Nintendo World Cup Arrange Album
Nintendo World Cup Arrange Album (Nekketsu High School Dodgeball Club Soccer Edition)
June 21, 1990
Buy Used Copy
To me, the Japanese Kunio-kun series has always been 50% action games and 50% sports games. As one of the longest running video game series out there, it really surprises me that the franchise still manages to hold my interest. Each title is always able to bring something new to the table, and I never tire of it. With so many games, there have been several soundtrack releases; and to tie in with Nekketsu Kōkō Dodgeball Bu: Soccer Hen (here to us as Nintendo World Cup), a special album on both cassette tape and compact disc was released containing remixed music by Time in Motions. Does this album bring anything worthwhile?
The original soundtrack to Nintendo World Cup was never long or extravagant to begin with. With this album having a runtime of 40 minutes (no seriously, it’s exactly 40 minutes), I was wondering how the arrangers could take such basic themes and turn it into a full-fledged album. The first track “Hotblooded BAD BOY -Female Vocal Version” automatically screams of 1980s sports music. It’s relentlessly cheesy and sounds like it would fit perfectly with any sports montage. From the 80s styled synth, to the upbeat Japanese vocals, and rocking electric guitar, it’s the perfect opener. I think that it was intentionally made this way in order to match the competitive nature of the Kunio-kun series. If you can tolerate its cheese factor, it definitely is a must-listen and is the stand-out track on this album.
We then get to the bulk of the album with arrangements of the game’s music. “On the Street (Campus Conversation)” has its roots in the bell chimes of the Big Ben clock tower. It takes this basic theme and works with it throughout the track. The added synths and electric guitar again make it feel like a theme straight from the 80s. The interestingly-titled “Copulation (Classroom Conversation)” contains techno-inspired flavorings in its backing and jazzy saxophone solos for its main melody. Unfortunately, I found the overall mixing to be unbalanced. First off, the synth is pretty outdated to say the least. It also drowns out the saxophone, making it way too quiet. “Blue Angel (Title & Select)” is a remixing of the title theme in big band jazz format. The main theme is played on keyboard while synth jazz and hard rock provide extra backing. Just like the original, it’s a fast-paced, blood-pumping track that makes you want to start another intense game of soccer. A very fitting and inspired arrangement.
The original match themes in the game were short and effective tracks that got more intense as the tournament continued. For this album, they have been turned into much longer tracks that can really be listened in any order. “Ego Games (Match Group A)” is a mellow piece that once again relies on 80s synth as its bread and butter. You’ve probably guessed by now, but this is the main style of music on this album. The keyboard and percussion sections added more variety to this track. The use of old school synth continues with the other match themes. “Joy Pop (Match Group B),” like the title perhaps unintentionally implies, is a piece very reminiscent of 1980s pop music. It’s shamelessly retro-inspired and techno, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing as I enjoyed the upbeat melody. “Turn Over (Match Group C),” while also techno, is more “serious” if lack of a better word. In addition to the main techno synth, there are also electronic blips of sound. While obviously completely synthesized, the mixing is actually quite good and unpredictable.
The weakest of these themes is “Flash (Match Group D),” which I did not enjoy in the slightest. The overall track is very repetitive, no matter how creative they try to be with the mixing. The final match theme “Up Tight (Final Match, Versus Shimanchu Industrial High School)” contains the intense qualities of the original theme, while utilizing the newer techno synth to make the theme upbeat and inspired at the same time. With the final track “Laugh In (Character Introduction),” the album simply just ends, and not very effectively. I didn’t really like the overall melody or the outdated synth. The arrangers should have chosen to make a new version of the game’s ending theme instead.
This album has a lot of good things going for it, but it definitely feels outdated. Whether or not you want this soundtrack depends on if you enjoy 1980s techno-themed music. I enjoyed some of the pieces here, especially the first track, but the rest leaves this album as a mixed bag. This is an album that doesn’t take itself seriously, and instead focuses on more relaxing, upbeat music. Pair this with the full Kunio-kun Music Collection and they both complement each other nicely. However, with this being a much older release, it can be quite difficult to find. Overall, a fun album that contains some winners and some losers.
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Posted on June 30, 2015 by Oliver Jia. Last modified on June 29, 2015.