Cladun -This is an RPG- Original Soundtrack
Cladun -This is an RPG- Original Soundtrack
March 25, 2010
Buy at CDJapan
In 2010, Nippon Ichi Software continued the trend of recent retro-styled portable games with Classic Dungeon: Magic Team Assistance. This title brought back memories of the early Dragon Quest series with its dungeon-crawling gameplay, NES-styled graphics, and, of course, hybridised musical score. Toshimichi Isoe’s ZIZZ Studio actually offered two scores for the title — a full sound version featuring a range of world music and an 8-bit sound version featuring authentic chiptune renditions. The full soundtrack release dedicates a disc to each sound version.
The soundtrack opens with the game’s vocal theme, “You’re a Treasure”. An elegant theme overall, the triple metre gives a dance-like feel, particularly during the elating chorus sections. The Japanese vocals provided by Ikuko Ebata are modest yet enjoyable, achieving an appropriate balance between sounding mature and childish. The accompaniment is also a refreshing deviation from video game norms with its South American influence and gives a hint of what to expect from the main soundtrack. There is also a wonderful instrumental reprise of this theme towards the end of the soundtrack, featuring a contemplative guitar performance and ethereal synth work.
The majority of the original compositions featured on Classic Dungeon: Magic Team Assistance continue to evoke a feeling of South American music. A particularly representative example is “Crimson Moon Night ~ Theme of Despoina”, which is styled like an Argentine tango. The passion and intensity of the dance is initially captured by the interplay of the violin and cello, while elaborations such as the trilling clarinets and ‘celli solos demonstrate the personality and beauty of Despoina. It is both wonderfully arranged and implemented, making full use of streamed instrumental performances. “Knight of the Foreign Country” is also a favourite among those who played Classic Dungeon for good reason. It shares the anthemic quality expected from many RPG character themes and nicely hybridises it with the Latin music, already characteristic for its emphasis on strong melodies.
Much of the other instrumental compositions feature similar influences, but ZIZZ Studio is still able to keep things fresh. For example, “forester” is a pleasant variation on the typical starting off theme featured in most RPGs, with its calming grooves and scenic violin lead, and “Slicing the Wind” feels similarly liberating with its bluegrass-influenced violin leads. “Den of Evil” thrusts players into action with its brisk rhythms and wild wailing woodwinds, to great impact in and out of the game. Moving to the climax of the score, “Battlefield” takes things one step further with the addition of some thrashing guitars and “The Explosion” is reminiscent of Yasunori Mitsuda’s abstract climactic themes. In conventional but impressive fashion, the full sound version is closed by the sentimental orchestration “Distant Journey” and an elating vocal theme, “The Bonds Are Here”.
The 8bit version of the soundtrack, comprising the second disc, reduces the fully-fleshed instrumental renditions of the aforementioned themes into humble chiptunes. It’s fascinating to hear compositions such as “You’re a Treasure” and “Knight of the Foreign Country” in chiptune form and they still appeal thanks to their strong melodies. It’s nevertheless quite clear from the somewhat hollow sound created in the reductions of tracks such as “Crimson Moon Night” and “forester” that these compositions weren’t principally intended for 8bit sound and the full sound version certainly reflects ZIZZ Studio’s intentions better. Either way, the 8bit version still provides a fascinating new perspective on already multifaceted compositions.
The 8bit sound version of Classic Dungeon has a very different sound to other retro soundtracks in recent years, such as Etrian Odyssey and 3D Dot Game Heroes. The samples used here are just like those from the days of the NES — raw, choppy, and limited — and they are not enhanced or smoothed over in any way. This won’t necessarily appeal to all, but it’s potentially appealing to hear the compositions in these unglorified forms. When coupled with the game, it makes the experience feel even more authentic and nostalgic. There are still those out there who prefer chiptunes to streamed music, so this sound version may prove particularly valuable for them.
Overall, the Classic Dungeon ~Magic Team Assistance~ Original Soundtrack is highly impressive. Although clearly based on RPG norms, the full sound version refreshingly deviates from them with its South American influence and wonderful implementation. The 8bit sound version meanwhile is an interesting addition that will either be supplementary or definitive, depending on the listening. Those looking for a classic dungeon crawler score with several twists should not hesitate to pick this album up.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.