Hello everyone, and welcome to Theme of the Week! This weekly piece aims to shine a light on the amazing musical talent in the gaming industry by picking out a single track that we particularly enjoy and sharing it with all of you!
This week’s Theme of the Week is Wild Dog from the soundtrack of Time Crisis by composer Kazuhiro Nakamura.
Time Crisis was the first video game I ever played, having been gifted it at a young age complete with a PlayStation and the G-Con 45. I can’t think of a better game that has both formed my taste in gaming as well as a reason for my love of it. Time Crisis is a frantic, tense, action movie fantasy come to life, with the player assuming the role of the silent protagonist sent in to rescue the daughter of a fictional nation’s president. Time Crisis’ selling point was putting the gun in the player’s hand as they single-handedly take on an army of stormtrooper-esque bad guys. Players need to duck in cover popping up to take shots at the on-screen enemies before time runs out, hence the name.
Something that has always stood out to me whenever I’ve gone back to this childhood classic is the soundtrack. The game is full of iconic pieces of music, each in keeping with the theme of desperation and time being short, but none stands out more than the track Wild Dog. The track is named after the game(and franchise’s) most memorable antagonist, a character who begins the game as a typical henchman, that the game sets you up to take out towards the beginning but in a surprise twist is the final villain.
The track that accompanies this final fight hammers home everything the game has built towards, your protagonist has reached his target and she is being held hostage by Wild Dog. The track kicks off immediately with a heavy beat that builds on your emotion from the entire game thus far, where you are motivated to beat Wild Dog and save the day.
The track is primarily comprised of two segments, the first segment builds your excitement as the fight progresses with the sound of gunshots and Wild Dog cackling maniacally mixing perfectly to build tension. The second segment brings the excitement to a climax before transitioning seamlessly back into the first segment again. The track never loses your interest and is perfect for a game that has been all about the player taking down the bad guys and keeping track of your credits.
The track has a fantastic sense of finality to it, not only being the main villain’s score but also the final piece of the game, that both emphasizes the danger of the situation whilst also keeping a hopeful tone that the player can win. Unfortunately, little technical information is known on the composition of the game’s soundtrack something that is a shame given how well put together it is.
All in all Wild Dog is the cherry on top of a game that has a soundtrack befitting its legacy and the track is synonymous with the franchise given its use in practically every mainline entry, which speaks to both the icon status of the character and the game that spawned him. Kazuhiro Nakamura deserves recognition for his work on creating one of the most iconic villain scores of all time and Time Crisis would not be the classic it is without him.
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