G-LOC, R360, Virtua Racing / Yu Suzuki Produce
Yu Suzuki Produce G-LOC / R360 / Virtua Racing
February 18, 1998
Buy Used Copy
The ‘Yu-Suzuki Produce’ sound series was rounded off in February 1998 with a dedication to the air combat game G-LOC and the driving game Virtua Racing, both created for the Arcade in the early 90s. The album features the original scores to G-LOC, its adaptation for the R360 unit, and Virtua Racing, but lacks any arranged tracks. While the games are memorable items in Sega’s collection, were the scores as good? There’s no easy way of saying this, so I’ll keep it simple — the scores are not very good.
The first half of the album features Yasuhiro Takagi’s soundtracks to the original and R360 versions of G-LOC. “BGM A”, “BGM B”, and “BGM C” all seem ideal for aerial combat with their punchy chord progressions, rocking backing, and fast-paced treble frills. However, none of these tracks are particularly developed or appealing with the possible exception of the relatively catchy “BGM C”. “BGM D” is a little different with its funk emphasis, but is little more than a 39 second jingle. Unfortunately, the other tracks fail to redeem the soundtrack. “Dogfight of Ravine” is somehow dragged out to 2:43, but the majority of the track revolves around a few basic chord progressions on low quality synth. “Ground Attack” and “Last Mission” have a little more substance to them, the former featuring a particularly rousing melody and the latter being dominated by rhythmically compelling riffs. However, it’s too little too late. All that is left among the original exclusive tracks are three fanfares, two of which weren’t used.
The tracks shared between the original and R360 versions of R-LOC aren’t much better. “Opening”, “Congratulations”, and “Landing” may loop every 15 seconds, but at least their main ideas are inspired by the catchy spirit of old-school game music. “Landing” also loops after 15 seconds. In contrast, “Continue” doesn’t have much of a soul at all reverts back to the focus on basic ascending chord progressions yet again. “Name Entry” at least builds on its focal idea before looping and sets a relatively laidback feel at the end of the game. The sole R360 exclusive, Takenobu Mitsuyoshi’s “Earth Frame G”, is by far the best composition on the soundtrack. However, that’s largely because it is well-assembled compilation of a few ideas, combining warm anthemic sections with intense orch hit infestations, fast-paced improvisations with light-hearted interludes. Note the sound effects and voice collections for these soundtracks are at the end of the soundtrack.
The Virtua Racing score at the end of the album doesn’t have many highlights either. The music for the game is used during the menus and passing through checkpoints, though there isn’t any background music during the main gameplay. As a result, listeners are left with only a few modest highlights. The thematically continuous “Waiting Your Entry” and “Course Select” are enjoyable enough with their respective rock and new age emphasis. The reflective “Name Entry” and “Congratulations 2” are also nostalgic pieces at the end of the game, though they don’t exceed a minute each. What might be described as filler themes on most soundtracks are actually the main highlights here. The rest of the soundtrack is a series of fanfares between ten to select lap used for the class, extend time, and best lap. Mitsuyoshi certainly has a flair for jingle writing, but most won’t find them worthwhile listening to outside the game. This is the case for the rest of the score, in fact, which is best purely a contextual experience.
The last in the ‘Yu-Suzuki Produce’ series is also the weakest. The G-LOC soundtrack is dominated by generic and underdeveloped chiptune tracks. The Virtua Racing soundtrack is even more limited since the majority of the tracks are just jingles used sparingly in the game. The only excellent track is “Earth Frame G” and everything else ranges from bad to mediocre. Having selected two of the most limited scores of Sega’s Arcade days, Suzuki wasn’t prepared to redeem the soundtrack by licensing an arranged version. The resultant album is therefore only suitable for those who especially enjoyed the music in the games or have an inclination underdeveloped chiptunes and brief jingles. It won’t satisfy even hardcore Takenobu Mitsuyoshi fans or those who enjoyed Sega’s earlier flying and racing soundtracks.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.