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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Game Music Showcase: Symphonic Songs

A spinoff of the game music Medley series, the Symphonic series is a specific form of videogame BGM medley; instead of simply cutting and pasting bits of music and sound effects together to make a song, Namco remixes the game music with orchestral instruments, giving them a fresh concerto-like feel. Because of the nature of orchestral music, the BPM for each of these medleys are very unstable and change very often throughout the song. The series began on Taiko 10 arcade and is still quite new.

All three songs currently in the series have 'Symphonic' as the first word of their titles, and have difficulties averaging from 6* to 7* on Oni. They are usually pretty limited to a few releases per song. Katsuo Tajima (田島勝朗) is the person who composed all three songs.


-Symphonic series-


 Symphonic Motos (シンフォニック モトス)
Allx3 (132)x5 (171)x6 (337)x7 (456)
 Taiko 10, Taiko PSP 2, CD 2008

The first song comes from a 1985 arcade game called Motos, running on the Namco Super Pac-Man arcade board. In Motos, you ride a futuristic bumper car, and the objective is to bump out all the enemies out from the playboard while avoiding holes. A simple score attack game with few modes.

Infamous as one of the hardest song in Taiko 10 to get 全良 (perfect great), due to its crazy shifting BPM, of which there are at least 11 changing points, and features lots of slow 1/16 streams and intermittent 1/24. The end gets progressively faster towards the climax of the song and has quite a powerful beat.

 Symphonic Druaga (シンフォニック ドルアーガ)
Taiko Wii 2x4 (126)x6 (191)x7 (279)x7 (420)
Taiko 0 onwardsx4 (126)x6 (191)x7 (279)x6 (420)
Taiko 0 onwardsx4 (126)x6 (191)x7 (279)x7 (420)
 Taiko 0, Taiko Wii 2, Taiko Wii U 2, CD Donderful

As mentioned before in the Medley Series article, Tower of Druaga is one of the most popular classic Namco games to be used in Taiko no Tatsujin songs, and there's more than one with Druaga in it. This is the latest one, an orchestral remix of basically the same few famous themes from the game.

Since BPM changes played a big role in making Symphonic Motos such a success, Namco went even wilder with the beat changes on this one- the BPM goes up and down about 30 times! Not as varied as Motos, though, and without many of the diabolical beat patterns that made Motos difficult to play accurately. The difficulty ratign on its Oni chart has gone down on Taiko 0, but rebounded again on the July 2012 update.

 Symphonic Valkyrie (シンフォニック ワルキューレ)
Taiko DS 3x4 (131)x6 (190)x6 (261)x7 (439)
Taiko Wii 5x4 (131)x5 (190)x5 (261)x7 (439)
 Taiko DS 3, Taiko Wii 5, CD Donderful

Symphonic Valkyrie is based off music from another old Namco game, Valkyrie no Densetsu, released in 1989. This PC Engine game lets you control a Valkyrie, a mythological figure from Norse culture, who has to slay several enemies with a lizard, Krino Sandra. It supported multiplayer too.

Valkyrie is no stranger to Taiko no Tatsujin either, its tunes have been used extensively before on another song, Taiko March. The Symphonic version has less of the wild BPM changes from before, but it's still quite a nice song. The BPM changes trip up the pace, but it's nothing too taxing. The SongID is a pun between letters and numbers meaning 'Valkyrie', with Waru being derived from ワル, 9 (キュウ or 'Kyuu') and 0 (レ, or 'Le/Re').

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