Gaming Reviews, News, Tips and More.
We may earn a commission from links on this page

Ys IX: Monstrum Nox’s Lush Metal Is Hitting Me Right In The Cloaca

Image: Nihon Falcom / Kotaku
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Welcome to Morning Music, Kotaku’s ongoing hangout for folks who love video games and the cool-ass sounds they make. Today we’re going to dive into the first dungeon from Ys IX: Monstrum Nox to see why the latest game in the series rocks so hard.

There’s a new Ys game out this week, and once again developer Nihon Falcom’s talented in-house sound team, Falcom Sound Team jdk, has done an outstanding job scoring Adol Christin’s latest adventure. Though I’m still only a handful of hours into Ys IX: Monstrum Nox (playlist / longplay / VGMdb) I already have several tracks vying for spots in my list of all-time favorites. For instance, here is how you begin a video game:

Nihon Falcom / Falcom Music Channel (YouTube)

The track is “Decision.” It’s the music that plays as the game opens, with series hero Adol Christin running through the corridors of a massive prison, trying to escape. He’s in unfamiliar territory, but the music is very familiar. The pounding drums, the dramatic synth, the wailing guitar—this is what I expect from the more energetic side of Ys music. I love the urgency it adds to the scene.

For something a little more chill, check out the “Bar ‘Dandelion’” theme. This is the music that plays when Adol and friends are hanging out at their hideout, far from the long arm of the law that pursues them. During this downtime it’s safe to pull out the playful piano and horns, maybe sprinkle in some tambourine. It’s lovely, light, and a little jazzy.

Nihon Falcom / Falcom Music Channel (YouTube)

My favorite tune so far, however, comes from the dark, dank depths of the “Cloaca Maxima.” The first dungeon in the game, its name means grand sewer, and it is indeed a grand sewer. Cloaca is also the name for the single-purpose orifice that serves as the urinary, digestive, and reproductive system opening in birds, amphibians, reptiles, and some mammals. Do not think about that while listening to the music. Just try and imagine twisting, monster-filled stone corridors and running water.

Nihon Falcom / Falcom Music Channel (YouTube)

Composer Yukihiro Jindo is responsible for many of Ys IX’s hard-driving tracks, but “Cloaca Maxima” is hands-down the best (seriously, no hands on the cloaca). It starts with a wicked guitar riff from Falcom regular Masaru Teramae. Then comes the organ, always a welcome addition. The legendary violin work of Akiko Nagano follows, her strings battling with Teramae’s for the remainder of the track. When it all comes together towards the end it’s pure perfection.

I can’t wait to see what other musical surprises await me as I continue to play through Ys IX. No really, I can’t. That’s why I’m listening to the entire soundtrack on repeat while I type this.

That’s it for today’s Morning Music! As always, feel free to jump into the comments and talk about your day, the new year, great music, or how much of a monster I am for choosing a Jindo-composed track as my favorite. I see you, Nihon Falcom music fans.