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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Game Music Showcase: General Medleys

In musical terms, a medley is a song composed of bits from other songs, played one after another. The 'medley' series in Taiko no Tatsujin are actually collections of background music from videogames, whether they're from Namco themselves or from other publishers. The reason why they're in a series is because they tend to have the word 'medley' at the end of their titles. Most of the game medleys from Namco games were originally in the Namco Original genre, and later moved to Game Music.

This series used to encompass medleys from the ongoing Pokemon and Monster Hunter franchises, however, they are now split into their own separate series, as Namco have made them a regular feature in Taiko games.


-General Medley series-


 Mojipittan Medley (もじぴったんメドレー) --- Old ---
Taiko 4
x4 (261)x3 (338)x7 (487)
Taiko PS2 1
x4 (261)x3 (338)x6 (338)
Taiko 8, 9, TDMx4 (201)x4 (261)x3 (338)x6 (487)
Taiko PSP 1x4 (200)x4 (261)x5 (338)x7 (487)
 Taiko 4,8, Taiko PS2 1, Taiko Drum Master, Taiko PSP 1
Namco -> Namco Original

 Mojipittan Medley (もじぴったんメドレー) --- New ---
Taiko DS 1x4 (200)x6 (261)x3 (338)x8 (739,588,500)
Taiko 10 onwards,
Taiko+, Wii 5, Wii U 3
x4 (201)x4 (261) x3 (338)x7 (739,588,500)
 Taiko 10 to 14, Taiko DS1, Taiko Wii 5, Taiko Wii U 3, Taiko +
Namco Original -> Game Music

Never heard of this game before? It's a cute, Japanese take on Scrabble, designed by Hiroyuki Goto, called Kotoba no Puzzle: Mojipittan. Unlike Scrabble, the rules in Mojipittan are slightly different, and its cutesy graphics have made the series popular across many platforms, including the arcade, PS2, DS, PSP and most recently the Wii. The aim is to pick out hiragana letters from a pool of letters available to you on that stage, and form words by joining them with letters already on the play area. Complete the objective and the stage is clear. Bonus points are awarded for making long words and forming two or more words in one go. It's simpler than it sounds, but only if you know Japanese, of course.

Mojipittan Medley is composed by Satoru Kousaki (神前暁), a member of Namco's music team. It is a mix of three songs from the game, first is Futari no Mojipittan, then followed by the English song Words Words no Mahou, and then ending with the title screen music. It is the first song in Taiko to have its own dancers on the bottom of the screen, featuring the word tile mascots, Moji-kun, Moji-chan, and Erabu-kun (the bar which contains all your letters). It's an old song in Taiko that has evolved a lot over time, getting note changes and even Master Notes. When it was first released on Taiko PS2 1, there was no Kantan difficulty and the Oni notechart was identical to the Muzukashii one, just like many other old songs (eg Go Go Kitchen, Ridge Racer). Immediately after, this medley got a new Oni chart on Taiko 4. The chart was changed once again on Taiko 10/DS1 and has remained that way ever since.

The old chart was sparse with few note clusters, but was for the time a suitable 7*. While the song itself remains the same, the new chart, complete with forked paths, breathed new life into Mojipittan Medley, bringing it up to standard with newer 7* Oni songs and presenting a considerable challenge with denser clusters and a tiring end part.

Another Mojipittan song, Bambini, is a song of its own rather than a medley, hence its absence here. It saw a much more restricted release on fewer arcades and consoles than Mojipittan Medley.

 Thunder Ceptor Medley (サンダーセプターメドレー)
Taiko PS2 4x4 (161)x6 (269)x6 (449)x9 (558,517,478)
Taiko PSP 2x4 (161)x6 (269)x6 (449)x9 (552,514,474)
All (2P)x4 (161)x6 (269)x6 (449)x9 (558,517,417)
Taiko PS2 4, Taiko PSP 2, CD 2008
 Namco Original -> Game Music


Thunder Ceptor came to arcades in 1986, a time where the 2D scrolling shooter genre was sadly, saturated with the things. It was mediocre and long since forgotten, but received a medley in Taiko no Tatsujin, albeit once again, mediocre and forgotten. However, it is a respectable 9* Oni song with a decent challenge for those who do get to play it on the limited number of consoles which it appeared in. The notes are slightly changed when it became available to download on Taiko PSP2, and the score increment was bumped up significantly. It was also here that Thunder Ceptor Medley swapped genres to Game Music.

Less known is the slight change of notes when Thunder Ceptor Medley is played in multiplayer mode. Videos of this in action are very limited however.

 Dragon Spirit Medley (ドラゴンスピリットメドレー)
Taiko 6
x6 (368)x7 (671)x8 (671)
TDMx4 (197)x5 (368)x7 (671)x8 (671)
Taiko 7 to 10, PSP 1,
PS2 4
x4 (197)x6 (368)x7 (671)x8 (671)
Taiko 11, Taiko DS 2,
Wii 5
x4 (197)x7 (368)x8 (671)x7 (671)
TDM (2P)x4 (197)x5 (368)x7 (671)x8 (650 / 635)
 Taiko 6 to 11, Taiko 0 Mu to 0 W (limited), Taiko 0 R, Medal 1, Taiko PS2 4, Taiko Drum Master, Taiko PSP 1, Taiko DS 2, Taiko Wii 5, CD 2008
Game -> Namco Original -> Game Music

Composed by Shinji Hosoe and arranged by Masubuchi Yuuji, this medley comes from the scrolling shooter game Dragon Spirit, developed by Namco and Tengen Inc. Running on the Namco System 1 arcade board, this 1987 arcade game stars Amul, a knight turned into a blue dragon in order to save the princess Alicia from the serpent demon Zaxwell.

On Taiko, Dragon Spirit gets a medley with a rocking rhythm, with 1/12 and 1/16 streams. The medley is rather long and made up of very simple parts separated by the occasional difficult stream, and these are the main concerns for a player who is aiming to full combo the song. The Muzukashii chart identical to the Oni chart, and their difficulty ratings were swapped on Taiko 11/DS2 for some odd reason. Multiplayer-specific notes are exclusive to Taiko Drum Master, with player 2 getting slightly less notes than player 1. Together with Ridge Racer, the Dragon Spirit Medley is currently the only publicly-available song under the current Taiko generation of games whose Muzukashii and Oni notecharts are the same.

This medley was included in the Taiko no Tatsujin collaboration dungeon for the mobile RPG game Puzzle & Dragons, as said dungeon's BGM being played for the boss battle against the Brave Don-Chan. Later on, the song was also transplanted to Taito's Groove Coaster music game series, albeit in an abridged form.

 Dragon Quest VIII Medley (ドラゴンクエストⅧ メドレー)
Allx4 (179)x4 (???)x5 (???)x5 (441)
 Taiko 7

After a few 90s game medleys, this one comes from a newer game, Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King, released for the PlayStation 2 in the year 2004. It was only in Taiko 7 and was put under the Variety genre instead of Game Music as that genre had not yet been made (similar categorization occurred with all early game music, like DADDY MULK).This medley of the Battle Theme (Green Fields) includes a mixture of music genres all-in-one, with mixed beat patterns of 1/12 and 1/16.

 Tower of Druaga Medley (ドルアーガの塔メドレー)
Taiko 7, Taiko PS2 5, Taiko PSP 1, 2x5 (212)x6 (269)x7 (607)x10 (682)
Taiko 9x5 (212)x6 (269)x7 (607)x9 (682)
Taiko Wii U 2x4 (212)x6 (269)x7 (607)x8 (682)
 Taiko 7, 9, Medal 1, 2, Taiko PS2 5, Taiko PSP 1, 2, Taiko Wii U 2, CD 2008
 Namco Original -> Game Music -> Namco Original

Uchida Tetsuya (内田哲也) composed this medley of Tower of Druaga, a 1984 maze arcade game running on the Namco Super Pac-Man hardware, and has a similar layout to Pac-Man as well, both being top-down mazes with basic character navigation. Another knight is involved in the game; this time his name is Gilgamesh, a brave warrior who explores the tower of the demon beast Druaga in order to save the princess Ki. The original arcade game became so popular that it spawned an entire series of console games (the Babylonian Maze saga), an anime based on the game (The Tower of Druaga: The Aegis of Uruk) and various cameo appearances throughout Namco games.

Its iconic theme song has been featured on more than one medley in the Taiko series (Taiko March, Symphonic Druaga and Namcot Medley to name a few), this being the hardest of the lot. High BPM and unpredictable clusters of notes gave players a hard time when it was first introduced in Taiko PS2 5. The medley goes from the main theme, to the Quox song, to the Succubus song, to the Druaga song, to the Congratulations song and finally to the Game Over song.

This has always been classified as a Namco Original even though it should be Game Music. Taiko Portable 2 is the only one amongst this medley's many releases to correctly place it under the Game Music genre. Then off it goes to Namco Original once again on Taiko 9 before finishing its run.

 Burning Force Medley (バーニングフォースメドレー)
Taiko 7,13, Taiko PS2 6,
Taiko PSP 2
x5 (184)x5 (275)x6 (504)x9 (748)
Taiko Wii 2x5 (184)x5 (275,268,264)x6 (504)x8 (748)
Taiko 3DSx4 (184)x5 (275) x6 (504)x8 (748)
 Taiko 7, 13, Taiko PS2 6, Taiko PSP 2, Taiko Wii 2, Taiko 3DS, CD 2008
 Namco Original -> Game Music

Another medley composed by Masubuchi Yuuji for another shoot-em'up game released only in Japan, in 1989. Running on Namco System 2, in Burning Force you control a female cadet, Hiromi Tengenji, who rides a futuristic scooter, fighting hi-tech enemies in order to pass her training.

Burning Force Medley has a very high BPM and a few long streams. In a way it's like a faster and harder version of Dragon Spirit Medley. It was reduced from 9* to 8 in Taiko Wii 2 when it was revived. Its beats have not been changed yet, or had any Master Notes tacked on. On Oni, at least; Futsuu difficulty got forked paths in Taiko Wii 2, with the original chart in Master Notes and only a few stanzas of difference in the other paths (note that there was very little note total difference between the three paths).

Weirdly enough, the preview point of this song has been changed with the transition to the lastest arcade model generation, in the same fashion of older Ura modes.

 Mappy Medley (マッピーメドレー)
Taiko 9, Taiko PS2 7,
Taiko PSP DX
x5 (170)x7 (249)x8 (417)x9 (628)
Taiko Wii 2x5 (173)x7 (251)x8 (419)x9 (628)
 Taiko 9, Taiko PS2 7, Taiko PSP DX, Taiko Wii 2

This retro-tune comes from the namesake, side-scrolling platform game of 1983. Into a mansion full of cats (the Mewkies), the policeman mouse Mappy must collect all the precious goods stolen by the cats. The name 'Mappy' derived from the Japanese slang word 'mappo', a derogatory term for 'policeman'. Both the game's BGM tunes and sound effects were composed by Nobuyuki Ohnogi (大野木宜幸).

The medley is purely formed from the original in-music game with no remixing done to it. The medley starts with the game start tune and the usual level background theme, then the bonus stage tune, followed by the sound heard after a life loss and then finally the game over music. The notechart is very tough for a 9* with confusing and hard to see 2-note clusters at a high BPM and makes for a very troublesome song to perfect. Although eclipsed by Oni, there are actually very slight notechart tweaks to all lower difficulty levels on this song's last appearance in Taiko Wii 2.

The Namcot Medley is also featured in the aforementioned Puzzle & Dragons x Taiko collaboration dungeon, as the BGM track for regular floors.

 Namcot Medley (ナムコットメドレー)
Taiko DS 1x4 (111)x4 (144)x5 (264)x7 (488)
Taiko 10, Taiko PSP 2,
Taiko Wii 3, Taiko +
x3 (111)x4 (144)x5 (264)x7 (488)
Taiko Wii Ux3 (111)x4 (144)x6 (264)x8 (488)
 Taiko 10, Taiko PSP 2, Taiko DS1, Taiko Wii 3, Taiko Wii U, Taiko iOs, CD 2008

Composed by Oogami Masako. Notice the name- I didn't make any typing errors, it really is called 'Namcot'. Why the extra 't'? Namco started publishing games for Nintendo's Famicom when it was first released, but went under the moniker 'ナムコット' (Namcot) instead of its usual name. It's more of a brand name they use to market their games. The company itself was never called Namcot at any point.

Like the Mappy Medley, the BPM changes very often, because of the multitude of songs in this package.
In order, the games featured in this compilation are:

Family Stadium
Warp & Warp
Valkyrie no Bouken: Toki no Kagi Densetsu
Family Tennis
Family Jockey
The Tower of Druaga
Sky Kid
The Quest of Ki

Have fun linking pieces of the song to their games!

 Star Soldier Medley (スターソルジャーメドレー)
Allx5 (102)x4 (118)x6 (335)x9 (490)
 Taiko 12, 12.5, Taiko Wii 1

Star Soldier is a 1986 shoot-em' up game for NES developed by Hudson Soft. Controlling the "Caesar" spaceship, the objective is to destroy the armada controlled by the super computer "StarBrain".

One of the tougher medley songs to pass because of high BPM and long, irregular note streams in the middle of the song, which are not typical in a song of this series. The usual culprits of game music are here, including the main theme, boss music, congratulatory music and game over music. The Power Up BGM is repeated twice in this medley.

 Sonic 4 Episode I Medley (ソニック4 エピソードI メドレー)
Allx4 (183)x6 (299)x7 (402)x8 (603)
Taiko +

While 2011 will be remembered as the 10th anniversary of Taiko games for Namco fans, it is also a significant year for Sega as well, which celebrates the 20th anniversary of its own mascot character, Sonic, the fast little blue rodent with attitude, and Sega's most well-known mascot (Nintendo celebrates Mario and Zelda's 25th anniversary at the same time as well, making 2011 one of the greatest fanfests in gaming legacy). Taiko Team collaborated with Sega for this to make a tribute to both games at the same time. That's nice of them.

The BGM comes from the first episode of Sonic 4, one of the latest Sonic games, published a year earlier as a downloadable game for iPhone, PS3, XBox 360 and Wii, with the primary reason of  bringing classic lightning-paced Sonic action back to its 2D platforming roots, to which it succeeded to an extent. The music used are the ones heard from every zone's Act 1 (Splash Hill, Casino Street, Lost Labyrinth and Mad Gear), together with the Boss Stage and Level Complete tunes. Also Sonic himself and a bunch of his enemies appear as cameo dancers.

The other parts of the medley are made up of the different stages in Sonic 4 P1, with a final speed-up part and Go-Go Time periods during the Casino Street and Mad Gear Zone's BGM. The whole song follows a 1/16 rhythm with the exception of Casino Street Zone's 1/12 spacing. It doesn't get tough till very late in the song and is usually viewed as a high-tier 6* on Oni instead of 8*.

 Yokai Watch 2 Ganso/Honke/Shin'uchi (妖怪ウォッチ2 元祖/本家/真打) BGM Medley (BGMメドレー)
Allx2 (120)x3 (178)x6 (145)x9 (666)
 Taiko 0 K

The next medley takes us to a gaming universe whose popularity rise in Japan is only comparable to the Pokémon series, both for the game mechanics and the surprising interest peak in more than one interactive medium! As also indicated by the song's title, we're referring to the Yokai Watch (妖怪ウォッチ) series of videogames.

Developed by Level-5 for the Nintendo 3DS devices, this is an RPG series which revolves around the concept of meeting new fantasy-looking companions and bonding with them through the main journey in the game's story between feeding them and taking part on fights, much like in the Pokémon games. The main change lies on the aforementioned companions in the game: the yo-kai, supernatural ghosts and entities from the Japanese folklore. Players in the game are able to interact with them thanks to the eponymous Yokai Watch, a gift made by the Yokai Whisper to Keita Amano and Fumika Kodama, the game's main protagonist kids.

The original Yokai Watch came out in Japan on July 11th 2013, with Nintendo acquiring the publishing rights for the game's release in the other areas of the world between 2015 and 2016. The sequel came out the year after in three different versions: the couple Ganso/Honke (July 10th) and Shin'uchi (December 13th), each featuring version-exclusive Yokai.

As of today, the main series' sales have cumulatively sold over 5 million units, well-justifying the creation of a spin-off title (Yokai Watch Busters) and a third main-line game about American Yokai, slated to release in Japan in 2016. Other adaptations of the videogame series include a still running manga/anime series and a feature film, of which we'll discuss better for a Yokai Watch anime theme feature.

Heading back to the games, most of their in-game music is composed by Saigo Kenichiro (西郷憲一郎), which is also responsible of the track portions featured in the Yokai Watch 2 games' medley on Taiko arcades from Kimidori onward. Said medley mostly features music that is also included in the first game: the iconic opening theme, the Load Game menu, an overworld theme and the normal fight theme, complete with the in-game voice of Yokai cat mascot Jibanyan throughout the medley and the battle victory jingle at the end.

The medley is easily the hardest of the Yokai Watch-themed songs in Taiko, as the different BPM changes and panic-inducing 1/24 clusters push the physical stamina requirement for an accurate play one step forwards from many other medleys of the past. As for the other Yokai Watch songs in the Anime genre, the medley is accompanied with custom dancers from the games, featuring Jibanyan in the center, the two young human protagonists next to him and two other recurring Yokai in the series: whisper (on the left) and Komasan (on the right).

 Sengoku BASARA BGM Medley (戦国BASARA BGMメドレー)
Allx4 (190)x6 (319)x7 (579)x9 (938)
 Taiko PS Vita

From V Version's first batch of downloadable songs we also find the first musical contributions from Capcom videogames (outside Monster Hunter medleys), starring a Mega Man 2 track for the free early-buyers campaign and a custom medley spawn from the later Sengoku BASARA (戦国BASARA) series.

This hack 'n' slash series started on July 21st, 2005 with the Japanese release of the eponymous first title, already featuring the location and historical settings that have been the standards for the series since then: the Japanese Warring States Era (or Sengoku period), during which Japan was split into many minor states battling over power and land, with the looming shadow of Oda Nobunaga extending all across the nation. By taking control of different warlords, players have to combat their way through waves and waves of enemies across many Japanese scenarios and events loosely inspired by actual historical battles, in a similar vein to Koei's Samurai Warriors series.

The first title was released under the title of Demon Kings, but the player/critic backlash caused by many localization changes made for a more generic, fantasy-styled setting for the Western version has allowed the later entries of the series to be the same as the Japanese ones. So far, the Sengoku BASARA series counts four main titles spread across Sony and Nintendo home consoles, a 2D fighting arcade game, two PSP spin-offs and a fortunate anime series which counts three seasons and a feature-length movie, under the title of Sengoku Basara: End of Judgement, both of which paving the way of a Sengoku BASARA 2 manga adaptation and other miscellaneous merchandise.

The Sengoku BASARA medley on Taiko is actually made of track arrangements from the third main title in the series (Sengoku Basara 3), featuring generous portions from the theme songs of warlords Masamune Date, Yukimura Sanada and Ieyasu Tokugawa (in that order). The Sengoku BASARA 3 arrangements of the songs were created by three composers from music circle T's MUSIC: Rei Kondoh (近藤嶺) (Masamune), Yasutaka Hatade (幡手康隆) (Yukimura) and Masayoshi 'CHARMY.Ishi' Ishi (伊師 正好) (Ieyasu).

This rock-based medley proves to be as fatigue-enducing as tracks like Wasabi Body Blow and the aforementioned Burning Force Medley, with the Oni mode throwing a merciless barrage of clusters with little to no breaks of sorts for the players. Charge through the clusters with no regrets!!

 Phoenix Wright 123 Medley (逆転裁判123メドレー)
Allx3 (155)x5 (241)x6 (391)x8 (588)
 Taiko 3DS 3

One of the third Nintendo 3DS's many Taiko collaborating efforts is linked to another iconic medley, this time around revolving around one of Capcom's most recent portable series.

Released in Japan in 2001 for Game Boy Advance under the name of Gyakuten Saiban (逆転裁判, lit. 'Turnabout Trial'), this was the first game of what will be known in the West as the Ace Attorney series. This is a visual novel series of games where the players have to fill the shoes of rookie defense attorney Naruhodou Ryuuichi (Phoenix Wright in the later localizations) to aid his clients in their trials so that they're declared not guilty of the charges they've received. Gameplay-wise, all of the series' titles are usually split in two main parts: an investigation portion (for the search of any kind of evidences) and the courtroom trials, where the many witnesses are cross-examined.

While the original trilogy of Gyakuten Saiban titles in their first forms have been Japan-exclusive (with the 2nd and 3rd game also getting PC ports), the series started getting a localization from 2005's Nintendo DS, when the Gyakuten Saiban games were labeled as the Ace Attorney series and set in America as opposed to the original versions, which were in Japan. Aside from the enhanced DS ports, the main series got more sequels and spin-offs, including the stories of different defense attorneys, two prosecutor-oriented games and even a cross-over title with Level-5's Professor Layton series in 2012. Other media forms that have been spawn from Capcom's fortunate series are a 2006 manga series, a live action movie in 2011, several musicals and an Anime show that started airing on April 2016, as a way to prime the audience towards the release of the 6th main-line game of the series.

The Ace Attorney 123 Medley is titled after the eponymous collection of Ace Attorney games for Nintendo 3DS and as such, it features music tracks from the first three games. Starting with the first title's Naruhodou Ryuuichi ~ Objection! 2001 (成歩堂龍一 ~異議あり!2001), the medley begins with the investigation side of the game to then escalate with three tracks coming from the courtroom trials segment: Pursuit ~ Cornered (追求 ~追いつめられて) from GS 1, Pursuit ~ Confrontation (追求 ~問いつめたくて) from GS 2 and Pursuit ~ Cross-Examination (追求 ~とっつかまえて) from the third title. In order of appearance in the medley, the original tracks were composed by Masakazu Sugimori (杉森雅和), Akemi Kimura (木村明美) and Noriyuki Iwadare (岩垂徳行).

For a more lively 8* Oni challenge, this medley throws a seemingly-restless barrage of clusters at the player, with selected scrolling modifier tricks sprinkled in for the song's big notes. Watch out for the Donkama 2000-like final!

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