PAC-MAN Championship Edition Soundtracks

 pacman cover Album Title:
PAC-MAN Championship Edition Soundtracks
Record Label:
Sweep Record
Catalog No.:
SRIN-1147
Release Date:
April 4, 2017
Purchase:
Buy at CD Japan

Overview

The PAC-MAN Championship Edition Soundtracks, released by Supersweep, contains the music for the digital games, PAC-MAN Championship Edition, PAC-MAN Championship Edition DX, and PAC-MAN Championship Edition 2, featuring music by current and former Namco composers, including Taku Inoue, Hiroshi Okubo, AJURIKA, Hiroyuki Kawada, among others. How do the overall soundtracks turn out?

Body

The first disc of the soundtrack actually contains the music for the second game. Opening with “2nd Entrance,” Taku Inoue provides a dance tune featuring a fun atmosphere and plenty of sound effects. It doesn’t stand out as much as other tunes on the soundtrack, but is an enjoyable listen. Taku Inoue also provides two stage themes on the soundtrack. “Pac Madness” is a personal favorite, featuring a beautiful synth melody over top a house beat. The synth effects really help give it a memorable touch while the additional edgier synths and buildups help give it a bit of a rave sound. However, the crowning aspect of the tune is definitely the synth solo, providing a nice retro flair to the mix while still sounding modern. “Pac Toy-Box” blends funky synths, fun drum rhythms, bubbly melodies, some jazzy piano, and retro elements. It’s a bright and cheerful tune that really manages to succeed. Hiroshi Okubo contributes two tunes to the soundtrack with “Pac is Pac” and “Pac Drive.” The former features funky guitar, synth and 8-bit effects among a dance beat. It has a real Ridge Racer vibe to it, but suffers from repetition a bit. The latter also sports a Ridge Racer-esque sound, but with more of a dance feel. It’s progression is worth noting and is certainly more engaging than his other contribution.

AJURIKA’s “Pac Jump Up!” is a tune that is saved by the melodic focus of the tune, as the accompanying beat don’t do much and becomes fairly stale over time. There are plenty of great synth runs and a catchy melody that help provide a lot of variety to the piece as a whole. His “Pac Oi Oi Oi” is a drum n’ bass style tune with some dubstep elements thrown in. The energy of this piece is certainly rave-like, providing an exhilarating sound, that complements the melody quite nice. Hiroyuki Kawada provides a more minimalist approach. “Horinesian Sundance” features a beautiful synth atmosphere, light drum n’ bass elements, and a minimalist approach to melody. However, the overall piece is still quite successful, giving off a playful, yet relaxed, tropical vibe. His other contribution, “Pac Tronica,” has more of a retro flavor, incorporates the classic Pac-Man tunes quite well, boasts an excellent melody, while staying with a more minimalist electronica approach.

The remaining tracks are handled by various artists. “Pac Level Cap,” by Mitsuhiro Kitadani, is certainly one of the highlights of the first disc. It’s a quite varied electronic tune, featuring an excellent melody, bright synths, glitchy synths, retro sounds, and jazzy elements, such as piano. The end result is an extremely fun tune with some equally enjoyable synth solos. “Pac Baby,” by Ryo Watanabe, has a disco funk sound, with plenty of brass, bass, jazzy piano chords, and strings. The piece is quite fun and the melody certainly stands out. LindaAI-CUE’s “Galaga35;2281” is a modern, yet retro feeling, remix of music from Galaga. There are some industrial tones and some space-like tones rather than a dance vibe that a lot of the pieces go for. It certainly stands out for that reason. Lastly, Rio Hamamoto’s “Boss Music” has a Tekken vibe to it with a brooding elecctronic sound featuring heavy distortion, drum n’ bass elements. It’s a decent tune, but certainly nothing groundbreaking.

The second disc features music from the first game and its enhanced version. The original music, “Pac Man CE BGM,” composed by Junko Ozawa, has a minimalist flair to it with its ambient approach, but there isn’t anything particularly exciting about it. The “Entrance” music, composed by Taku Inoue, takes a similar approach to the “2nd Entrance,” or rather vice versa, with its funky sounds. There is also a remix of this tune, “Re-Entrance,”takes the original version and extends it and adds some additional synths in the melody line. It certainly adds some variety to the piece, but doesn’t come off as one of the strongest pieces on the second disc.

Taku Inoue contributes two other stage themes to this disc as well. The first, “Pac Avenue,” has a softer, minimalist sound. The tune itself is a bit of a slow burner, adding a more melodic focus as it progresses, giving the tune a bit of a chill vibe throughout. His other tune, “Pac Step,” is, by far, my favorite tune of the entire release. The entire piece is bright, cheerful, and incorporates dubstep elements, albeit in a unique way. Rather than going for the typical wobble, although they are present in a lighter form to some degree, the dubstep elements sound as if they are coming from a distorted acoustic guitar, giving the piece a bit of a warmth that complements the beautiful strings melody and light drum n’ bass percussion quite wonderfully.

Hiroyuki Kawada’s “Pac Logic” takes on a minimalist approach as well, featuring a deep beat. It isn’t the most exciting piece, but does incorporate some of the classic Pac-Man tunes and other retro effects. His other contribution, “Rally-X A Go Go” also has a minimalist electronic presence to it, however, sounds more like a classic arcade tune due to the focus of the 8-bit melody. A similar approach is taken by Ryo Watanabe with his “Dig Renaissance,” incorporating some light electronic elements to a primarily 8-bit focused piece of music. Lastly, AJURIKA and Hiroshi Okubo each contribute a tune. The former’s “Pac Rainbow” is done in a psytrance style and incorporates a fun melody, retro sound effects, and has a ton of energy. The latter’s ‘Pac Dimensions” has a bit of a tech house flair to it with heavy beats, a spacey effect in the melody, which in and of itself is a play on the original arcade melody, adding reverb and other effects. The end result for both makes for an enjoyable listen.

Summary

The Pac-Man Championship Edition Soundtracks is a great compilation of the music for the digital titles released for both current and former Xbox and Playstation variants, as well as the Nintendo 3DS. While not every tune is the most innovative or exciting, the production values are still quite high and work well within the game and as background music. The varied approach makes for a diverse listen so fans of Namco’s electronic artists will certainly find something to enjoy here, especially if they prefer the more lighthearted approaches to the electronic genres as opposed to some of the heavier hitting music currently used in their flagship fighting series.

 

PAC-MAN Championship Edition Soundtracks Don Kotowski

Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!

4.5


Posted on August 10, 2017 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on August 10, 2017.

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About the Author

Currently residing in New York, I spend my days working in antibody therapeutics and dedicate some of my spare time in the evening to the vast world of video game music, both reviewing soundtracks as well as maintaining relationships with composers overseas in Europe and in Japan.



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