Friday, October 7, 2011

Rom Cassette Disc In SUNSOFT CD Review

The title of this album is terrible. Rom Cassette Disc In SUNSOFT? What the hell does that mean? And what on earth is going on in that cover? But in the spirit of not judging a book by its cover, let's explain this album actually is - it's a two disc (plus bonus disc) compilation of all of the music for all of Sunsoft's Famicom cartridge releases. The "Rom Cassette" part distinguishes it their Famicom Disk System games, which is a separate album and none of which are worth mentioning.) The first CD's track list don't suggest anything anything particularly worthwhile - Super Arabian, Route-16 Turbo, Ikki, Atlantis no Nazo, Madoola no Tsubasa, Toukaidou Gojuusan-tsugi, Shanghai, Ripple Island and Maharaja. None of these were released in the US, and in spite of a few alright tracks, the music is not really all that great, although the extensive speech synthesis in Toukaidou Gojuusan-tsugi is impressive.

Near the end of the first CD, the list of amazing games starts up: Chou Wakusei Meta Fight (AKA Blaster Master), Batman, Raf World (Journey to Silus), Gremlins 2, Dynamite Batman (Batman: Return of the Joker), and Gimmick!. (The linked samples aren't directly from the CD, they're just whatever I found on Youtube at the moment.) Sunsoft isn't as widely discussed as Nintendo or Konami when it comes to amazing NES music, but they really should be, because their sound programming was absolutely incredible, resulting in some of the most standout soundtracks on the system. All of the games listed in this paragraph are essential to fans of NES music. Even the lesser soundtracks (relatively speaking), like Battle Hunter (Super Spy Hunter), Hebereke (Uforia) and Nantettatte!! Baseball (unreleased outside of Japan) utilize the same synth and sound pretty decent. It is missing Fester's Quest and Platoon, however, since neither was never released in Japan.

Although the back of the album implies that each game only has a single track medley for each game, each song does indeed have its own track. And there's a lot of music here - 99 tracks on the first disc, and 89 on the second. Of course, many are quite brief, and most don't loop. While there's no a huge advantage to listening to this over NSFs, it's cool that these tracks are in one convenient place, and those who are sticklers for authenticity will approve of the recordings as well. The tracks from Gimmick!, which used an extra sound chip in its cartridge, sound every so slightly better than the emulated versions.

First printings (or perhaps all, it's hard to tell) have a bonus third CD, whoch include two long arranged tracks from Madoola no Tsubasa and Dead Zone (the latter OST does not appear on this set since it's an FDS game.) They're recorded straight from a very old cassette tape, so not only is the quality somewhat iffy, but it's very late 80s. It's not great, but it's an interesting obscurity.

The album can be bought from seller champ_des_pins on eBay, or much cheaper from I went the latter route, and while the SAL shipping took a good three weeks, I can vouch for them being an excellent vendor. There is also a remix album scheduled to come out later in October, although based on the characters on the cover, it seems like they may focus on the "nostalgic" Famicom games rather the ones any of us are likely to care about.


  1. You're right about Sunsoft. I'm convinced that they, Tecmo, and Konami pretty much had some of the best music on the NES. Probably something to do with proper use of the noise channel.

  2. thanks for this. JOURNEY TO SILIUS has the best sloundtrack ever.