Most of the games we focus on here at Music Mondays happen to be pretty good. Whether they’re popular classics, cult secrets, or modern masterpieces, the games themselves are usually just as good as their tunes. But this week is different.
This week we’re talking about Power Quest.
Developed by Japan System Supply and published in North America by Sunsoft, Power Quest was a 2D fighting game for Game Boy Color. Back in the day I somehow ended up with a copy, despite not knowing the first thing about the genre. Crippling poverty meant that I ended playing a lot of the thing, even though I knew it was terrible. This title may have single-handedly taught me that all video games weren’t amazing. To a ten year-old who had only played Sonic, Mario, and Pokemon, this was quite a shock.
But we’re not here to talk about why Gekitō Power Modeler was an archaic, broken product. I’m here to salvage the one good thing from the GBC cart: the soundtrack. Just listen to “End of War” up there. It sounds like a mix between John Carpenter’s “Halloween Theme” and the most inspiring fight song to never escape the 16-bit era. Classic tunes like that are all over the place in this otherwise irredeemable mess.
The best cuts are undoubtedly the character themes though. For example, “Drive Out” represents the character Axe, a personal favorite of mine. The purple guy had an elongated head like a xenomorph, but always reminded me much more of the titular alien from the short claymation feature “Prometheus and Bob.” Of course, it’s possible that KaBlam! was all just a protracted fever dream. The 90′s were a strange time.
Axe’s theme showcases the upbeat attitude and pulsing energy that the game so desperately needed. Between the confusing RPG elements, sluggish battles, and pointless story, Power Quest was completely mired down by its own slow pace. The best of the OST displays what could have been: a cheerfully, fast-paced fighter with some silly characters. Instead, I throw-spammed my way through half of my childhood, using the other half to listen to my Game Boy Color speakers like a boombox.
A lot of my appreciation for these songs are pure nostalgia. I doubt that many modern gamers will find as much enjoyment in them as I still do, but if even a single other person out there suffered through Power Quest just to hear “Speed’s Theme” and can vouch for me then it will all be worth it. After 14 years I think it’s time for some closure.
Music Mondays is a weekly column by Austin Yorski and Robert Heck dedicated to discussing the most interesting audio experiences in electronic interactive media. Tune in every week for more original game soundtracks that you need to hear. Feel free to disagree with, add to, or question everything. I welcome your feedback.