A musical journey through MMO soundscapes, Battle Bards reviews and discusses the soundtrack of MMORPGs with a trio of engaging hosts. The Battle Bards podcast alternates with Retro Reprise, a half-hour podcast showcasing classic VGM from the ’80s and ’90s.

ABOUT

A musical journey through MMO soundscapes, Battle Bards reviews and discusses the soundtrack of MMORPGs with a trio of engaging hosts. The Battle Bards podcast alternates with Retro Reprise, a half-hour podcast showcasing classic VGM from the ’80s and ’90s.


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THE BARDS


Syp's blog
Steff's blog
Syl's blog


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You can send in feedback, questions and suggestions via Email or Twitter. We read our mailbag at the end of each show, so your questions will usually be answered on air within a few weeks time. Thanks!

Logo Credits

A big thanks to Tesh for the original Battle Bards logo! Retro Reprise TV graphic designed by Zirconicusso.

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An odd, offbeat, and short-lived MMO, Chronicles of Spellborn hardly registered on most of the gaming community's consciousness. However, this fantasy title has not escaped the attention of the Battle Bards, especially with Assassin Creed's Jesper Kyd composing most of the score. It's a strange score, with plenty of otherworldly tunes, but just perfect for this team to tackle!

Episode 157 show notes (show page, direct download)

  • Intro (feat. "Main Theme," "Lullaby," and "Palace at Night")
  • "Armada Combat”
  • "Stonedeep"
  • "Aldenvault"
  • "Silent Child"
  • "Gleaming Cauldron Tavern"
  • "Fountain"
  • "Traitor's Rest Tavern"
  • Which one did we like most?
  • Listener notes: Katriana
  • Jukebox Picks: "Afterimage" from Einhänder, "Main Theme" from Yonder, and "Colored Engine" from FAR: Lone Sails
  • Outro (feat. "Housing")
  • Stinger: Battle Bards’ t-shirt store
Direct download: Battle_Bards_Episode_157.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EST
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Is blue a color? An emotion? A song? An overused alien skin tone? One thing is for certain: Blue shows up an awful lot in MMORPG soundtrack, which is why the Battle Bards have mined their music libraries for the bluest of blue tunes to share. Will they come to a conclusion as to what "blue" means? And will Steff ever let go of a grudge? Probably never, but it'll be a fun listen even so!

Episode 156 show notes (show page, direct download)

  • Intro (feat. "Blue Dots" from Anarchy Online, "Limitless Blue" from FFXIV, and "Engage Blue" from Stargate Worlds)
  • "Sapphire Basin" from Blade and Soul
  • "The Tune of the Azure Light" from MapleStory
  • "Synthquest Blue" from Star Citizen
  • "Legend of the Blue Horizon" from WildStar
  • "Blue Coral Dark" from Lime Odyssey
  • "Blue Kojin Tribe" from Final Fantasy XIV
  • "Cobalt Deep" from Vanguard
  • Which one did we like most?
  • Listener notes: Zinn and Zoward
  • Jukebox Picks: "Brazil (Atomic Era)" Civilization VI, "Main Theme" from Old Man's Journey, and "Interred Glory" from Bloodstained
  • Outro (feat. "Blue Giant" from Elite Dangerous)
  • Stinger: Battle Bards' t-shirt store
Direct download: Battle_Bards_Episode_156.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EST
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Welcome to the "Cursed Episode" of Battle Bards, where you'll be risking bad luck and poor RNG rolls just by hearing it! But it is totally worth it, because this week the trio is tackling the astounding Shadowbringers soundtrack and it's impressive addition to the FFXIV music library. Also, if you listen very, very carefully, a certain "la-HEE" might make a cameo!

Episode 155 show notes

  • Intro (feat. "Prologue," "Amaro Mount Theme," and "Figments")
  • "The Source"
  • "Civilizations"
  • "Kholusia Night"
  • "The Dark Which Illuminates the World"
  • "Vamo' alla Flamenco"
  • "Unwound"
  • "Insatiable"
  • Which one did we like most?
  • Listener notes: Zinn and Katriana
  • Jukebox Picks: "Hear Our Call" from Ancestor's Legacy, "Gateway Galaxy" from Super Mario Galaxy, and "Menu (Ramp Mix)" from Tron Run_r
  • Outro (feat. "Hades Theme")
Direct download: Battle_Bards_Episode_155.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EST
Comments[0]

Do you remember what Halloween looked like when you were a kid? What about what it sounded like? In today's special edition of Retro Reprise, Syp returns to the Halloweens of the past to listen to some of the best themes from horror video games. It might not all be scary, but don't let your guard down too quickly -- your doom might lurk just around the next note!

Retro Reprise Episode 19: The music of Halloweens past

  • Intro
  • "The Attic" from A Nightmare on Elm Street (NES)
  • "Main Theme" from Alone in the Dark (PC)
  • "Boss Battle" from Zombies Ate My Neighbors (SNES)
  • "Don't Cry, Jennifer" from Clock Tower (SNES)
  • "Demon Forest" from Super Castlevania IV (SNES)
  • "Stage One" from Ghosts 'n' Goblins (Arcade)
  • "Save Room" from Resident Evil 2 (PS)
  • "Not Tomorrow" from Silent Hill (PS)
  • Outro (feat. "Ending Credits" from Night Trap)
Direct download: Retro_Reprise_Episode_19.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EST
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Get an early jump on Halloween with the Battle Bards, as they grab the nearest shovel and start unearthing all sorts of morbid and macabre tunes from MMORPGs! In this grim grinning episodes, Syl, Steff, and Syp explore the musical side of the afterlife in online games. Listen to it... at your own peril.

Episode 154 show notes

  • Intro (feat. “Paths of the Dead" from Lord of the Rings Online, "Graverobbing" from RuneScape, and  "Dead Forest" from Vanguard)
  • "Crypt of Decay" from EverQuest
  • "Secrets in a Shallow Grave" from Fallen Earth
  • "Graveyard" from World of Warcraft
  • "Silent Death" from The Secret World 
  • "Korriban Tombs" from Star Wars: The Old Republic
  • "Lullaby of Death" from Runes of Magic
  • "Graveyard" from Neverwinter
  • Which one did we like most?
  • Listener notes: Mark
  • Jukebox Picks: "Summer Day" from Radical Dreamers, "Create-a-Sim" from The Sims 4: Island Living, and "A New Adventure" from Hytale
  • Outro (feat. “Death” from Ryzom)
  • Stinger:
Direct download: Battle_Bards_Episode_154.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EST
Comments[0]

Gryphons, Elves, and gobs and gobs of singing people -- that's Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset for ya! The Battle Bards return to Tamriel to rate and review the second expansion soundtrack from ESO. Aside from practically non-stop choral contributions, the Bards quite enjoy this trip to a high fantasy land full of wonder and power.

Episode 153 show notes

  • Intro (feat. "Even Paradise Has Shadows,"  "Here Be Wonders," and "Interlude")
  • "From the Abysses Below and Beyond"
  • "Past Defines Future"
  • "Gryphons Soar in the Sun"
  • "Dusk Song of the High Elves"
  • "Sun-Blessed Alinor"
  • "Masque of Reveries"
  • "Three Hearts Afire"
  • Which one did we like most?
  • Listener notes: Castegere and Bhagpuss
  • Jukebox Picks: "Main Theme" from Gears of War 5, "Outer Wilds" from Outer Wilds, and "The Wind Sings of a Journey" from Legend of Mana
  • Outro (feat. "The Lullaby of Praxis")
  • Stinger:
Direct download: Battle_Bards_Episode_153.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EST
Comments[0]

Back for a third round, the Battle Bards examine a slew of main themes from MMORPGs! Considering how essential these themes are in making a strong first impression upon players, Steff, Syl, and Syp run these tracks through their paces to see which hook them on a first listen... and which put them to sleep.

Episode 152 show notes

  • Intro (feat. "Knights of the Fallen Empire Main Theme" from SWTOR, "Main Theme" from Lost Ark, and "Refly Main Theme" from Aion)
  • "Main Theme" from Atlas
  • "Main Theme" from Astellia
  • "The Dragon's Spine" from Age of Conan
  • "Main Theme" from Echo of Soul
  • "Main Theme" from Eldevin
  • "Main Theme" from ArcheAge
  • "Main Theme" from The Chronicles of Spellborn
  • Which one did we like best?
  • Listener mail from Katriana, Zinn, Caroline, and Castagere
  • Jukebox picks: "Arbiter's Mark" from Fell Seal, "What the Forest Taught Me" from Secret of Mana, and "Main Theme" from Rogue Squadron
  • Outro (feat. "Memories of Rohan" from Rohan)
  • Stinger: Playful evil
Direct download: Battle_Bards_Episode_152.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EST
Comments[0]

It's an MMORPG you've never heard of. It's an MMO soundtrack you've never heard, period. But as intrepid explorers of the musical unknown, the Battle Bards are here to unearth this tiny indie title and its score. Minions of Mirth may have died an ignoble death in 2017, but its soundtrack lives on -- and now it's immortalized in the 151st episode of this podcast!

Episode 151 show notes

  • Intro (feat. "Main Theme," "Peaceful," and "View Over the Water")
  • "Inexhaustible Ardor"
  • "Villagers of Mirth"
  • “Battlefield’s Pride”
  • "Landpromise"
  • "Dwarves Krig"
  • “Wandering Day”
  • "The Sails of Salvage"
  • Which one did we like best?
  • Listener mail from Velimirius, Ghostlight, and Inon Zur
  • Jukebox picks: "Options" from Comix Zone, "Main Theme" from StarFox 64, and "Pictures of the Past" from Rain World
  • Outro (feat. "Black Air Magic")
  • Stinger: M-O-M
Direct download: Battle_Bards_Episode_151.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EST
Comments[0]

It may not be the most sexy or exotic of biomes, but plains tend to pop up in pretty much every MMORPG -- and they always have music to adventure by! In this episode of the Battle Bards, the crew evaluates music from steppes, savannahs, and the great, great plains. Is it all dull atmospheric tunes? Far from it, as you'll soon discover. So join this eclectic team for a grand 150th episode spectacular!

Episode 150 show notes

  • Intro (feat. "Plains of Beauty" from Runes of Magic, "Open Plains" from Anarchy Online, and "The Azim Steppe (Daytime)" from FFXIV)
  • "Plains" from World of Warcraft
  • "Plains of Ashford" from Guild Wars 2
  • "Gahren Plains" from Vanguard
  • "Pradeth Plains" from Aion
  • "Agris Steppe" from Black Desert
  • "Zafaria Savannah" from Wizard101
  • "Skypetal Plains South" from Blade and Soul
  • Which one did we like best?
  • Listener mail from Caroline, Sam, Sym, and Katriana
  • Jukebox picks: "Slinger's Song" from Bastion, "Waterfalls" from Seasons After the Fall, and "The Roof" from Plants vs. Zombies
  • Outro (feat. "Thundering Steppes" from EverQuest II)
  • Stinger: Efficient German love
Direct download: Battle_Bards_Episode_150.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EST
Comments[0]

Is Istaria more than just "that game where you can play a dragon?" If it is, the answer might lie in its hidden repository of soundtrack tunes! The Battle Bards once again assemble to apply their dragonish wit, tenacity, and fire-scathing critiques to a largely undiscovered score. It's more fun of an experience than you might expect, so come along for the ride!

Episode 149 show notes

  • Intro (feat. "Saris," "Kirasanct Tundra," and "Spirit Island")
  • "Main Theme"
  • "Ancient Ruins"
  • "Mahagra"
  • "Eyes in the Garden"
  • "Tazoon"
  • "Aughundell"
  • "New Rachival"
  • Which one did we like best?
  • Listener mail from Buddy, Smuggler-in-a-yt, and Chris
  • Jukebox picks: "Rab the Wizard" from Dragon Quest XI, "At Night the Forest Sings" from Anno 1800, "Main Theme" from Legend of 
  • Outro (feat. "Mystery Ancients")
Direct download: Battle_Bards_Episode_149.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EST
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On a special theme episode of Battle Bards, acclaimed composer Inon Zur is given the spotlight, especially for his contributions to several MMORPG soundtracks such as RIFT, TERA, and EverQuest II. If you've only known Zur as "The Fallout Guy," then prepared to be pleasantly illuminated as to the wider body of his work! Also, the crew takes in an orphaned music track and gives it the name "Steve." We will always love you, Steve.

Episode 148 show notes

  • Intro (feat. "Homecoming" from TERA, "Klak'Anon" from EverQuest II, and "Invisible Ghosts" from Fallout 76)
  • "Main Theme" from Fallout 76
  • "Trailer Theme" from Durango Wildlands
  • "Behind the Mountain" from Lineage 2
  • "Othmir Camp" from EverQuest II
  • "Variation 1" from Arena of Fate
  • "Oceans of Stone" from TERA
  • "Sanctum solo" from RIFT
  • Which one did we like best?
  • Listener mail: What soundtracks have you discovered through Battle Bards?
  • Jukebox picks: "Lost in the Cave" from 2003's The Hobbit, "First Light" from Crysis, and "Unicorn's Rest (Cover)" from Lineage II
  • Outro (feat. "Freemarch" from RIFT)
Direct download: Battle_Bards_Episode_148.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EST
Comments[0]

Bring on the heavy makeup, electric guitars, and MMO groupies, because the Battle Bards are rock and rolling their way into Continent of the Ninth Seal (aka C9). It may not be a game -- or soundtrack -- that most know, but does that mean that there is a musical treasure trove waiting to be discovered? Listen to this episode to find out!

Episode 147 show notes

  • Intro (feat. "Innocence RunersVill" and "Brotherhood of the Wolf")
  • "Main Theme"
  • "Cold Mountain"
  • "Black Yard"
  • "Blade of a Knife"
  • "Gong!"
  • "Braveheart"
  • "Waterford Theme"
  • Which one did we like best?
  • Listener mail from Caroline, Bullwraith, and George Wilson III
  • Jukebox picks: "We've All Done Things" from Days Gone, "Main Theme" from Unending Dusk, and "The Adventure Begins" from Cube World
  • Outro (feat. "Silent Night")
Direct download: Battle_Bards_Episode_147.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EST
Comments[0]

In another theme sequel, the Battle Bards return to the notion of vocal tracks in MMORPGs. Does singing hold a special place in online games, or is it immersion breaking? In some cases, it can be both. Join Syl, Steff, and Syp for a romp through a widely diverse array of sung tunes -- and beware the pigs!

Episode 146 show notes 

  • Intro (feat. "Singing" from Elder Scrolls Online, "Song from the Woods" from The Secret World, and "Eternal Love" from Lineage II: Oath of Blood)
  • “Dragonsong” from Final Fantasy XIV
  • “Glutton for Nourishment” from RuneScape
  • “The Daughter of the Sea” from World of Warcraft
  • “Dungeon Herograve” from Lime Odyssey
  • “Wild Side” from WildStar
  • “Port Lux (Vocal Version)” from Cabal Online
  • “Odyssey” from Granado Espada
  • Which one did we like best?
  • Listener mail from Caroline
  • Jukebox picks: "The Frostlands" from Octopath Traveler, "Dolphin Surf" from Tetris Effect, and "Future" from Max Payne 3
  • Outro (feat. "Day of Destiny" from Dragon Nest: Saint Haven)
Direct download: Battle_Bards_Episode_146.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EST
Comments[0]

It's Bard vs. Bard vs. Bard in this show, as the trio of MMO video game music lovers take sides in the Dark Age of Camelot debate! This tri-realm PvP game is rather unique for having published an "inspired by" album featuring music not in the game at all in addition to the actual soundtrack. So why not review both? Syp, Syl, and Steff are more than up for the task!

Episode 145 show notes

  • Intro (feat. "Albion Town 1," "Vinum Bonum," "The Wizard," and "Albion Campacorentin Forest")
  • “Call to Arms (Frontiers)”
  • “Combat Music”
  • “Star of the County Down”
  • “Breton Melody”
  • “Moving”
  • “Hibernia Town”
  • “Albion Sailbury Plains”
  • Which one did we like best?
  • Jukebox picks: "Ceta" from Rimworld, "Across the Stars" from Star Wars: The Old Republic, and "Main Theme" from Trine 3
  • Outro (feat. "Howth")
Direct download: Battle_Bards_Episode_145.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EST
Comments[0]

Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet: Combined, these forces create the awesome power of Roy G. Biv -- otherwise known as the rainbow! In today's experimental episode of the Battle Bards, Steff, Syl, and Syp attempt to find MMORPG music tracks to go with each of the seven colors that shine over a rainstorm or in a particularly oily puddle. It's a daunting mission, but these three are just crazy enough to finish it!

Episode 144 show notes

  • Intro (feat. "Greenwood Camp" from Free Realms, "Red Menace" from Stargate Worlds," and "Purple Trip" from Glitch)
  • "Drinking from Red Wine" from WildStar
  • "Celestial Crab March" from Wizard101
  • "Hello Yellow!" from Club Penguin
  • "Green Valley" from Ys Online
  • "Flying in a Blue Dream" from MapleStory
  • "Purple Snow" from Grenado Espada
  • "Wild Violet" from Tree of Savior
  • Which one did we like best?
  • Listener mail from Sylkesh, George Wilson III, and Katriana
  • Jukebox picks: "End Credits" from Hello, Neighbor!, "Onward" from Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, and "Dulles Airport" from Die Hard Trilogy
  • Outro (feat. "Blue World" from MapleStory)
Direct download: Battle_Bards_Episode_144.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EST
Comments[0]

It may see itself as an "old school fantasy MMO," but Rappelz' soundtrack is a great mixture of old and new, traditional and experimental. In this episode, the daring and ever-courageous Battle Bards plumb the depth of this score and see what can be brought out of obscurity and into the light!

Episode 143 show notes (show page, direct download)

  • Intro (feat. "A New Epic," "Breeze of Old Forest," and "Resonance of the World")
  • "Main Theme"
  • "The Deva"
  • "Crystal Mountain"
  • "The Temple of the Masters"
  • "A Horizon in the Sunset"
  • "A Lost and Secret Island"
  • "The Morning Breaks of Rondo"
  • Which one did we like best?
  • Listener mail: Bullwraith, Katriana, Caroline, and Michael
  • Jukebox picks: "Cierzo" from Outward, "Green Village Baruchie" from Another Eden, and "La Pintarroja" from Tropico 6
  • Outro (feat. "The Ursa Caverns")
Direct download: Battle_Bards_Episode_143.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EST
Comments[0]

In MMORPGs across the world, days are beginning and days are ending -- and with them come the catharsis of the sunrise and sunset. The Battle Bards draw together in this special stillness to discuss some of the in-game tracks devoted to these moments. So from sunrise to sunset, here are the melodic moods that accompany our journeys online.

Episode 142 show notes

  • Intro (feat. "The Flag at Dusk" from Blade & Soul, "The Warming Sunrise" from Star Wars Galaxies, and "A Horizon in the Sunset" from Rappelz)
  • "Sunrise" from RuneScape
  • "Weeping Sunrise" from Runes of Magic
  • "Dawn Gleams on Cyrodil" from Elder Scrolls Online
  • "Sunrise" from Worlds Adrift
  • "Crimson Sunset" from Final Fantasy XIV
  • "Eternal Sunset" from TERA
  • "Sunset Ridge" from City of Heroes
  • Which one did we like best?
  • Listener mail from Scott, Nogamara, Zinn, YD Wes, Phubarrh (listen)
  • Jukebox picks: "Main Theme" from The Secret of Monkey Island, "Day of the Bright Sun" from My Time at Portia, and
  • Outro (feat. "Dusk Song of High Elves" from Elder Scrolls Online)
Direct download: Battle_Bards_Episode_142.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EST
Comments[0]

Fans of retro video game music have heard all of the same classics over and over again, which is why in today's episode of Retro Reprise, Chaos Constant and Syp dip into the more unknown titles of the Sega Genesis library for tunes that you may have overlooked! From the tense atmosphere of Warsong to the futuristic music of Pulseman, this show might have your new favorite track waiting to be discovered.

Retro Reprise Episode 18: Obscure Genesis Games 

  • Intro
  • "Kingdom Knight" from Warsong
  • "Soltype" from Alien Soldier
  • "Wily Stage 1" from Mega Man: The Wily Wars
  • "An Old Sad Dance" from King Colossus
  • "Neo Tokyo" from Pulseman
  • "Stereo Protect" from Pulseman
  • "Splash Down!!" from Ristar
  • "Midnight Greenhouse" from Knuckles Chaotix
  • Outro
Direct download: Retro_Reprise_Episode_18.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST
Comments[0]

The Battle Bards take to the sky to investigate the somewhat obscure Riders of Icarus and see if the lofty visuals can be matched by the music -- or if this soundtrack has been grounded for good! "Surprisingly rich" and "theatrical" are review terms that the Battle Bards are willing to license out to the studio to put on the soundtrack cover.

Episode 141 show notes

  • Intro (feat. "Character Creation" and "Attauis")
  • "Main Theme"
  • "Character Selection"
  • "The Beginning"
  • "First Elite"
  • "Fort Baellus"
  • "Artisan Square"
  • "Floor 34 Boss Theme"
  • Which one did we like best?
  • Listener mail from Caroline, Katriana, Zoward, Paragon Lost, and Maggie May
  • Jukebox picks: "Crimson Caribbean" from Blackwake, "Field Tutorial Zone" from Mabinogi, and "The Castle" from Dead Cells
  • Outro (feat. "Sea of Hakanas")
Direct download: Battle_Bards_Episode_141.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EST
Comments[0]

It's one of the most powerful and versatile of musical instruments, and now the piano is getting its own featured show here on Battle Bards! The crew re-assembles, not to avenge, but to uplift beautiful, striking, and moving piano themes from MMORPGs. So tickle the ivories with Syl, Steff, and Syp as they listen to today's signature tracks.

Episode 140 show notes

  • Intro (feat. "Breezewind Park" from Blade and Soul, "Main Theme" from The Secret World, and "Piano Works #1 Serendia" from Black Desert)
  • "Theobomos Hotel" from Aion
  • "Purple" from Worlds Adrift
  • "Kaelar and Empyrean Freeholds" from Ashes of Creation
  • "Tieve's Theme" from Vindictus
  • "Lullaby" from Chronicles of Spellborn
  • "The Die is Cast" from Tree of Savior
  • "Ancient City" from FFXIV
  • Which one did we like best?
  • Listener mail from Katriana and IronSalamander8 [link]
  • Jukebox picks: "Chiasm" from GRIS, "Main Theme" from Neon Chrome, and "The Beginning" from Resident Evil 2 Remake
  • Outro (feat. "Hywel" from Mabinogi)
Direct download: Battle_Bards_Episode_140.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EST
Comments[0]

They might not have been the AAA-budget titles of the 1990s, but shareware games were perhaps even more well-known due to the proliferation of these demos. Studios such as id, Epic, and Apogee made their mark with these titles -- and the simple but memorable tunes from each got lodged into our brains. Joining Syp today is Chaos Constant from Occasional Hero, who is a self-professed retro game music fan and has plenty to say about the shareware era!

Show notes

  • Intro (feat. "Cruising with Stryker" from Major Stryker and "The City Streets" from Duke Nukem 3D)
  • "Title Theme" from Halloween Harry
  • "Toy Factory Table" from Epic Pinball
  • "Main Theme" from Duke Nukem 3D
  • "Welcome to a Kick in the Pants in Good Old Hillville" from Commander Keen 4
  • "Main Theme" from Mystic Towers
  • "Spiders" from Jill of the Jungle
  • "Shooting Star" from Major Stryker
  • "Episode 1 Levels 4-6" from Stargunner
  • Outro ("Beach Bunnies" from Jazz Jackrabbit)
Direct download: Retro_Reprise_Episode_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST
Comments[0]

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