DoDonPachi & E.S.P. RaDe
DoDonPachi & E.S.P. RaDe
Scitron Digital Contents
November 6, 1998
Buy Used Copy
Back in the late 1980s, now-defunct developer Technos Japan popularised the beat ’em up genre with Renegade (aka Nekketsu Kouha Kunio Kun) and Double Dragon for the Neo Geo. The latter, in particular, spawned various console ports and countless imitations such as Capcom’s Final Fight, Sega’s Street of Rage, and Konami’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Blending rock and funk stylings, its soundtrack also captured the urban vibe of the game and proved quite popular too. The Double Dragon album features the music from the arcade game, featuring compositions by Kiyomi Kataoka, Chiaki Iizuka, Reiko Uehara, and Fumio Suzuki. How does this album turn out and is it worth picking up?
In Neo Geo tradition, the soundtrack consists primarily of character themes. “True Fighter” sets the tone of the soundtrack with the theme for the main character, Billy Lee. Ahead of its time, the track boasts rich funk stylings and excellent implementation. The upbeat piano work and playful rhythms, combined with the strong melody, really help to sell the track and make for an extremely powerful listen. The portrayal of his villainous brother Jimmy, “The Elder Son is Heart-Broken”, is a more intense synth rock tune. It boasts a powerful upbeat melody, a heavy focus on percussion, and some interesting bass rhythms. It’s definitely one of the highlights on the album.<
Less impressive is the theme for Billy’s kidnapped girlfriend Marian, “I Will Punish Those Who Bully the Weak”. It definitely has a playful vibe, but I would expect to hear this in something like a Sonic the Hedgehog game rather than a beat-em-up game.
While dated by today’s standards, it was amazing for 1987. /p>
“Power Transform (Double Dragon Theme)” is a smooth jazz rendition of the iconic title theme. While I much prefer it in rock renditions, I think this version is definitely an interesting take and the woodwind sections give it a nice airy sound. (Marian’s Theme)” is one of the weaker themes on the album I feel.
“Fighting ABOBO (Abobo’s Theme)” is an intense theme that boasts a lot of power. While it doesn’t feature the strongest melody, the strong atmosphere, rock vibe, and industrial percussion really helps solidify the fact you are facing an admirable foe. “Bloody Meat Bomb (Burnov’s Theme)” is a very powerful speed metal theme that conveys a lot of powerful. However, for the most part, it’s largely forgettable. Fortunately, the incorporation of a short guitar lead helps break the monotony.
“One Kick (Eddie’s Theme)” is a heroic synth rock vibe with some fantastic jazzy Latin percussion and piano lines. It’s one of the more memorable tunes on the soundtrack. “Chi Nen Nin (Amon’s Theme)” is a bit more mysterious in nature, but it does provide a lot of energy. One of the strong points of this piece is definitely the heavy emphasis on percussion, although the Asian inspired woodwind melody is also quite nice. “Suihassenken (Cheng Fu’s Theme)” is similarly in approach. It still features a mysterious atmosphere, but I find the woodwind melody extremely powerful. It has an airiness to it that really works with the groovy percussion. This is definitely one of the highlights on the soundtrack. “Kochinda (Rebecca’s Theme)” is another theme that focuses on an Asian inspired woodwind melody and groovy bass line. It’s quite a powerful piece and the addition of some synthesizer leads helps give it a bit of a different flavor than the other Asian themed compositions.
“Shadow Assassin (Duke’s Theme)” is a sinister theme that focuses on plenty of keyboard runs and a pulsing accompaniment. It’s not the strongest of themes, but it manages to convey a sense of urgency. “Dark Master (Shuko’s Theme)” is another extremely dark theme that manages to convey a real sense of omen.
What I really enjoy about this piece is the mysterious piano lead with the sinister percussion that accompanies it. “Tomorrow Looks Like a Fine Day (Ending Theme 1)” is a rustic theme that signifies the end of an arduous journey. I really like the combination of strings and harmonica in this tune as it gives it a bit of a Western vibe. Lastly, “Moon in the Factory (Ending Theme 2)” is an extremely celebratory and vibrant theme that works well as the staff roll theme and has a bit of an 80s vibe going for it.
In the end, I think that the Double Dragon album is quite successful. While only a few of the themes are real highlights, there are also only a few themes that really fail to hit the mark. If you are a fan of the music for this game as you played it, I’d definitely recommend it for purchase. However, if you are unfamiliar with the music, you might enjoy it if you like synth rock with a variety of influences. (7/10)
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on August 1, 2012.