sanodg’s Arcade Game Music Works
sanodg’s Arcade Game Music Works
June 25, 2014
Buy at Amazon Japan
sanodg’s arcade game music works features some of Nobuyoshi Sano’s earlier works in the gaming industry, all composed for Namco’s arcade games popular at the time. Featuring four soundtracks to 1993’s Numan Athletics, 1994’s Mach Breakers, 1995’s Dunk Mania, and 1998’s Gunmen Wars, the first three of which are sports games, there is certainly a plethora of styles to be found on the album, but how do they translate today compared to other classic gaming soundtracks of the past?
The Numan Athletics soundtrack definitely features a style reminiscent of his work for the early Ridge Racer games and his work as a Sampling Masters. In contrast to typical sports game soundtracks, much of the soundtrack features a techno soundtrack reminiscent of the early 90’s rave style dance music of the underground scene. It’s a soundtrack full of energy and, while no one track really stands out, as all are quite short, in my opinion, there is definitely a cohesive and strong sound that was quite innovative for its time in the world of gaming. After all, together with Shinji Hosoe’s F/A, this was one of the first soundtracks of this sort of its time. For fans of Sano’s early Ridge Racer music, this is definitely a soundtrack that you might appreciate, even if many of the tracks are very short in length.
The soundtrack to Numan Athletics’ sequel Mach Breakers, although short, provides a pretty enjoyable listening experience. “Opening” features an exhilarating atmosphere, but also one that provides a nice contrast between the fast tempo beat and the ethereal synthesizer in the background. There is also a Machinpou version featured as well that sounds slightly crisper. “Exhibition” is more percussion heavy with a nice synth melody, although it isn’t the strongest of tunes on the album, as it does repeat quite often during its short play time. “Michael Fletcher BGM” is another short tune that features a quirky soundscape and odd vocal effects.
The Dunk Mania soundtrack is quite different to most of the soundtrack as it features a jazzier sound and features instrumental synth, rather than purely electronic synthesizer tones. “GAME1” and “GAME3” have really wonderful atmospheres, thanks to their strong melodies and accompaniment. “GAME2” and takes a bit more of a funk approach and I really enjoy the mix of electronic tones and more organic sections as they really fit well together and create a pretty relaxing environment. “GAME4” has an almost acid jazz sort of sound that fits in well with the rest of the soundtrack. In particular, the bass has a slick groove that really pulls the rest of the piece together. Similarly, “GAME5” takes on a nice funky approach as well, but the highlight here is definitely the jazzy vocal samples thrown into the mix combined with the driving rhythm and piano that really set the piece apart from other tracks on the album. That said, “GAME6A” feels a bit out of place on the soundtrack, blending acid jazz with strings and synthesizer melodies, while “GAME6B” is a short piece that doesn’t give any time to develop.
Composed significantly later than the other tracks, the brief soundtrack to Gunmen Wars features a mix of substantial themes as well as shorter filler themes. “ATTRACT 1” is definitely one of the stronger pieces on the soundtrack. It manages to create a nice intense dance beat with a retro flair as well as provide some nice atmospheric synthesizer in the melody that stands out in contrast with the accompaniment. “GAME #1,” “GAME #2,” and “GAME #3” have a really smooth sound thanks to its strong synthesizer melodies and solid implementation. As the tracks progress, there is a short chiptune bridge, although I don’t find these section nearly as engaging as the lush soundscapes present during most of the tunes. Out of all three tunes, I definitely find the melody in “GAME #3” the most engaging and certainly the highlight of the soundtrack.
In the end, sanodg’s arcade game music works provides a varied listening experience. While many of the tracks on the album are short and may be classified as filler, the overall experience is definitely a positive one. There are classic retro inspired themes, themes that take on a jazzier sound, as well as ones dedicated to the early dance music of the 90s. For fans of retro game soundtracks, or those interested in hearing some of Nobuyoshi Sano’s earliest game compositions, there is definitely something for you on this albums. This is a well-prepared and complete compilation of tracks, most of which had never been previously released before.
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Posted on June 19, 2014 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on June 18, 2014.