CrossCode (PC/Switch, 2015) Video Game Music Review


Welcome to Morning Music, Kotaku’s daily hangout for folks who love video games and the cool-ass sounds they make. Today we’re listening to the soundtrack from CrossCode, a 2018 game that sounds like an early ‘90s RPG classic.


Radical Fish Games’ CrossCode (playlist / longplay / VGMdb) is a thoroughly modern action role-playing game that’s emulating what a massively multiplayer online RPG would have been like had the Super Nintendo had internet connectivity. It’s filled with 16-bit AI adventurers running about while the game’s hero Lea and friends piece together the mystery of her missing memories. Every time I play the game it feels like I’m stepping into a past that never existed. A great deal of that feeling comes from composer Deniz Akbulut’s masterful soundtrack.

If I knew nothing about CrossCode whatsoever and I listened to the track “Battle 1,” I would swear it came from something I played nearly three decades ago, during the heyday of Super Nintendo RPGs. It sounds like it comes from some forgotten contemporary of Chrono Trigger or Secret of Mana.

Radical Fish Games / Deniz Akbulut / (YouTube)

How about something a little less dramatic. Like any RPG town music worth its salt, the “Rookie Harbor” theme is a soothing tune that lets players know they’re in a safe place. It’s got serious elevator music vibes, that relaxing groove that tells you nothing dramatic is going to happen until you leave its comfy confines.

Radical Fish Games / Deniz Akbulut / (YouTube)

Finally we have the “First Scholars” theme, the signature tune for the guild Lea winds up joining. Akbulut gets pretty jazzy in this one, with a playful piano and some cool little flourishes filling in the gaps. This is definitely the guild I would join if CrossCode were a real MMORPG.

Radical Fish Games / Deniz Akbulut / (YouTube)

I love me some CrossCode, and I have no doubt it will one day be considered a classic. Deniz Akbulut’s soundtrack gives it a nice head start. If you want to hear more, the composer maintains his own playlist on YouTube of the entire soundtrack, as well as DLC tunes and beta tracks that didn’t make it into the full game.


What a lovely walk down memory lane, even if this particular lane was only paved a couple years ago. We know what’s on my mind this morning, what’s on yours? Feel free to join in the open chat, and have an awesome day. 





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