The Scheme Soundtrack
The Scheme Soundtrack
Scitron Digital Contents
August 21, 2002
Buy Used Copy
Yuzo Koshiro isn’t a stranger to the world of video games. In fact, he’s been there since the beginning of their popularity. His most popular works are comprised of the ActRaiser, Streets of Rage, and early Ys series. However, he’s also done a myriad of other works ranging from Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin to the Wangan Midnight series. He’s also a master of various styles, which can be seen in the soundtracks mentioned. However, The Scheme is probably the soundtrack that put on him on the map as this was his first big freelance composition. Its soundtrack was released just a little after The Revenge of Shinobi‘s in December 1989, but was reprinted in 2002 by Scitron Digitial Contents with a few changes here and there. How does it compare to some of his more popular works and is it worth listening to this album? You’ll just have to read on to find out.
This particular album is comprised of a duality of sorts. There are tracks that are featured in both Sound Board II chip tune format and their original synth format, while each sound version also has their own unique tracks. The first half of the album is in chip tune format, while the latter half is comprised of the original music.
The first half of the soundtrack, in my opinion, is the better half of the soundtrack. I rather prefer the simple chip tune versions of the tracks, rather than the originals, because they seem to have a bit more motivation and power behind them. However, despite this chip tune greatness, there are a few tracks that don’t really stand out. “Shout Down” is a track that definitely has some nice development going for it, but when you rely on chip tune for sound, the melody is of importance if you want to make a lasting track. To me, this track doesn’t really provide much impetus for continued listening, but it is a nice track overall. Another track with some nice developments, but a rather weak chip tune is “Death World.” Here, I think a bit of the sinisterness heard in the original is lost; however, it does manage to retain some of that feel.
On the other hand, the chip tune section also offers a lot of stellar tracks. For example, “Into the Lair” wasn’t included in the synth section, but it has a nice jazzy feel with a pretty decent melody. “Perpetual Dark!” is probably my second favorite piece on the album. It’s got a nice motivating melody, which is also infectiously catchy, and a nice overall feel to the track. It’s something truly magical! “Challenging Tomorrow” is another favorite of mine. While it follows the same pattern as the other catchy tracks on the album, this one seems to develop a bit better. I love the melody the most, though. It sounds very Mega Man-like, which is never a bad thing. My favorite theme, though, is “Thousand Eyes.” While some may find it less developed than “Challenging Tomorrow,” the composition itself makes up for that. The melody is extremely catchy and I love the overall feel of the track. It just has an aura about that makes you want to listen to it over and over again.
As mentioned before, the synthesized versions of some of the tracks mentioned above don’t sound as good as their simpler counterpart. Examples of these include “Perpetual Dark!” and “The Force Rotted Away – Thousand Eyes.” While the tracks themselves contain the same strong melody as before, I feel that the choice of instrumentation seems to weaken the overall effect of these tracks. The pseudo-trance style of “Perpetual Dark!” makes the track seem extremely light in atmosphere and really doesn’t provide the oomph the other had. As for “Thousand Eyes,” it’s not as bad as “Perpetual Dark!” was but my gripe here is the percussion. By adding a steady percussion line with the occasional accent, there are some sections of the track where percussion in the chip tune version shines and is absent in this version. They’re still enjoyable, but nothing to get excited over.
On the other hand, “I’ll Save You All My Justice” is actually a better representation than its sound board version counterpart. While it can get a bit old after a while, this version is much better. The melody is accentuated by the percussion line and the development in this version is superb since so many different synth styles are used. It’s truly a feast for the ears. As previously mentioned, the “Death World” piece sounds extremely sinister and, while short and simple, provides an interesting contrast to the peppy soundtrack provided. While the original version isn’t the best, it still has its moments.
The Scheme is definitely an interesting soundtrack. While I prefer the chip tune to the synth version, others may think differently. Either way, there is something here for everyone, between the infectiously catchy melodies or the contrast between versions. I think most people will enjoy this and will be able to understand how this soundtrack pretty much put Koshiro on the map for freelance work despite the obscurity of the actual game.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on August 1, 2012.