DoDonPachi Dai-Fukkatsu Original Soundtrack
DoDonPachi Dai-Fukkatsu Original Soundtrack
January 26, 2009
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Following the successful gothic influenced DeathSmiles, the next Cave shooter to be released was DoDonPachi Dai-Fukkatsu. Whereas DeathSmiles was a solo effort by Manabu Namiki, DoDonPachi Dai-Fukkatsu is composed by Manabu Namiki and relative newcomers to Basiscape, Azusa Chiba and Yoshimi Kudo. Featuring a highly futuristic soundtrack, how does it compare to DeathSmiles and, more importantly, previous DoDonPachi entries? There are a few interesting things about the DoDonPachi Dai-Fukkatsu Original Soundtrack. First, there is a definite main theme that is developed and reused over the course of the soundtrack. In addition, there are also the boss themes that bear mentioning, and thirdly, there are stage themes that develop upon the idea of the DeathSmiles‘s usage of themes between multiple stages.
The main theme can be heard in a variety of places. The first place it can be heard is “2008 AD, Tokyo”. Serving as the first stage theme, it brings to the table an idea how the rest of the soundtrack will sound. Bubbly synth melodies that are extremely catchy and capture the spirit of the series quite well can be heard throughout the piece. As I’ve said before, the first stage theme is one of the most important in shmups. They help set the tone for the entire soundtrack and they have to be engaging enough to tantalize the listener’s earbuds. Fortunately for this theme, it does a fantastic job. The usage of live guitar, which also occurred on DeathSmiles, is a welcome development tool and it also adds a nice bit of raw power and contrast to the light and bubbly melody.
Another place the main melody is heard is in the fifth stage theme, “The Battle Was Just ‘To Continue that Future'”. Sharing similarities with the first theme, it’s a fantastic stage theme that features a lovely piano rendition of the main theme over some light hearted yet epic synth work. Combine that will some intoxicating bass rhythms and you have a fantastic piece. It may be lacking the usage of live electric guitar melodies, but the entire piece gives off more of a hopeful atmosphere that seems to contemplate the future rather than an atmosphere that is pumped up and energetic. It’s one of my favorites on the album. Lastly, the main theme can be heard “Who Decided About ‘Dying Peacefully?'” While the piece opens with a beautiful piano and vocal arrangement of the main theme, it transforms into a more upbeat synth led melody that sums up the mood of the album quite well. The piano work is absolutely gorgeous and complements the vocal and synth portions of the piece perfectly, while at the same time, being strong enough to stand on its own. It’s a fantastic piece and I highly suspect this one was composed by one of the newcomers.
The boss themes on the soundtrack are full of variety and are easily some of my favorite shmup boss themes of all time. “Element Daughter” is used as one of the normal boss themes and is an extremely exhilarating experience that features live electric guitar to its fullest. Guitar riffs with some lovely synth undertones, combined with an excellent melody and a beautiful guitar solo really set the standard high when it comes to nice rockin’ battle themes. And, unlike some shmup boss themes, the melody is actually discernable! What a plus! The other normal boss theme, “Somebody, Stop Me” is a synth based battle theme that has a nice driving rhythm, some fantastic synth usage and some electric guitar undertones in the forms of some “screeching” effects. It’s not as engaging as “Element Daughter,” but it is a fantastic entry in the soundtrack.
The final boss theme, “Longhena Cantata,” is perhaps the most haunting of the battle themes. Haunting vocals dominate the piece overtop an extremely catchy industrial bass line rhythm. Throw in some “string-like synth” and the piece is sort of like a pseudo-classical piece that was amped up on steroids. It’s an extremely driving piece and I like the usage of vocals quite a bit. It really adds some character to the soundtrack. The true final boss theme sounds exactly as it is titled. “]-[|/34<#!" is easily the most intense of all the DoDonPachi true final boss themes. Pulsating bass, lots of vocal gibberish, and the faintest hint of electric guitar riffs (if you can discern them past the rest that is going on) make this one intense piece. It's quite a hard piece to listen to on its own, but it serves the purpose of the craziest battle in DoDonPachi history quite well.
Lastly, the remaining stage themes are worth a listen as well. Each stage theme for stages two through four come with an Obverse and a Reverse version. The Reverse versions are arrangements of the Obverse versions, and they usually throw in some electric guitar somewhere in the mix. The stage two theme, “Dividing Road of Fate,” is easily the most catchy of them all. It’s a creative mixture of a variety of synths and bass lines. The “chorus” of the theme is especially catchy with the use of echoing melodies. This is another one of those themes where I think a newcomer was the composer. It’s a fantastic romp that reminds me of “Sea of Frozen Crystals”. The reverse version of “Dividing Road of Fate,” features the same opening, but then slows the track down a bit, adds some electric guitar in terms of accompaniment and melody. Aside from that, there is very little difference between the two as the piece really focuses upon the original melody.
The stage three theme, “Twinkles in the Night Sky Enlighten the Future” is more trance-like in style. It features an awesome use of synth, almost crystalline in nature, over top a scrumptious electronica bass line. The melody is quite strong and does seem to invoke a sense of hope and adventure. It has a lot of variety within the track and it doesn’t get old. The reverse version adds a guitar line in the middle, but aside from that, it’s a rather similar version, moreso than “Dividing Road of Fate”. The stage four theme, “Darkening World,” differs greatly from the previous two stage themes. Rather than having a bubbly synth lead, it creates a very dark atmosphere via the use of industrial rhythms, some synth usage, and some wailing electric guitar. It’s easily the most rockin’ of the stage themes and while it doesn’t seem to have the energy the other stage themes have, it makes up for it in atmosphere. I also like some of the interlude sections as they help to create a semi-chaotic sound. The reverse version keeps the focus on the dark atmosphere of the original, but rather than throw in some additional electric guitar, it adds a piercing synth section that contrasts nicely with the synth and electric guitar heard previously. I also like how it’s a direct contrast to how the reverse versions of the prior two themes were implemented.
The DoDonPachi Dai-Fukkatsu Original Soundtrack is a very solid album. It features some of the best boss themes in a DoDonPachi game to date and manages to create some extremely memorable stage themes, as well as a main theme. My one gripe with this album is that the Reverse versions of the stage themes are, for the most part, replicas of the Obverse versions with only minor additions added into the mix. I’d have much preferred an arrangement of the theme from start to finish. That said, the album is an excellent addition to the DoDonPachi series and veteran Manabu Namiki, as well as newcomers Azusa Chiba and Yoshimi Kudo, crafts the finest DoDonPachi soundtrack to date. In my opinion, it’s not as good as Namiki’s last solo effort, but you won’t go away disappointed either.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on August 1, 2012.