Saturday, August 29, 2009
01 Rage Racer (Rage Racer)
02 DRAGON SABER (Earth Mushrooms)
03 Genpei Toumaden
05 Tower of Druaga
06 BURNING FORCE (Bay Yard)
07 Youkai Douchuuki
08 Wonder Momo
Circle: Magical Trick Society
I’ve always gotten the feeling that Namco got much more love over in Japan than it did over here. I mean, Pac-Man, Dig Dug and Galaga were popular the world over, but no one outside of Japan really cared about Yokai Dochuuki, Tower of Druaga, or Wonder Momo, which is probably why they didn’t bother to localize Namco X Capcom. Anyway, this effort is mostly aimed towards these games and those who love them.
The only “recent” game covered is Rage Rager. I was always under the impression that Ridge Racer and its brethren just featured generic if likable techno, and this remix hasn’t changed that. The “Genma Tou Den Medley” (known as Geiji and the Heike Clans over here) uses live Japanese instruments and sounds remarkably professional, much better than the blippy arcade version. About halfway through it breaks into a Samurai Shodown-style rock arrangement, which makes this one of the better tracks on the disc. The Mappy theme is given a jazzy, upbeat arrangement, which I guess would mean more if I even know what the Mappy theme sounded like. The Tower of Druaga theme sounds cartoony and a bit dopey, and just reminds me what a frustrating mess that game is.
Burning Force is a game Americans MIGHT vaguely recognize, because its Genesis port was released in America. The rendition here is done with a heavy Latin flavor, a sharp contrast to the rock version found in Namco X Capcom. The Wonder Momo medley alternates between the two themes – the chirpy, irritating pre-transformation theme, with far too high pitched vocals against chiptune music, before it goes “HENSHIN!” into a rock rendition of the transformed theme, with deeper, more pleasant vocals. There's also one Dragon Saber song, which is pretty decent - Magical Trick Society loved its predecessor Dragon Spirit so much that they devoted a whole album to it.
I can’t say I’m the biggest fans of a lot of these themes, but their arrangements are almost always unique and interesting, so the CD as a whole isn’t too bad.