A LITTLE BONUS
With some moderately cool stuff.
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
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's the soundtrack from the end-of-Level-One
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
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.)
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
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.