World 1-2: The Complete Collection
World 1-2: The Complete Collection
September 16, 2013
Buy at Official Site
The World 1-2: The Complete Collection is a compilation album from Brave Wave featuring the original World 1-2 as well as World 1-2: Encore in a limited edition three disc set. Featuring original music and remixes from both popular video game composers, as well as various indie composers, the album offers a variety of styles and pays tribute to a variety of game tunes. It’s also a highly international production, boasting talents from musicians from four continents. How does the production turn out? As there is a tonne of content and styles here, it’s not possible for me to discuss absolutely everything. HOwever, I tried to pick some tunes that were representative of the various genres one might expect on the album.
Among the original tracks, the album opens up with “Waldfest.” Composed by Andi Bissig, it is a moody tune to open up the album that definitely gives off an organic vibe. While not the most exciting track piece on the album, it definitely boasts a strong progression that moves from an orchestral tone to a more percussive one. “Circles,” composed by Austin Wintory and featuring Tina Guo, is a very atmospheric piece with poignant violin lines. However, as the piece comes to a close, the strings take on a more playful approach that works well with the ethereal vocals featured throughout. “Tokyo Skies,” composed by Chipzel, is a chiptune piece that gives off a great energy with its dance vibe and strong melody. I’ve always enjoyed Chipzel’s work and this one is no exception.
“One Shot, One Kill,” composed by Manami Matsumae is a brilliant tune that features a nice blend of modern and chiptune sounds. It sounds like it would fit perfectly in a modern Mega Man game, although it could also be retrofitted for a classic game as well, since both aspects are there. It’s a fun, bubbly tune with a catchy melody and is definitely a highlight on the album. The “Revisited” version found towards the end of the release is arranged by Matsumae herself represents the modern sound featured on the original. Gone are the chiptunes, replaced with synth and an electric guitar accompaniment. I don’t find it as charming as the original, but the core song is still there in all its glory so for those who don’t enjoy chiptunes, this one might be more fitting. “Memories of T,” composed by Ninja Gaiden’s Keiji Yamagishi, is another chiptune piece that really gives off a Megaman vibe to me. The melody and accompaniment would definitely fit in the retro universe quite well with its bright and bubbly sounds.
One of several vocal tracks on the album, Avco’s “Miasma Rising” is a rather beautiful tune that has a nice rustic flair to it. The acoustic guitar combined with the vocals give it a bit of a Shadow Hearts vibe, but the other orchestral components give it a bit of a forlorn sound. “Rose Cat,” composed by Akira Yamaoka, features a nice classic rock ballad sound that reminds me of his work on Shadow of the Damned with its acoustic guitar work and atmosphere. Overall, it is a wonderful tune that really manages to play to Yamaoka’s strength at writing for guitar as the powerful riffs and lead guitar definitely help provide a satisfying experience.
“The Cold Ruins of a Once Great City” is a take on “Phendrana Drifts” from Metroid Prime. While the original was quite peaceful in nature, ABSRDST’s imagined version is an interesting blend of chiptune, dark atmospheres, and a modern electronic vibe. It is quite exquisite. “Phendrana Drifts” makes another appearance in “Hot Machine, Cold Surface,” a remix by FTL‘s Ben Prunty. While the first version on this album is a bit on the darker side, this version focuses on the beauty of the original with its stunning crystalline soundscape and piano. There is definitely some energy heard in the track, particularly when the drums and heavier electronic tones are introduced, but they almost feel like an afterthought as I find the serenity of the rest of the arrangement to be the star attraction. The Metroid series gets another remix, “Descent,” by Monomirror; an arrangement of the main theme from Metroid and Super Metroid, it features a dark and brooding atmosphere that would fit the game quite well. I love the rhythm in the accompaniment as I feel it brings a lot of power to the mix, especially in conjunction with the melody.
halc offers three remixes on the album, which vary in their success in my opinion. “Blooper Reeling,” from Super Mario World, is a take on the underwater theme from Super Mario World. It’s a nice blend of sounds with a chiptune lead and a funky bass line that helps retain the tone of the original, but also provide a bit more of a modern take. Not my favorite arrangement on the album, but it does manage to provide an entertaining listen. halc’s take on “Trisection” from Final Fantasy Tactics, as the title implies, features a dubstep heavy tune mixed with a chiptune rendition of the melody of the tune it is paying tribute too. However, I feel that this remix is one of the weaker ones on the album; while the chiptune is fine, I find the dubstep section to be a distraction to the piece as it sounds a bit amateurish at times and clashes, at least in its implementation here, with the melody. Lastly, his version of “Blizzard Buffalo Stage” from Megaman X3, titled “Blast Radius” features a beautiful crystalline synth combined with a dubstep sound. Unlike his version of “Trisection,” I find the dubstep here to be more fitting with the track, especially since it doesn’t dominate the track.
Other iconic series also get the remix spotlight. “The Night Fighter,” a remix of “Ryu’s Theme” from Street Fighter II done by Module, known for his work on Shatter. It’s an interesting remix, although not a favorite either. The edginess of the electronic/rock accompaniment provides a bit of a dark tone; however, I think that the lead melody, comprised of distorted vocals doesn’t really do the original justice. “A Crook Man’s Eyes,” an arrangement of “Darkman Stage” from Mega Man 5 by Nightswim is a rock oriented arrangement with a violin lead. It doesn’t do anything particularly original, but it is an enjoyable take on the original. “My Kind of Blues,” an arrangement of Proto Man’s theme from Megaman 3 by AES, is a jazz blues take on the iconic theme. It has a very lounge atmosphere and a bit of a smoky vibe to it. The piano definitely makes the arrangement in my eyes with its strong focus, although the saxophone and percussion also play a part in the overall success of the arrangement.
Cory Johnson’s take on “Gerudo Valley,” from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, titled “The Gerudo Ritual,” manages to keep some of the charm of the original through the playful Spanish flair of the electric guitar. In addition, there is a bit of a pleasant funk section towards the end of the arrangement that I find to be much more appealing. “Victory,” arranged by Video Game Orchestra is a medley of a variety of tunes from Captain Tsubasa 2. It pays tribute to a variety of rock styles, opening with a very progressive rock sound thanks to the prominent keyboard, bass, and drums before moving onto a more classic rock approach complete with a piano interlude. Following that, there is an upbeat pop rock style with a touch of orchestral that ends the tune on a high note. Lastly, “Primal Perspective,” a medley of a few themes from Parasite Eve by Xavier “mv” Dang, is an interesting blend of styles, ranging from a bit of drum n’ bass to orchestral and rock. It really complements the dark feel of the original quite nicely and closes the album on a high note.
While not every original or remix is particularly successful, there is a plethora of styles, artists, and tunes on this album. Combined with high production values, an interesting concept, and plenty of nostalgia, this album is very worthy of a listen, in my opinion. In the end, I think that the World 1-2: The Complete Collection is the definitive edition to own, rather than purchasing the individual albums of which this comprises; after all, the complete collection fully captures just how encompassing this international collaboration is. The album can be downloaded through Bandcamp or, even better, purchased as a limited edition physical album for the same price.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on September 4, 2014 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on September 4, 2014.