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Don't you just hate it when videogame magazines do features on game music? Quite apart from the fact that it's a lame and hackneyed idea in the first place, writing about game music is like a lawyer defending his client in a murder case using the medium of mime. Given that - unlike writing about "real" music, where there are generally words and emotions and suchlike to talk about - game music is generally purely instrumental and usually exists purely as aural wallpaper, trying to convey pretty much anything about it at all in print is an offensively stupid waste of everyone's time, because game music isn't going to make you laugh or cry or smash the state or anything. The only thing worth doing with game music is (occasionally) listening to it.

So with that in mind, here's an incredibly brief feature on the music from the little-known but splendid mid-90s Playstation platformer Skull Monkeys, which chiefly exists in order for there to be a page that you can download the MP3s from.

Here's the main title theme.

Skull Monkeys has really great music. It was written by a mysterious bloke called Terry Scott Taylor, about whom little seems to be known other than that he's (a) an incredibly prolific musician in general, and (b) a Christian of some sort. He produced the soundtracks for two games - The Neverhood on the PC, and Skull Monkeys on the PS (which also takes place in the Neverhood "universe" and features some of the same characters) - but inexplicably has never been heard of in a videogame context since then.

This is the music from one of the latter sections of the first level.

As the link in the previous paragraph shows, the music from the two games was actually released only a few years ago on a double CD called "Imaginarium", but this reporter's searching has revealed that this seems to be one of the very few records ever released that has escaped the attentions both of the internet's countless P2P networks AND Amazon - in fact, it simply seems to have disappeared altogether. (Much effort eventually uncovered the first of the two discs via a couple of filesharing programs, but that's the one with the Neverhood songs and music on it, and it's Skull Monkeys that we're concerned with here.)

Here's the soundtrack from the end-of-Level-One cutscene.

Even more oddly, the game itself appears to have been largely written out of the history books too. It's the first commercially-released game ever that this correspondent has failed to locate even a basic entry for on Gamefaqs, which is bizarre considering it was produced by Dreamworks (part of the Steven Spielberg empire) and published by Electronic Arts.

It'd be a crime for something this fab to be so carelessly lost to history, so World Of Stuart is proud to bring its loyal and beloved viewers (and any Johnny-come-lately outsider scum who just lucked out on a Google search) a few tunes from the soundtrack which your reporter managed, after much faffing around, to laboriously extract from the game by the sweat of his own brow. (They're just a small fraction of the music in the game, but if you think your reporter is going through all 100+ levels of the game manually recording the music from each one, you must have confused your reporter with some kind of idiot.)

The famous song from the bonus levels can be found here.

And that's pretty much the story. It's worth a passing mention for the game itself while we're here, though. Skull Monkeys is one of the Playstation era's lost gems. It's a very straightforward old-fashioned 2D arcade platform collecting game, of the style that was ten-a-penny during the heyday of the SNES and Mega Drive but died out almost overnight when the 32-bit generation of consoles appeared and everyone went crazy for 3D, but the simple gameplay leaves the Playstation free to pack in dozens and dozens of extremely varied levels, excellent and characterful (though strangely dark) claymation graphics reminiscent of Abe's Oddysee, and lots of long and very funny cutscenes scripted and animated to a standard that Aardman would be proud of.

This tune comes from one of the extra sections in Level Two.

Skull Monkeys is a game with a near-unrivalled sense of fun, and unique aesthetic qualities, that's fortunately entertaining to play as well. However, chances are you'll still find yourself looking for quiet areas of whatever level you're in just so that you can put the pad down and enjoy the music. Obviously that's going to make the game take an inconveniently long time to finish, but now, thanks to your pals at World Of Stuart, you can play the tunes over and over on their own until you're heartily sick of them, freeing you to race through the stages in the actual game and get on with playing them all properly. Man, we're too good to you.

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