Tag Archives: Bandai Namco

Review: Star Fox Zero

Star Fox soundtracks are some of my favorites. Nintendo’s take on science fiction with majestic orchestra and electronic elements has been a treat since the original Star Fox on the SNES, and while the team at Bandai Namco was largely responsible for this soundtrack, I was curious to see how they’d treat the source material. Overall, it’s a rather grand and serious orchestral score with a lot of references to classic Star Fox themes, and I think anyone who played through the game was sure to enjoythe music.

The score overall is quite large and covers a lot of ground, making it even more unfortunate that Nintendo is unlikely to publish a soundtrack. I’ll simply call out some of my favorites that you may pay special attention to as you play through the game and hear them for yourself. Right out of the gate with the title theme, you get bombastic orchestra that sets the stage for an epic adventure in space. I got an immediate kick out of the theme that plays when you complete training, as it’s glorious and triumphant, working in the Star Fox theme and incorporating some cool rock percussion alongside the fancy synth work. Corneria gets the blood pumping with a tense take on the main theme, while the laid back map theme (my favorite track) works in electronic percussion and beautiful harmonies. Area 3 gets fast-paced drum ‘n’ bass, Katt gets a playful jazz theme with meows at the end, and the track that plays when you complete a mission is a sleek electronic march that is an arrangement of the classic victory tune. The Star Fox theme itself is an upbeat and bouncy march with little synth runs that are a nice touch, while Fortuna gets a tropical forest vibe complete with marimba and male choral chanting. Towards the end, Venom is accompanied by droning tones and scattered notes, adding to the tension, and even deeper into the planet, you get repetitive whirring and string stabs that are almost maddening. Andross gets a sinister theme with choir and big brass. The lengthy ending sequence sports the expected triumphant orchestral territory, but there’s some chillout material that I really enjoyed.

In all, I was pleased with the Star Fox Zero soundtrack. I’d love to see it published some day, but it hasn’t happened yet. Perhaps it’ll get picked up by an external publisher like we’ve been seeing with recent Pokemon, Zelda, and Fire Emblem releases.

Tekken Revolution Soundtrack (SRIN-1135)

More Tekken! SuperSweep is at it again, with both Tekken 7 and Tekken Revolution having recently been released. Expect more dubstep and electronic action from the Bandai Namco team and friends, including tracks from SuperSweep’s own Shinji Hosoe and Ayako Saso in addition to Yuu Miyake, Nobuyoshi Sano, and the rest of the gang. Taku Inoue handles the bulk of the music this time around, and as such, there’s a little pop mixed in with this dubstep.

He opens with the grungy rock/electronic “New World Order” with anthemic male vocals, and moves into industrial with “Blood, Sweat, and Fists.” There are laser-like synths in “Everlasting Heaven” and a distorted and searing soundscape present in “Self Destruct.” Yuu Miyake delivers “El Condor,” a trippy electronic track with an ethereal atmosphere and lots of reverb. There’s the dancey “Lunar fringe theory,” the pumping “Chopper” with its crazy slap bass, and even some flamenco flavor in “Bassamenco” and “Françoise’s Bassline.” Vocoder vocals are found in “Brasil evolution,” clean acoustic guitar in “lost in a station,” and Inoue’s uplifting rock in “Night rises” and “Kodama Starship,” the latter of which almost sounds like something out of Katamari Damacy with its vocal work.

Tekken Revolution is published by SuperSweep Records and is available for import from CD Japan if you’re interested.

Review: Dark Souls III Soundtrack

The Dark Souls II soundtrack was one of my favorites of 2014. So I was excited to see Yuka Kitamura and Motoi Sakuraba teaming up once again for the third, and presumably final, installment. Fans of the series should know the drill by now, no music outside of key hub areas and boss battles. That lends to score a pretty action-heavy lean, but the variety of moods presented does prevent much of the fatigue you’d expect.

The opening “Premonition” is rightfully somber and smoldering, giving a hint at what’s ahead. The titular “Dark Souls III” sports foreboding bell tolls and choir before exploding into dark and tragic strings with beautiful harmonies, while “Prologue” brings in the guttural male choir and buzzing strings that have been used throughout he series. Finally, “Firelink Shrine” is bleak and desolate with droning bass, a female choral section, and a soundscape that doesn’t feel at all safe.

As far as the boss themes go (always the highlight), “Iudex Gundyr” doesn’t disappoint with its slow build, powerful strings, rustic harpsichord, and call and response male and female choir. “Vordt of the Boreal Valley” is somewhat of a death march with chugging bass, “Curse -Rotted Greatword-,” is sweeping and frightening with its gurgling choir and sense of corruption, “Crystal Sages” is appropriately wise and methodical, and “Deacons of the Deep” sports a massive and regal organ. There’s the tense and bombastic “Pontiff Sulyvahn,” the beautiful and graceful “Dancer of the Boreal Valley,” the deep brass tones of “Old Demon King,” the small hints of beauty hidden behind a deep brooding male choir in “Oceiros, The Consumed King,” the slow and contemplative “Abyss Watchers,” the wonderful dark waltz of “Yhorm the Giant”, and the epic and tragic “Lorian.” Finally, the grandiose and elegant “Soul of Cinder” sports some references to themes of the past, which is a nice touch, and the ending themes are melancholy and somber, and not at all triumphant.

Fans of Dark Souls music will appreciate this score just as they did the others. While it’s hard to capture the same magic the third time in, Kitamura and Sakuraba have done a fantastic job with this installment, and I’m looking forward to hearing what each of them do next.

The soundtrack was available with pre-order editions of the game, so it may be difficult to find at this point, but I’m sure you can find the soundtrack CD online through various outlets.

DRUAGA ONLINE -THE STORY OF AON- SOUNDTRACK (SRIN-1121)

While Druaga Online -The Story of Aon- was never released outside of Japan, I think a lot of RPG fans can get behind an arcade-based RPG with online four player co-op. What drew my attention to the soundtrack was the eclectic combination of composers, which includes SuperSweep’s Ayako Sasao, StudioMINSTREL’s Hiroto Saito, and Bandai Namco composers Junko Ozawa and Hiroyuki Kawada. True to the eclectic nature of the team, the soundtrack offers upbeat orchestral, electronic, and rock in adventurous fantasy fashion.

Listeners will enjoy the infectious synth pop castle theme as well as the main character themes, which include playfully epic rock (“Gilgamesh”), bubbly electonics (“Ki”), and even industrial (“Xeovalga”). The map themes will also stand out with the exotic woodwinds of “Windy Prairie,” the grand orchestral stylings of “Hanging Gardens,” and the funky Castlevania-esque “Floating Island,” which even sports bagpipes at one point. Rounding out the two-disc collection are the gloriously defaint “Heavenly Palace,” the explosive final battle theme, and the triumphant and rustic ending theme complete with harpsichord.

Check out SuperSweep’s soundtrack sampler on YouTube and pick out the soundtrack on CD Japan if you’re interested.

Review: Dark Souls II Original Soundtrack

A lot of people were surprised to see Motoi Sakuraba take the helm of the Dark Souls series after Shinsuke Kida’s powerful score to Demon’s Souls. Would he take the franchise in a more progressive rock direction that he is known for, or stay true to the epic orchestral stylings that Kida established in Demon’s Souls?

I was personally surprised and delighted to see him take the latter approach. The Dark Souls soundtrack had a lot of standout music, and I was wondering if he could pull off a repeat with Dark Souls II.

The soundtrack album was included with limited edition versions of the game, so fortunately it’s pretty easy to find out! Continue reading Review: Dark Souls II Original Soundtrack

RIDGE RACER 20TH ANNIVERSARY REMIX (SRNS-2001)

Ridge Racer fans should take note of a recent release from SuperSweep celebrating 20 years of the series. Ridge Racer 20th Anniversary Remix is a two-disc collection featuring arrangements from across the franchise by several Bandai Namco sound team composers, both past and present. The second disc is dedicated to lengthy club mixes, and those who purchase the album on SuperSweep’s online store will also get a bonus disc with an hour-long club mix.

Electronic music fans will be right at home among the dance, house, and dubstep offerings. The hard-hitting “Disco Ball” from the original Ridge Racer, the epic choir in “Grip” from Ridge Racer 2, the jazzy “Quiet Curves” from Ridge Racer 4, the deep house experience “Sliding Beat” from Ridge Racer (VITA), and the vocal stylings of Takenobu Mitsuyoshi on “Ridge Racer” from Ridge Racer USA provide just a few of the memorable moments on this album.

Ridge Racer 20th Anniversary Remix is available from the SuperSweep shop and CD Japan.

Review: Super Smash Bros. for 3DS

Super Smash Bros. titles offer a rare treat for game music fans. While gamers get pumped to do battle with their favorite Nintendo (and guest) characters, this comes with musical arrangements that pay homage to all of these characters and their respective worlds.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii broke new ground by featuring arrangements from some of the top game music composers from Japan, and Super Smash Bros. for 3DS follows suit by including many of these arrangements along with new ones from the development team at Bandai Namco Games.

There’s a lot of music to hear (and even more will be featured in the Wii U version), so let’s take a look! Continue reading Review: Super Smash Bros. for 3DS