to a .midi file. Working on a medley/arrangement of these, which is comeing along, not swimmingly but comming along nonetheless. Do reply to show you what I mean by semi

  7. Yeah, post it somewhere and I’ll be sure to check ’em out! Which tunes did you decide to rip?

  8. All of them. Three things though. One, can I post them in the reply? Secondly, in my program there are numerous places where the note appears to be a chord, but actually is a series of notes. Lastly, I have not been to this sight in so long is there a way for you to PM me your email?

  9. muchas gracias es thanks you very much en ingles…

  10. Hi,

    i have a question to you all. I tried this with winamp, but i am not a computer genie:(. Can someone of you send me all the soundtracks, which are not in the text above to my e-mail metal_master@gmx.de or something else, you cann tell me?

    Mp3 or something.

    Plz i need this godly music.

    thx

  11. Hi, I too would like someone to send me, if it’s not any trouble, the complete soundtrack of this magnificent game, please if anyone could do it i would appreciate it very much, to my e-mail, alonso09_ml@hotmail.com

  12. Excellent post for one of the most under-appreciated video games of all time. Thanks for the tunes.

  13. Hey KB, thanks for the compliments.

    I might rip this and post the complete soundtrack in MP3 when I have a chance, since it seems to be one of the more popular posts that I a lot of requests for.

  14. Quite deserving, I believe. Deserving of a name for these songs. A composer. There is one who has done the research. He is here.

    http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/genmessage.php?board=588275&topic=50121998

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