I’ll have Part II of my voyage through Arena posted tomorrow, but today I just wanted to briefly point out how weird the music is. It’s not something that would naturally come up in most of my posts–I’m not doing a Let’s Play here, and I have no plans to have any video of any sections of the game uploaded here.
I’m so used to the lush orchestral music composed by Jeremy Soule in the later Elder Scrolls games. Arena came out in 1994, when I was only five years old, in an era of video games with a decidedly more limited range of MIDI music effects. And Arena certainly sounds like a game out of the early nineties.
It’s different, but I like it in its own way. It’s not high fantasy or epic like a Soule soundtrack, but it can be tense or whimsical or even just a little bit dark and bizarre. If that sounds like nonsense, my defense is that I’m not a music critic. It’s probably better to sample it, so I’ve included a part of the looping musical theme from the initial Imperial Dungeon below.