June 21, 1990
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The Game Boy spinoff Red Arremer Makaimura Gaiden (aka Gargoyle’s Quest) received a self-titled arranged album in 1990. One of the rarer items in Capcom’s discography and probably a follow-up on Sweet Home‘s arranged album, it was also the only musical commemoration of the Makaimura Gaiden mini-series until 2005’s Makaimura Music Collection. Composed and probably arranged by Yuki Iwai (née Satomura), the arranged album features a best selection of the title’s original music enhanced with reasonable new synth and straightforward arrangements in rock, ambient, and Baroque styles. Is it a worthy addition to the Makaimura / Ghosts ‘n Goblins series?
The first 80 seconds of the “Prologue” are dedicated to dark ambient soundscapes built with faint suspended strings and wind sound effects. The introduction of a light bass line and drum kit leads into a repeated straightforward rendition of the “Title Screen” theme on a synthesized harpsichord. It retains some of the melancholic tones of the original, though the poppish backing and eventual synth vocals show that it is mainly intended to be superficially entertaining rather than especially mature and emotional, much like the album as a whole.
“Nostalgia” opens with a rendition of the map theme “Hell Field” that indeed inspires one to contemplate with its rich violin melody against repeated detached string notes. The build-ups past the minute mark feel even more contrived than the derivative musicality elsewhere, but will still evoke emotions in some people. At the 1:30 mark, the piece takes an unexpected turn with a brisk rendition of the Baroque-influenced “Village” theme before recapitulating the “Hell Field” theme. Peculiarly, it concludes at 3:52 as with all the other arrangements in the album.
The rock element of the score is emphasised with the rendition of the portal theme in “Setting Off”. The whole arrangement is rhythmically focused and builds on a few motifs up to the climax marked by the introduction of a hard drum beat at 2:38. Following a slow atmospheric introduction, “Holy War” also displays light rock influence and shines in the passages featuring the “Big Tower Monster” melody. Despite stylistic continuity, the slow reflective rendition of the Baroque piece “Dark Road” is undermined by the cheesy rock beats in “Destruction King”.
The climax of the arranged album begins with the segue into the slightly sinister harpsichord dance “Great Hell ~ During the King’s Reign”, based on the palace entrance theme “Dark Road”. “Confrontation” begins with an action-packed rendition of the final dungeon theme “Breager Palace” and, following an eerie interlude, fluidly moves into an emotional rendition of the “King Breager” final battle theme and ends with further ambient sound effects. “Epilogue” is a straightforward if drawn out orchestration of the triumphant ending theme to leave the album on a high note.
Red Arremer Makaimura Gaiden features pleasant renditions of the best tracks on the soundtrack. Free from the limitations of the Game Boy’s synth, it reflects Yuki Iwai’s original intentions when composing the music and also adds new features to make the score more stylistically and thematically cohesive. It also allows listeners to reminisce over their experiences with the game by telling the story with a few cuts from beginning to end. Nevertheless, it is greatly limited by its half an hour length — featuring eight tracks of the same length and no original sound version. It also isn’t a particularly mature or creative arranged album and sounds like it has been put together in a few weeks. Overall, an enjoyable experience, but limited and disappointing too.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.