Welcome back to "Menu Music," our regular Kotaku Melodic feature where we look at (and listen to) the best and worst menu music the video game world has to offer.
Menu music is a very important thing—it's the first thing we hear when we boot up the game, and it sets the tone for the game experience to come. It gets us in the mood, if you will. I can think of many examples of fantastic menu music (many of which I'll highlight here in the weeks to come!), but one of my favorites has got to be the menu music from 2010's Pac-Man Championship Edition DX.
God, I loved this game. It was easily one of my favorite games of 2010, and I still play it regularly. It's a crazy mixture of pinpoint reflex gameplay, psychedelic colors, and rave music that tied in with the games ever-accellerating pace to create wildly enjoyable musical crescendos.
The way this game moves, the endless forward push, the friction of the bullet-time turns, the frankly orgasmic satisfaction of slamming through a huge line of purple ghosts…. there are few games like it. Yikes, I need a cigarette!
This menu music just kills me. It's so funky that I would just leave it on for a while every time I played, bobbing my head and flipping through the menus.
The game itself has some fantastic music too, as evidenced by the clip to your left.
Here, you can watch a guy bust out a damned-impressive score attack run on the first level, which also features some of my favorite music.
I actually wrote a thing way back when about how this game is like jazz, drawing a parallel to Bill Evans' liner notes from Miles Davis' seminal album Kind of Blue. In the liner notes, Evans talks about the Japanese visual art suibokuga, in which artists are required to draw single lines on thin parchment, maintaining a constant momentum in order to keep their brushes from punching through.
And yes, Pac-Man CEDX does feel like Evans' description of suibokuga, and in that way, it feels like jazz.
But it also feels like, well, doing it. So, think of its awesome menu music as foreplay. If this tune doesn't get you in the mood for some hard cornering and serious ghost-munching, I don't know what will.