Weekly Game Music: Napoleon’s Final Conflict, Revisited (Psychonauts)

Here’s Psychonauts’ Napoleon’s Final Conflict, Revisited, arranged by Peter McConnell. This is a remix of an old Russian music, 1812 Overture by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. As its name implies both the original composition and the game context indicates the fall of Napoleon’s conquest. Unfortunately, revealing further would spoil the game heavily.

Psychonauts is a multiple-award-winning game directed by famed designer, Tim Schafer. Similar to Yume 2kki, Psychonauts takes a spin at Inception’s plot. Razputin, an enthusiastic and psychically talented child, manages to breach into a highly confidential psychic camp called Whispering Rock camp. The camp advisers reluctantly accepts Raz into the camp (he’s just a child, after all), but informs him that his parents will be arriving to pick him up in two or three days. Unwilling to return home, Raz successfully pleads to each camp adviser to train him to become a Psychonaut — a psychic agent that probes into other people’s minds for clues — as soon as possible. In between trainings, however, Raz learns that someone is stealing campers brains to control killer tanks, and taking over the world by force.

Beautifully meshing together Mario-style platforming action and Monkey Island-style adventure puzzles, Pyschonauts goes above and beyond many 3D platformers. Each mind you go through becomes progressively more insane, consistently shifting shapes and expanding in size as a person’s imagination would. Additionally, the game’s dark humor is hilarious. Whispering Rock’s campers are so devilish and/or insane, it’s surprising that only one person is considering taking over the world, instead of all of them. Raz himself frequently makes fun of the game, adding to the absurdity of the plot.

Despite high anticipation, poor sales left the game cold on release. It’s clear from the game’s open-ending that a sequel was planned, but it’s unlikely that’ll see the light of day. Aside from the failed publicity, the game have several glaring flaws: ugly graphics, slow beginning, and uneven difficulty. Yet, if you manage look past these (especially the slow training levels), you’ll be in for one of the finest platforming experience to grace on a gaming console. It’s a trippy adventure. But trust me: it’s a good kind of trippy.

Psychonauts was originally released for the original, older Xbox, and later, PS2. It’s also available as a downloadable on the Xbox 360, via “Xbox Originals.” Lastly, the game is available on Steam for both the PC and the Mac.


Extra!

Title: The Catwalk Phantom
Game: Psychonauts
Composer: Peter McConnell

Title: Title and End Credits
Game: Psychonauts
Composer: Peter McConnell

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