Score = 3/5
(Live Orchestra/ Digital Arts/ G – **if there was a rating)
Review by: Kisho Wolfe
Logline: 30 years of memories, resurfaced in 2 hours.
**may contain spoilers**
It’s hard to believe this series has been around for so long. I still remember the first time I cracked open the box on the first Legend of Zelda game for the original NES and my eyes popped open to twice their size at that sweet golden cartridge inside. Well, it was still plastic, but the coating was a spitting image of a shiny piece of gold. And that game was on point the second you hit the power button and that opening theme song started playing. Oooh man. I was still a young’n at the time, but something about that start screen music told you this was about to be epic. And it did NOT disappoint.
Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses is a unique orchestra experience. As with any orchestra, the goal is to take your ears on an exciting journey.
This show strives to do more with our time spent in the theater by projecting gaming moments that span across the majority of the series up on a large screen in the center of the orchestra. Remember when the old man gave you that wooden sword in the first game and told you it was ‘dangerous to go alone?’ Or how about when you first removed the Master Sword from the stone in a Link to the Past?
A handful of Zelda games were on display, each with their own orchestrated segment. I particularly loved how they designed the music to flow along with the on-screen action. Most pieces started off with the over-world theme and hardcore Zelda fans knew exactly which game in the series we were about to be treated to within the first few notes. The music blended quite nicely as they took us through key parts of each game by bringing the sound low at times to capture mood changes only to pick the energy back up when facing a boss or two on the screen until it’s climax.
There were also some standout moments in the second half of the show when the conductor put down her standard baton and reached over for one with a bit more… style to it.
One of my favorite moments was during the Twilight Princess set. Maybe it was that theme song, or maybe the crisp hits on those harp strings, but man, they had my neck groovin’ during that piece.
Over the years many gamers have come to not only appreciate, but look forward to the music in games today. Many of us are even audiophiles that associate sounds with a particular location in the gaming world in addition to the place they were when they were playing, clothes they were wearing at the time, or even the brown wooden chair with the ugly pastel-green seat cushion we were sitting in when we first heard a particular sound from the game. Pretty astounding really.
The music in the Zelda series has always been a wonderful addition to a solid gaming series over the years, but grew into it’s own persona when the Ocarina of Time released. All of those different songs deliberately used to do different things in the game seemed to have created a gift and a curse situation for Nintendo after that master piece of a game. They’ve tried to emulate the music as a character for the game for many of the iterations after it. Majora’s mask worked to an extent, but some of the others after it felt a bit rehashed in terms of creativity music wise and game-play wise. Hopefully with the new release coming in 2017, they’ll change the game again with more creativity in the music in addition to the Zelda formula.
I gave this show a 3 out of 5 for a couple of reasons. While I do love the trip down memory lane, I also would have welcomed a bit more in the atmospheric tone happening throughout the show. There were maybe about 2 or 3 sets where they captured that essence of mood building and impacting sounds while matching up with the screen action, but I feel they could have done more in this sense to really take the mind through reliving more moments. For the most part, the over-world themes of each game with varying main music pieces were played.
Sure the show is only 2 hours, but in that two hours, I think we could have switched up each piece to showcase maybe more subtle points in the games, rather than the same rinse and repeat formula. This also could have been carried over into the screen action as well to match up with the different moods of the games. They definitely capitalized on things such as Wind Waker’s pirate themes and Twilight Princess’s darker vibes, and I believe this should have been captured across the entire spectrum of games on display during the show.
Overall the show was enjoyable. I’d definitely recommend it if you are a Zelda fan. And if you do attend, don’t make the mistake of leaving after the lights go out and the conductor walks off the stage the first time. *hint-hint*