Bard Banter: Favorites From Mary Skelter: Nightmares
The 2019 remake of the very first Mary Skelter dungeon crawler, Mary Skelter: Nightmares, was a pleasant surprise for me this year. Not only did the experience as a whole end up being quite impressive and fulfilling, it also featured one of the most memorable soundtracks of recent memory. In this edition of our Bard Banter series, we’re going to be listening to and discussing some of my personal favorite tracks found in Mary Skelter: Nightmares, but be sure to let me know your own choices and thoughts in the comments below!
Soldier of the Wind
First up is the standard battle theme which features rather unorthodox instrumentation. Leading the charge is none other than a violin with some light accompanying piano riffs. Layered beneath that lies a steady, strong drum beat and bass line that really helps flesh out the feel of the tune without stealing the limelight from the unique instrumentation.
Lullabies for Tombstones
This track plays in the second dungeon Alice and Jack visit – a graveyard. What I love most about it is not only how fitting it is for the area, but also how much different it is than the sadistically jolly tune that came before it via the City Streets. It’s a no-frills theme, but fulfills the job in the exact way it’s supposed to, especially when paired with the rather macabre environmental effects – those giant, twitching gnomes in particular will forever haunt my dreams.
Urge To Freedom
Urge To Freedom takes the violin lead inspiration from the aforementioned Soldier of Wind tune and cranks it up to 100 – more accurately, it cranks everything up a few notches. Battles with the Core guardians can be dangerous, but are integral to the game’s progression and this track encapsulates those stakes quite well.
Drive of Speeding
Every once in a while, there are those themes that immediately signify to the player that their journey’s end is nigh. In this case, Drive of Speeding plays as the player is scaling a massive dungeon towards the end of the game, and it definitely helps bring about those feelings of hope against seemingly insurmountable odds. What I love most is how this track injects standard fare techno beats with, once again, a violin and the occasional piano lead. Those two instruments go back and forth a bit before unifying in impressive fashion towards the end of the theme.
With a dungeon’s Core Guardian out of the way, the player then must take on the now vulnerable (but once immortal) Nightmare that would otherwise forever haunt its halls. Once again, the violin is used here alongside strong guitar undertones and drum beats, but the tempo is noticeably slower compared to Urge To Freedom. Why? The Nightmare battles are far more dangerous and lengthy in comparison, and the change of tempo while maintaining a blood-pumping beat is exactly what is necessary to convey that change of tone.
Competent aquatic themes tend to bring with it an air of mystery and wonder, and Mary Skelter: Nightmares’ aptly named Waterside dungeon is no different. Aesthetically speaking, it’s a massive, partially submerged, long abandoned railway with its fair share of secrets and dangers. Light percussive elements and soft choral chants combine with a harp lead and acoustic guitar undertones to create one of the best tracks in the entire game despite it lacking the “in your face” aggression of its peers.
That’s it for my picks! What did you think about them? Have you played Mary Skelter: Nightmares? If so, what did you think about it and what are some of your favorite tracks from the game? Let me know!