Welcome to Morning Music, Kotaku’s daily hangout for folks who love video games and the cool-ass sounds they make. Today we’re revisiting 2011’s Shadows of the Damned, which has one particular track that flies in the face of its goth, heavy metal aesthetics.
Grasshopper Manufacture’s Shadows of the Damned (playlist / longplay / VGMdb) is about what you’d expect from a game written by Goichi “Suda51” Suda: a stylish if uneven shooter with a lot of unique (if unrealized) set pieces. Oh, and it’s accompanied by the fantastic work of legendary Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka.
Have a taste:
Grasshopper Manufacture / PlayJammerUK (YouTube)
The soundtrack supplies a heavy, punk-inspired atmosphere to protagonist Garcia Hotspur’s descent into Hell, even ending with an ominous theme by iconic British rock band The Damned. But my favorite track in the game strays from these themes rather drastically, providing a bit of New Age hippy nonsense to the gothic adventure.
In a handful of levels, Garcia must traverse areas of Hell covered in thick, black nothingness. Fortunately, these areas always include a Sushi Lamp, angler fish-looking creatures that act as moving safe zones through the darkness. During these sections, Shadows of the Damned uses a great little song that can’t be found on any of the official soundtracks. With its bongos, mouth harp, and indecipherable spoken word lyrics, the Sushi Lamp theme is unlike anything found in the rest of the game’s music.
Grasshopper Manufacture / xPeter’s Archive (YouTube)
It’s a far cry from The Damned but somehow also right at home in a Grasshopper Manufacture game, providing a moment of levity that doesn’t rely on dick jokes and over-the-top violence.
Despite a troubled development marked by a significant shift away from Suda and producer Shinji Mikami’s original vision, Shadows of the Damned is probably one of my favorite games of all time. I haven’t played it in awhile, but when I think back, I can’t help but remember the Sushi Lamp song and how it sticks out from the rest of the game. Yamaoka is pretty good at this music stuff, huh?
He’s also apparently good at signing things. As a way to thank his fans outside of Japan, Yamaoka signed every copy of the Shadows of the Damned soundtrack sold internationally.
Anyone have one? I’m in the market!
That’s it for today’s Morning Music! Do you have any favorite video game tracks that deviate from the rest of their soundtrack? Feel free to sound off in the comments, and head back this way tomorrow for more music!