Genpei Toumaden SOUND CHRONICLE
Genpei Toumaden SOUND CHRONICLE
June 30, 2017
Buy at CD Japan
The Genpei Toumaden SOUND CHRONICLE features music from the Namco side scrolling beat-em-up of the same name, originally released in 1986 for coin-op arcades and later brought to a variety of systems, such as the X68000. In addition to the original arcade soundtrack, the computer boardgame version is also included, an interactive boardgame that used the typical Famicom cartridge in order to play. To round out the release, there are a variety of arrangements, ranging from medleys to renditions of music used in other types of games, such as racing or rhythm games, that help pad out the release a bit more. The second disc on the release is a DVD that shows various promotional videos originally used when the game was first released. How does the end result turn out?
The first part of the album release is for the original arcade soundtrack. It opens with “Genpei Toumaden Theme,” a short Japanese ditty that serves as the main theme. Other tunes of note are “Lateral Mode,” a frenetic tune with a rock influence and Japanese instrumentation to create an engaging listen. “Big Mode” is a tense and dramatic piece with a militaristic influence and a Japanese style melody while “Plane Mode” is darker and more atmospheric in nature, focusing more on sharp synths and some minor quirks rather than a purely melody driven piece of music. “Yoshitsune” is another tune with an engaging melody and rhythm with Japanese instrumentation although does feel a bit repetitive. Another tune, “Yoritomo” is quite dark and tense, giving off a sense of chaos and urgency. “Bonus Stage” is another tune that features a traditional Japanese sound with an engaging melody and a light hearted sound. Lastly, “Ending” is a bit mysterious and gives off a sense of conclusion with its punchy synths.
The computer boardgame soundtrack incorporates some of the same styles as the arcade game. “Title BGM” uses the “Genpei Toumaden Theme” as its basis, giving it a nice tie-in with the original and also is a bit longer, helping with the development of the track. “Field BGM A” is a bright, Japanese inspired melody that retains the action-y qualities of the arcade soundtrack while “Battle BGM A” features the melody of “Lateral Mode” from the arcade version, but has a more developed sound overall. “Field BGM B” is a bit more mysterious, somewhat tense, but not as memorable as its A counterpart. The other battle music, “Battle BGM B,” “Battle BGM C”, and “Battle BGM D” offer a range of styles. The first, “Battle BGM B” uses the melody of “Yoshitsune” from the arcade version, while “Battle BGM C” and “Battle BGM D,” while also incorporating tunes from the original, offer less engaging listens, but does add to the tension. “Battle BGM E” also uses the melody of “Yoritomo” to create a similar feeling of chaos and tension to the original, but the dark tone of the original is lacking here due to the crisper chiptune sounds. “Castle BGM” is a tense tune that is quite engaging with its frenetic chord and sharp percussion hits that complement the melody quite nicely. Likewise, “Ending” retains the melody and feel of the arcade version, but is enhanced overall by the X68000 soundfonts.
There are also some arrangements to help pad out the release. The first is a 15 minute medley of various tunes on the arcade soundtrack by AQUA POLIS. The fusion of rock elements, such as the percussion, slap bass, and e. guitar complement the softer Japanese instruments and really manages to breath life into the originals quite nicely. It’s certainly one of the most memorable arrangements on the album. Second, there is the “Genpei Toumaden Game Room BGM (from Namco Museum Vol. 4), featuring a more sweeping orchestral tone while still retaining the Japanese influence of the melody. On the more minimalist side is “Samurai Rocket (from Ridge Racer V)” by Kohta Takahashi, fusing electronic and rock while keeping the melody in the background. It’s lost this way, but the tune is still quite engaging. Shinji Hosoe’s “Genpei Toumaden (from Technic Beat)” features a synth rock rendition of “Lateral Mode” that really manages to impress. Yuji Masubuchi’s ” KAGEKIYO -Genpei Toumaden Medley- (from Taiko no Tatsujin) is a rock and percussion heavy rendition that works well for the rhythm game it comes from and also manages to serve as an excellent standalone listen. Norio Nakagata also offers up a medley done with a synth/orchestral sound that complements the AQUA POLIS performance quite nicely. Lastly, Nakagata offers up another tune, “Last Theme – New Version” that is synthesized orchestral in nature with an extremely engaging melody and a bit of a Falcom-esque sound to it. It finishes up the album on a high note.
Admittedly, the music on Genpei Toumaden SOUND CHRONICLE is certainly going to polarize some people. The tunes present are short and there are plenty of duplicates between both versions. However, there is a different chipset on the second soundtrack, offering cleaner/crisper versions of the originals, but at the loss of the original’s atmosphere in some cases. The arrangements are certainly worth the investment though, featuring a wide range of game genres and styles, and certainly helps to elevate the album as a whole. If ordering from Supersweep, there is also a bonus CD that is included that features the AQUA POLIS medley with various tracks missing so that you can play along, if you so wish. There are also some Yuzo Koshiro arrangements, but they aren’t much different, both in length and sound, compared to the original, aside from a different chipset being used.
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Posted on September 12, 2017 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on September 12, 2017.