kiorchid_editedWell, it’s been a while since I’ve written one of these, eh? In fact, my last Musical Mondays piece happened to be about the original Killer Instinct soundtrack, written both in anticipation of 2013’s new KI for Xbox One and in honour of that gloriously over the top soundtrack from 20 years past.

The fact that my first MM piece in a few months is about the new Killer Instinct is merely coincidence, but anyone who follows this blog with any regularity will know that I’m a massive fan of the game. It’s one of the most pure ‘fun’ fighters I’ve played in a long while, and while it’s easy to get into, there’s an absolute ton of depth to get to grips with if you care to. The team at Double Helix clearly had a great time making the game, and the same can be said of Mick Gordon, the composer behind its excellent soundtrack.

In my piece about the original KI, I called the soundtrack ‘pure, unadulterated 90s cheddar‘ and, much as I love it, I stand by that. The new game’s soundtrack isn’t particularly cheesy, but it certainly retains that infectious over-the-top high-energy feeling that typified the earlier music. It is both its own thing and a nod to the past. Check out Orchid’s new theme for proof of that: it’s loud, it’s hyperactive and it feels like a logical progression from her original theme. It’s even packed with samples from that piece of music, and hides a nice hit of nostalgia in the form of a short remix partway through.

Here’s something rather different, and altogether darker: Glacius’ Theme. If you listen carefully, you can hear samples (“we are controlling transmission”) from his original theme, ‘Controlling Transmission‘.

And because I need a bit of guitar in my day, here’s the new main theme. It’s broadly the same as the old theme, but a bit heavier. I’ve embedded a 26-minute extended cut. Because TWENTY-SIX MINUTES OF KI THEME.

Ahem. Enjoy.

Mick Gordon’s soundtrack is also doing interesting things when it comes to fighting dynamics; depending on what’s happening on-screen (are both fighters idle? Is there a big combo playing out? Has someone just nailed a c-c-c-combo breaker?) the music will change to fit the situation. I embedded this video in the previous piece, but it’s worth linking again as it does a great job of explaining what’s happening with the dynamic audio.

This is one of my current favourite videogame soundtracks. It just fits the game it’s in so well; the art, the action, the sound – all of it is larger than life and it all combines to get the blood and the adrenaline pumping when you dive into another bone-crunching bout. My one gripe is that there isn’t a soundtrack CD available to buy – all we have to go by at the moment are some fan-made mixes and edits on Youtube. Hopefully Mick Gordon, Double Helix and Microsoft can all get something worked out, because I’d love to have it in my soundtrack CD collection.

For now, you can keep an eye on Gordon’s SoundCloud, and give his KI suites a listen: these are extended mixes of various pieces of music from throughout the game.

Given the short dev cycle, I’m amazed at what Double Helix have achieved. I’m absolutely in love with the game, and it’s going to get better as time goes on. Spinal was recently added to the roster (and he’s mental – here’s a short clip I made after messing around for a few minutes), and in March we’ll be getting Fulgore (my personal favourite character) and the much-anticipated story mode. Here’s hoping we also get confirmation of a second season sometime soon too.