Best Original Music
When one thinks of the Original Music category, the first thing that comes to mind tends to be a fully orchestral score, like something you'd hear in a big-budget Hollywood movie. But taking cues from film is hardly an original move. The music in Katamari Damacy, however, captures the very meaning of originality.Most Surprisingly Good Game >>
When you first boot up Katamari Damacy--while the game accesses your memory card, before you even touch an analog stick--you're treated to a simple little song that's being roughly hummed by a single male voice. This catchy little tune is the bedrock of Katamari Damacy's musical presentation, and it continually resurfaces throughout the game, each time in a different form. Sitting at the title screen, you'll hear it as a sentimental piano overture. During the tutorial sequence, the male humming is accompanied by some small electronic blips. About halfway through the game, it appears as a rousing mambo-influenced piece that sounds as though it were remixed by a dance-club DJ. In the final stage of the game, when the scale of the experience has reached a critical mass of sorts, the theme kicks in with a wall of sound that would make Phil Specter proud. It's a brilliant combination of thematic consistency and diversity of style.
But there's more to the music in Katamari Damacy than just one melody, and the rest of the music on the soundtrack is consistent only in how different one piece is from the next. The menus are at first accompanied by the filtered pluckings of an acoustic guitar, and then by what can best be described as a marching band composed of very small robots. The pipe-organ-laced synthesized vocal chorus that plays as you're briefed by the King of All Cosmos helps set such a surreal tone that it doesn't seem inappropriate that his voice sounds like DJ scratches. During the actual gameplay, you'll hear big swing-music sounds, an achingly sweet J-pop song, and some intensely bizarre electronic compositions that work hard to defy description. The quality of the soundtrack is high enough that it stands on its own as a catchy, quirky collection of music, though within the context of Namco's surrealist ball-rolling game, it is an integral part of the experience.