A few months ago, I discussed five of my favorite Chrono Trigger tracks on OCRemix. This time around, I’m going to explore the OCRemix tracks available for another SNES RPG: Earthbound. Never heard of OCRemix before? It’s an online community of musicians and composers that remix video game soundtracks, and most of the results are available for free to list and download.
Earthbound is one of those games that didn’t meet a lot of fanfare upon release, but slowly built up a fan base over time, until today when it has become a cult classic. It’s known for being a whacky and unconventional RPG with a storyline that eschews swords and sorcery in favor of yoyos, bats, and psychic powers. The music for the game is just as outlandish, and the remixes are something to admire.
“Twoson Hits the Road” [Boy Meets Girl]
When I first played through Earthbound (oh so many years ago), the background track for the city of Twoson was perhaps my favorite in the entire game. The soft tones and the relaxing composition never fail to bring me back to a younger time when I could run home after school and have nothing to worry about. This remix, “Twoson Hits the Road,” takes the song to the next level.
And what a fitting title, indeed. If the original track conjured up feelings of home and stability, then “Twoson Hits the Road” transfers that energy forward. You can really get a sense that this remix is taking you on a journey, moving you onwards to a destination that remains unknown, yet familiar enough that you know it’ll be worth it when you get there.
“Home Again” [Home Sweet Home]
It’s funny that I should talk about the safety of home in the Twoson song above when this song is in the list. Honestly, the original track isn’t all that impressive, and I’m convinced that most people (myself included) only like it for the nostalgia factor, but the “Home Again” remix is absolutely outstanding and captures a kind of warmth that the original never could.
When it comes to OCRemixes, vocals are something of a rarity, possibly because anyone who has vocal talent would be better off covering actual songs than remixing video game tunes that don’t have lyrics to begin with. But in this case, the singer does surprise us with his pleasant voice, and it ends up putting this remix up to another level.
“I Want to Go Home” [Enjoy Your Stay]
The RPGs in the SNES era were known for their intermittent save points. In most of them, you couldn’t save your progress unless you stood within a sparkly warp or you were on the overworld map, but Earthbound broke conventions by using phone calls to your father as a means of saving your game, and most phones in Earthbound were located in hotels. Thus, the hotel theme became one of the most recognizable songs.
The “I Want to Go Home” remix retains much of the foreign feel of the original hotel theme, while injecting something of a somber note, which really drives the point that you’re on a faraway mission and sick for home. Despite the outdated samples in the remix, the song holds up well after all these years.
“Bus!” [Get On the Bus]
Sometimes I’ll boot up a new game of Earthbound just to get to the part where Ness hops on the bus from Twoson to Threed because the original bus song is that awesome. All right, so maybe I don’t actually do that (anymore), but there’s no denying that this song rocks. This jazzy jam is enough to get my body moving anytime and if all busses played this song, I’d probably take public transportation more often.
But if the jazziness of the original wasn’t enough for you, then you ought to give “Bus!” a listen. This remix transforms the bassline into an electric guitar riff and the entire feel of the track morphs from jazz to surf-rock. Sure, the samples are a bit outdated here and they don’t hold up as well as the samples from “I Want to Go Home,” but it’s enjoyable nonetheless.
Earthbound has a lot of situations and plot points that parody the real world, and Tessie is one of those crossovers. Dozens of watchers around a snow-covered lake await the mysterious appearance of a long-necked water creature named Tessie, which resembles the Loch Ness Monster. This is the song that plays when she finally appears and though it’s low-key and subtle, it still has a majestic quality to it.
“Brainshock,” the remix of this soft and ambient tune, transforms the original by adding a downtempo layer on top. There’s a solid beat that underlines the entire remix yet the rest of the instrumentation retains the dream-like feel of spotting the mythical Tessie. To this day, “Brainshock” is one of my favorite OCRemixes ever.
Earthbound has a special place in my heart, not only for the quirky storylines and the hilarious satiric nature of the game’s design, but for the music itself. It’s a far cry from the usual RPG tunes, which tend to take themselves way too seriously (which isn’t inherently bad). But Earthbound is just so different and it really shows in the music. These remixes are just another layer on that cake, and if they aren’t enough for you, there’s always more free video game music out there.
If there’s an Earthbound remix that you think deserves a mention, let us know in the comments. And if you have a game suggestion for the next OCRemix compilation, please feel free to share!