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  1. This weeks #TuneTuesday post has us look at one of the calmer cues from one of the most horrifying games to have been made. The cue is Ending: Alexander, from Amnesia: The Dark Descent, composed by Mikko Tarmia. You play as Daniel, a young man from London who has awoken in the dark and empty halls of the Prussian Brennenburg Castle with little to no memory about himself or his past. All he can remember is his name, that he lives in Mayfair and that a 'Shadow' is hunting him. It does not take him long to find a letter from his past self, telling him that he has deliberately erased his own memory. But before doing this, he instructed his future self (ie, you) to kill Alexander, the castle's baron (it's set in 1839). Why he didn't kill Alexander before wiping his memory is beyond me... Gaping plot flaw aside, it is considered to be one of the greatest horror games to have spawned from the mouths of hell, and I am in that mindset. The Dark Descent takes many influences from Lovecraftian horror, using the famous quote “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” to it's fullest. I discussed in a previous #TuneTuesday thread (almost a year ago) about the impeccable sound design and score, both of which scares you more than the monsters themselves. You cannot fight the monsters, so your only option is to hide. They are sensitive to the light from your lamp, so you have to hide in the dark. Problem is, Daniel is scared of the dark and can start making whimpering noises, should his Sanity drop too much. You can't really look at them drains your Sanity Meter, which is not good for Daniel. In short, you're fucked. Should you survive to the very end, you meet Alexander in the Inner Sanctum, who has nearly completed his ritual. Should you let him finish it and not kill him, you are killed by the Shadow because [INSERT PLOT DEVICE HERE], which gains you the bad ending, and this piano piece in G minor plays. To me, it serves to purposes. To show the player you gone and fucked up (as if being torn apart by a strawberry monster wasn’t frightening enough!) as this is essentially a piano requiem, a song for the dead. To make the player feel for Alexander’s plight. There are no real heroes in this game, but some players would feel terribly sorry for Alexander’s circumstance. Should you unlock this ending, he gets what he wants, but the price is very dear (ie, your life) and despite all that transpires between Daniel and Alexander, I get the impression that he did care for you and did try to help you, but not as much as he was helping himself. Now I could be looking into this far too much, as Alexander could very well just be using Daniel the whole time so that he could [INSERT PLOT DEVICE HERE], but that is the interesting effect the cue has had on me. Music can warp and distort the listener’s perception on the media present, making you reconsider everything you have learnt about the universe unfolding in front of the eyes of the audience, and this cue has made me feel sorry for one of the most manipulative and sinister characters, Alexander von Brennenburg, Baron of Castle Brenneburg
  2. Deception has been a common theme throughout the last couple of months. Government bodies being aware of the COVID-19 virus and not telling their body about it, certain country leaders dismissing it as something that is worse the common cold but less than the flu, whilst others dismiss the idea that the Coronavirus even exists. So, I thought I’d explore a game cue for this weeks #TuneTuesday tune that sets up the player’s expectations to be one thing, but in reality, presents them with something completely different altogether. The cue (or at the least the only name for it I could find anyway) is ‘Intro’ from Fatal Frame (or Project Zero, depending on who you ask, which was also marketed with lies in the west, claiming that it was based on a true story), composed by Ayako Toyoda and/or Shigekiyo Okuda. The premise for the game is rather simple. You play as Miku and Mafuyu Hinasaki (but mostly Miku). Mafuyu has heard that a famous novelist has disappeared in the haunted Himuro Mansion, and so makes the “sensible” decision to go looking for him, which takes place as the game’s tutorial, with an old black and white film filter, to create the impression that what you playing in is the past. Surprise, surprise, he then goes missing, and his sister Miku goes to find him, with colour returning to the player. It may come to little to surprise to you that Fatal Frame is a survival horror game where the game’s enemies are a seemingly neverending platoon of ghosts, that takes a lot of influence from the likes of the old school (or ‘rather new’ at the time) Resident Evil and Silent Hill games, especially the latter. The main catch that makes it more frightening in many ways than both games is the combat. You have to stare at your opponent for a long time using the Camera Obscura, a magical camera that can take pictures of ghosts. It is a terrifying premise actually, one that forces you to literally face your fears, rather than shoot blindly or run and hide. The accompanying score draws a lot of inspiration from Silent Hill, in that there is actually very little music. Just a lot of chaotic noise and creepy whispers, child giggling and a female ghost who can’t find her eyes. But the game’s main theme doesn’t present that sort of image to listeners. It sounds more like a JRPG/action-adventure game, which sounds an unusual choice to go with for a survival horror game. There is also a sense of the serious Japnese classical tone to it, especially in its introduction, that ties nicely with some of the game’s setting that I shan’t spoil to you. E minor (and the D minor it flirts with) is a good key for establishing this royal sound (to me at least. You can make any key sound/portray any emotion with the right level of thought). So why did the composer(s) do this? I’d like to propose the idea that this was done to deliberately screw with the player. A lot of Japanese games feature female protagonists, a usually high school looking/age girls that are overly powered and can do anything with the power of friendship. Then you play the game and realise that both characters are pretty powerless without the aid of their inherited camera. This musical contradiction adds to the initial fright/shock factor that the game is aiming for as you take selfies with ghosts.
  3. As I was knee-deep in a particularly large composing gig last week (and still am, sort of), I was unable to talk about a piece of video game music that I like, which is a huge shame (for me and hopefully for you too). This week, I shall try and make up for that and talk about a cue that has two different versions within the same game, one acting as its main theme, and a shorter, instrumental version that plays during the game’s climax. This weeks #TuneTuesday is ‘Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There’, from Persona 5. It was composed by Shoji Meguro and sung by Lyn. I've discussed the Persona games in great detail before, so I will just give a brief overview. Take your favourite shonen, slice-of-life anime, slap it with Pokemon with an existential crisis, and you've got yourself every Persona game. The plot of Persona 3 revolves around a group of Japanese high school kids (surprise-surprise) who hit the books by day and hit the Shadows (daemons essentially) with their powers of Persona summoning by night. These are manifestations of one's inner self, which are essentially more mature 'Pokemon' based on real-life mythic deities. Persona 5 is the latest main entry to the series, with the enhanced version, ‘Persona 5: Royal’ expected to release later this year. Like so many, Persona 5 was my introduction to the franchise and was rather hesitant playing a game where I would have to micromanage animu friends and save the world from corrupt adults. 80hrs later, turns out that shit is loads of fun! I knew I was going to enjoy this game the very moment the opening titles rolled with all that pop art inspired artwork and the first thing you hear is the main theme, titled ‘Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There’. This track, as well as most of its soundtrack, is effectively Acid Jazz. Given that this may well be the most accessible Persona game to date, this musical direction is incredibly bold and brave, as Acid Jazz is not always the easiest form of Jazz to easy to listen to. A form of Jazz that is easier to listen to is Swing, An example of a game that is Swing-based is ‘Cuphead’, (composed by Kristofer Maddigan) which got a great deal of praise and yet. Anyway, back to Persona 5! To further my point about it being an Acid Jazz soundtrack and as to why it was a brave stylistic choice, I shall dump some music theory on you to soak up. The opening track, ‘Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There’ has a clear G Dorian sound (The use of the C chord gives this away as opposed to C minor). The intro then immediately going to G major for the verse (who does that?!). I believe the chord progression here is GM7, Gm7, GM13(?) and GmM7. This repeats before the brilliant use of a D half-diminished chord on the words ‘it’s useless’ which is fantastic word-painting I think. It’s not quite the four-chord progression that we all loathe and love of modern pop songs is it? The point I am attempting to make here is that these folks at ATLUS their in-house composer, Shoji Meguro and the rest of his team, had a very clear vision of the world and sound they wanted. You do not compose an Acid Jazz soundtrack by happenstance, or for the shits and giggles. For a track as polished and deliberate as this, I knew the game was going to be great as they clearly cared for the music, so they must care for the game just as deeply and therefore, would be a fantastic overall project.
  4. This weeks #TuneTuesday just so happens to be one of my favourite boss fight cues, in addition to being one of my favourite bosses in gaming. It is Ludwig, The Holy Blade from Bloodborne, composed by Nobuyoshi Suzuki. Bloodborne is developed by FromSoftware, who are the same people who bought you The Dark Souls Trilogy, so you know that this game is tough as hell and has next to no plot with all the lore told through item descriptions, the environment and the occasional NPC who speaks in riddle. The plot for Bloodborne is incredibly simple on the surface. You are a hunter who must hunt the beasts that are slowly taking over the people of Yharnam, the city/land in which the game is set. As the story marches on, dragging you through the mud and blood (which there is a lot of) you will find that there is a lot more going on than people being turned into monsters for you to be killed. Without too many spoilers, the world in which Bloodborne is incredibly Lovecraftian (the term being derived from everyone’s favourite racist author, H.P. Lovecraft) as you find many of these beastly monsters and creatures to have Cthulhu-esque designs, each with a strange connection to things that live in the stars that may well have been the study of many a scholar within the Bloodborne world. That is where today’s cue comes in. Ludwig, a character who is mentioned every-so-often in the main game by NPCs and item descriptions, is a boss in the one DLC, The Old Hunters. He’s actually the first boss and one of the most unforgiving bosses in the whole game. He is also one of the most enjoyable (for me anyway) in the whole game. As you can tell by the thumbnail of the video and the header, Ludwig has become a beast, one that is best described as a monster/zombie horse lined with teeth and eyes. Like his visage, his theme is incredibly discordant, almost as if the entire orchestra is dying a slow and bloody painful death, led by a solo cello and almost screaming choir. I would usually hate something like this, but to analyse the harmonies and the deceptive rhythm (it makes the casual listener think it is in ¾ when it really is in 4/4) is just fascinating to analyse Bloodborne was the first FromSoftware game the introduced bosses with multiple phases, meaning that once its health has dropped to a certain amount, the boss will unleash a new set of attacks. In the case of Ludwig, his second phase is separated by a cutscene filled with lore, which allows him to transform into a more majestic, and laughably easier, knight form (in the video, this is about the 2min mark). The cue still playing, transitioning into a more sinisterly noble theme, with the brass more prominent, far more frantic with more syncopation, now in the key of E minor, a tone higher (previously D minor) than before. It acts as a final send-off for the character, who is rather significant in Bloodborne’s lore, a brave hunter fallen from grace. Even if you don’t bother reading any of the lore in the game, or ignore all of the NPCs, it would be hard for you not to feel some remorse slaying this mutated stallion, as he is one of the few bosses that talks to you during a fight, and the only one afterwards, where he has realised the monster that he has become and begs for you put him down. As much as I enjoy the narrative and lore of Bloodborne, I am a huge fan of its incredible soundtrack, consisting of 6 fantastic composers, each one adding something amazing to this game. This cue is no exception, as we have intense gothic horror one moment before doing a complete 180 for an almost heroic brass theme, whilst retaining that distinct Bloodborne take on Lovecraftian horror.
  5. To conclude this years #Spooktober's Edition of #TuneTuesday, I will talk about the panic-inducing Taurus Demon cue from Dark Souls, composed by Motoi Sakuraba. I'm fairly certain everyone at this point is familiar with how difficult the Soulsborne series is, which would soon create the 'git gud' mentality from many players, but you may not be aware of the story, which I will briefly go over for you, for context sake. You are undead, and you must go and link this great fire. That's it. Everything else remotely narrative is built upon various bits of lore that you can choose to read on items and weapons you find, and the occasional NPC who talks at you. But one does not play the From Software games for stories, they play them because they are masochists who like smacking their head against a brick wall 100s of times to defeat the franchise's gruelling boss fights. It is also during said fights you will hear music, as the games are pretty mute otherwise (with a couple of areas having some music, and Sekiro having music practically everywhere). First time players would have struggled with the game's first proper area, Undead Burg, as they learn that anything can easily kill you, enemies often ambush you and not to take on the Black Knight, lest you get completely destroyed. You finally ascend the inner works of a castle, pass through a fog gate, and wander around the very narrow Crenellations, which can be easy to fall off of, should you not pay attention to the environment. The next thing you know, a large, sheep/bull demon with a huge axe leaps off of the opposite tower and begins to charge at you. This is where today's cue enters. What I think many fans of Dark Souls and video game soundtracks overlook is the size of its orchestra. Most games that have symphonic sounding soundtracks have full-phat orchestras with lush reverbs and may have screaming full-phat choirs. I don't need to go into more details about that I'm sure. Dark Souls has a much smaller ensemble, most likely a chamber orchestra, recorded in a much smaller recording space. The choir seems to be much smaller as well. Because it sounds smaller, does not mean it has any less punch. In fact, I would say that it was more because of this orchestration/compositional decision, which adds to the fear of whatever hideous boss monster, demon or dragon is tearing your arms and pancreas apart, the vast majority of these cues being atonal messes. If the orchestra was the more typical 80-100 piece a lot of the unique energy the cues had would be lost. There are very few soundtracks to that of the original Dark Souls, where the soundtrack is just boss cues. Some of them are rather moving and emotional, whilst others, like Tauras Demon, induce PTSD-esque flashbacks. And of course, there are very few games as frighteningly frustrating as Dark Souls.
  6. Carrying on with the paints-shitting terrifying music, this weeks Spooktober #TuneTuesday is Peak Level from 'Chaos;Child', composed by Takeshi Abo. I did cover this game in a recent(ish) #TuneTuesday thread, but to give a brief summary, Chaos;Child is the fourth main entry in the Science Adventure series (the same series the famous 'Steins;Gate' comes from) and a thematic sequel to Chaos;Head. As such, the plot is incredibly involved and rather confusing at times. In it, you take the role of Takuru Miyashiro, the president of his school's newspaper club, who investigates the "Return of The New Generation Madness" serial murder case that has been taking place in Shibuya. During the course of the game, he experiences delusions where the player gets the option to choose if Takuru should experience a positive or negative delusion or neither. These choices affect the plot's direction, causing it to branch off from the main narrative into different routes. That is, once you've played the game through for the first time, as you only have access to the common route (the canon route if you would). Chaos;Child is a murder mystery thriller, so death is commonplace within the narrative. Various members of the cast are thrown into mortal danger constantly. This is when today's cue enters. When 'Peak Level' is heard in the game, it is usually in direct conjunction with murders related to the Return of The New Generation Madness. In other words, it is played when someone is being murdered, usually horrifically and slowly. Chaos;Child doesn't fuck about either, as it does not shy away from any of the horrific imagery of someone chopping up their own arm and eating their own fingers, to use the very first thing you see in the game. And being a visual novel, the sound design and descriptions is just so much more immersive than your typical game, for a lot of the work is done by you. These are genuinely terrifying moments to sit through. In the early sections of the game, it is other people who are killed when this cue plays, but when the cue plays when you and/or your school buddies are around, that is when the fear goes from 0-to-10 really fucking fast as you are forced to watch your near defenceless protagonist and friends flee from whatever is attempting to tear them apart (literally in one case!). On its own, without any context, 'Peak Level' sounds like a broken Trance/Dubstep with some weird tribal vocals going on. But when 'Peak Level' is played in-game, it makes Chaos;Child one of the most frightening narratives to experience. There are 2 instances where this cue is it's most frightening, which is the end of Chapter 6 and 8. I won't tell you why so you'll have to experience Chaos;Child to find out.
  7. Week 3 of the #Spooktober takeover of #TuneTuesday has us look at a more intense #horror game cue, one that I think is terrifying, both in and out of its associated game. The cue is 'Suitor Attacks' from Justine, the DLC from Amnesia: The Dark Descent, composed by Mikko Tarmia. You play as Daniel, a young man from London who has awoken in the dark and empty halls of the Prussian Brennenburg Castle with little to no memory about himself or his past. All he can remember is his name, that he lives in Mayfair and that a 'Shadow' is hunting him. It does not take him long to find a letter from his past self, telling him that he has deliberately erased his own memory. But before doing this, he instructed his future self (ie, you) to kill Alexander, the castle's baron (it's set in 1839). Why he didn't kill Alexander before wiping his memory is beyond me... Gaping plot flaw aside, it is considered to be one of the greatest horror games to have spawned from the mouths of hell, and I am in that mindset. The Dark Descent takes many influences from Lovecraftian horror, using the famous quote “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” to it's fullest. I discussed in a previous #TuneTuesday thread (almost a year ago) about the impeccable sound design and score, both of which scares you more than the monsters themselves. You cannot fight the monsters, so your only option is to hide. They are sensitive to the light from your lamp, so you have to hide in the dark. Problem is, Daniel is scared of the dark and can start making whimpering noises, should his Sanity drop too much. You can't really look at them drains your Sanity Meter, which is not good for Daniel. In short, you're fucked. As for today's cue, this is found in the game's only DLC, Justine. Here, the player takes control of an unnamed female character, who awakens with amnesia in a dungeon cell, accompanied a phonograph. It contains a recording by a woman named Justine, who tells you that she is the subject of a psychological test. The player character is then allowed to escape, or die trying. In some ways, it is more frightening than the base game, for reasons I will avoid for spoiler reasons. In addition to the new monsters that you can't look at, there is also permadeath, so if you die in the game, you have to start all over again! Where it excels is its ability as a laxative. You will die a lot in this DLC, especially at the DLC's penultimate puzzle, which involves you moving about in a pool of water, so your movements are slower, whilst you are being chased by one of these Suitors, who is much faster and aggressive than the ones before it. Accompanying this is this uniquely aggressive cue, which is horrible in every sense of the word. I won't begin to attempt to pull it apart in a music theory sense, because (as I'm sure you can hear) is an atonal mess of screeching strings, harrowing synth pads and thumping percussion. As I said on November 2018, I do believe everyone should experience this game, whether you have the stomach to actually play it, or watch someone else through a let's play. One could argue it is because of PewDiePie's Lets Play that Lets Plays are a thing at all. It certainly made PewDiePie an internet sensation which, in turn, made gaming more mainstream, rather than just an expensive waste of time to the general public.
  8. This weeks #TuneTuesday is a guilty pleasure of mine within gaming music. It's Pepsi Man, composed by James Shimoji, performed by his band 'James & The Gang'. This will require some explaining, as I'm sure many of you have no idea what's going on. Having survived the great Game Crash during the mid-late 80s (yes, this was a thing), video game popularity skyrocketed, thanks to a little Japanese company known as Nintendo. Up until then, they made playing cards. They would change the world of gaming. This of course inspired all sorts of people in the 90s who played Nintendo's games during the 80s. Many non-game companies saw the opportunity to promote their goods to children through video games such as horrible Yo!Noid (Dominos Pizza) Cool Spot (Sprite) and of course, Pepsi Man, who was only ever marketed in Japan, as was the game...despite being in English. It didn't sell well. The game itself is really weird. It is in the style of Temple Run, where Pepsi Man must run to people who need help, not to be rescued from a burning building or a plane crash (which are actual scenarios), but to give them a drink of teeth-rotting Pepsi. If you can get past the over the top advertising, strange logic and Mike Butters watching you (it makes sense (almost) in the game), it is not a terrible game by any means. It's not great, but not terrible. What I especially like about the song is how all the instruments are live. This game came out in 1999 on the PS1 and many at the soundtracks relied heavily on MIDI. Not our Lord and Saviour Pepsi Man! He gets his own band! Maybe someday when I put together my own game music concert/show, I'll include Pepsi Man. I mean, how many surf-rock game cues can you think of? It will certainly spice things up a bit...
  9. To carry on this musical #Spooktober, this weeks #TuneTuesday is the creepy cue 'Who's There?' from Persona 4, composed by Shoji Meguro. Persona 4, like the Persona games before and after it revolves around a group of Japanese high school kids who are granted magical powers by a man with large nose to defeat this impending evil that lurks in the shadows. These powers allow them to summon a Persona (the protagonist can summon multiple), which is a manifestation of their inner-self. It is essentially Pokemon with an existential crisis. There are two things that have made Persona 4 particularly famous: 1) How hard ATLUS has milked the franchise with a variety of spin-offs, including an extended version (Persona 4: GOLDEN) 2 fighting games, surprisingly good dancing game. In addition, there are also 2 animes and manga. 2) How happy-clappy much of the game is. If you are a fan of slice-of-life anime where everyone and everything is fine and enjoy the schoolfriends having fun and solving problems in their life, you will enjoy Persona 4, without a shadow of a doubt. You'll probably enjoy GOLDEN more because there are more in-game events where the characters have even more fun with each other. Such as them going to the beach, bringing it all the more closer to its slice-of-life anime counterpart. Now what I have avoided is the plot, because it is actually incredibly dark, the severity I feel is overlooked from time-to-time with fans within the Persona community. The plot revolves around a strange case of murders, where people are being wound up dead, strung up by TV aerials, the first two being young women, one of them a teenager. Besides this, what they also had in common is that they both appeared on TV, as would the other targets on The Midnight Channel, which is only on during midnight in the rain. The protagonist and friends become an Investigation Team to solve the case by entering the TV World and saving those who appear on The Midnight Channel. It is during the more sinister moments in the game where this creepy piano motif plays. Either when an antagonist threatens the party, horrible truths are discovered. The cue is at it's strongest when it plays just before the game's climax when the party has to make decisions that not only affect the outcome of the story but whether certain characters live or die by your direct hand. You can become a heartless murderer in this game if you wish. Similarly, there is a secret(ish) ending you can achieve in GOLDEN which is just as, if not more heartless as the previous one. You can work out that one for yourself... As for the cue itself, it's barely in F#minor, which can be worked out from the haunting tremolo strings and stabbing celli (plural for cello) and basses. It works so well in distilling horror to the players in the game, especially as one that is as upbeat and as jolly as this one. You can be having fun with your friends or working on that social link when BANG! The scary music returns and someone is dead or about to die with next to no chance of saving them. In an instant, your lives are in turmoil once more. This is one of the few cases where the music of a Persona game delivers horror brilliantly.
  10. This weeks #TuneTuesday comes from one of the Persona games, the PSP remake of Persona 1! The cue is 'School Days' by Shoji Meguro, with vocals by Yumi Kawamura, a long time vocalist for many of the songs in the Persona games. The Persona games where the player controls a Japanese high school student who has the ability to summon 'Personas', the multiple selves within them (your friends gain the ability to summon a Persona during the course of the story). Think of it as Pokemon with an existential crisis What makes the more recent Persona games (3-5 & their various spin-offs) stand-out from everyone else is that you play out practically every single in-game day (the late afternoons anyway, when the school bell has run). You can meet up with friends (and make new ones outside of the classroom) and bond 'Social Links' with them, which has the gameplay mechanic of making Personas of a certain type stronger. You can go and have something to eat, study in the library, watch a film, go fishing, go practice some baseball, which are just things you can do in Persona 5 may I add (each activity increases a certain skill you have)! The music for these sections always reflect the carefree attitude one has spending your teenage years with nothing to worry about (such as a previous #TuneTuesday of mine, 'Tokyo Daylight' from Persona 5). Narratively, it's like you are playing your favourite slice-of-life anime before going all shonen mode as you beat up Shadows (essentially wild/bad Personas/Daemons (varies from game-to-game)), which is the game proper, but it is a much smaller portion of the games. The original Persona game (and it's PSP remake) does away with all this social stuff and have the players just fight with their friends, once they can wield their own Persona. There is one slight exception to this, which is right at the beginning of the game...sort of. When you begin the game, you are given the objective to visit a hospital to check up on a school friend. You don't have to do that straight away, as you can wander around St. Hermelin High School to talk to classmates and explore the fictional town of Mikage-cho, which does some pretty nice world-building before shit hits the fan. Whereas a lot of the soundtrack are redone/remastered versions of the PS1's original soundtrack, 'School Days' (that plays at the beginning sections of the game) is found only on the PSP version. Whilst Persona 1 is very different from the more popular Persona games, this bouncy little J-Pop song has a wonderful sense of nostalgia to it, which I am putting down to the use of the Major 7ths, a sound I have always associated with sunsets (or sunrises, depending on what mode I'm in). The inclusion of a song (a love song at that may I add) like this drags Persona into the same sonic sound as later games, thus bringing it into the same world as later games. As odd as this may sound, longterm Persona players will know what I mean. If your one of the 10 people who own a PS Vita, you can download Persona, as well as both instalments of Persona 2, usually at a very cheap price.
  11. This week's #TuneTuesday is from #VampireTheMasqueradeBloodlines, that PC game I keep coming back to. The cue is Downtown Theme composed by Ric Schaffer. In case you're not aware, Bloodlines is based off World of Darkness' LARP (live-action roleplaying (game)) 'Vampire: The Masquerade' and has you play as one of 7 vampiric clans, each with their own quirks and powers (note: VtM has 13 clans...for the most part). Once you are embraced in Bloodlines, you are pretty much a puppet to a Sebastian LaCroix, who is the leader of a vampiric group called the Camarilla, who are enemies with a slightly freer group, the Anarchs. I could go on more about the story, but I do not want to spoil more than I already have done. I may have made the rivalry sound very simplistic and uninteresting, but that is not the case at all. VtM (and by extension, VtMB) is, and always has been, a game of politics, as these two factions (and the more primal Sabbat), have their own beliefs and systems as to why they are the better than the others and why their way is the best way. To be very crude, the Camarilla is basically 'fuck you, peasants, bow down and kiss the knee', the Anarchs is 'fuck da police' and the Sabbat is 'fuck everyone'. So where does this cue play into this? VtMB has you, the player, explore 4 different hub zones in a really small version of LA; Santa Monica, Chinatown, Hollywood and Downtown, each one with their own theme that plays on a loop as you explore each hub. Whilst VtMB does have its own theme, which is basically a rip off of 'Angel' by Massive Attack, I think Downtown Theme reflects the gritty politics found in the game (the Camarilla and Anarchs have a strong footing here) much more. It's dark brooding F minor riff is the darker reality of a modern vampire stalking the streets on modern bystanders, not some Count Dracula 'I hath come to suck'th the blood', luring innocents into their lair. And with almost every American able to carry around guns easily, no Kindred is safe...
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