Track(s) of the Week: Winter Melody Roundup

We cap off another year with a roundup of some of our favorite snow themes!

By Kevin Knezevic. Posted 12/28/2014 15:00 1 Comment     ShareThis

And so we’ve come to the end of another December, and with it, our final Track of the year. All this month we’ve been highlighting our favorite video game snow level themes, and while we’re happy with the selections we’ve made thus far, the simple fact is it’s impossible to cover the sheer breadth of great wintry melodies within a scant four weeks. So, for this week’s installment, we’ll be doing something a little different and offering a roundup of snow tunes that deserve a special mention in this column.

Cold Reception in Shiver City (Paper Mario)

Mario’s first papercraft adventure took him to all corners of the Mushroom Kingdom, but one of the game’s most memorable chapters revolved around the snowbound village of Shiver City. Nestled at the foot of the Shiver Mountain chain, Shiver City was the home of a friendly race of penguins and served as an important waypoint to the Crystal Palace (the location of the final Star Spirit). But while the penguins initially greeted Mario with warmth, their reception quickly turned chilly when they found him standing over the apparently lifeless body of their mayor, accusing him of murder! Of course, this incident was ultimately a silly misunderstanding (the mayor, as it turns out, was simply asleep), but it nevertheless made Shiver City one of the most fun and memorable portions of the entire game, and that playfulness is perfectly reflected in the town’s theme.

Belina’s Waterfall (Star Fox Adventures)

Rare’s stab at the Star Fox license may have divided fans when it arrived on GameCube back in 2002, but one aspect of the game that wasn’t divisive was the quality of its music. Written by David Wise (the composer behind the Donkey Kong Country trilogy), the Star Fox Adventures soundtrack featured some of the most beautiful compositions in Rare’s history, including the above theme, which could be heard deep within the game’s first dungeon, the DarkIce Mines. Under the control of General Scales, the mines became a sort of prison camp for the mammoth-like SnowHorn tribe, and the hopelessness of their situation was conveyed in the dungeon’s theme. Hidden within the bowels of the mines, however, was a lone, sparkling waterfall, and its accompanying music served as a dramatic counterpoint to the gloom of the mines proper, a moment of tranquility in a dark hour.

Snowy Valak Mountain / Night (Xenoblade Chronicles)

In terms of size, few snow levels can match the sheer, overwhelming scale of Valak Mountain, the snow-wracked mountain chain that runs along the Bionis’ right arm in Xenoblade Chronicles. By day the mountain is an inhospitable waste, gripped by frost and perpetual snows, but once the sun sets and night settles over the Bionis, it becomes a veritable winter wonderland. The various ice crystals strewn about the mountain emit a distinctive yellow glow come nightfall, which washes over the entire area and adds a degree of warmth to the cold terrain. Coupled with the hauntingly beautiful music above, which eschews the waltz-like feel of the mountain’s daytime theme (a gorgeous tune in its own right) for a mournful, piano-driven melody, and it’s easy to see why Valak is one of the most breathtaking snow levels in all of gaming.

We hope you’ve enjoyed listening to some of our favorite video game snow themes! We’ll be taking a short break for the holidays this week, during which time we’ll be re-posting our very best editorials and features from the past year. We’ll be back next week with our Best Games of 2014 awards, so until then, we hope you enjoy revisiting the finest content Nintendojo has to offer, and from all of us here at website, we hope you have a wonderful New Year!

One Response to “Track(s) of the Week: Winter Melody Roundup”

  • 819 points
    Toadlord says...

    I finally had the time to sit down and experience this week’s tracks. Man, you guys may have saved the best for last. I’ve never played Xenoblade, but I was digging that Snowy Valak Mountain track.

    Happy New Year everyone!!

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