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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Song of the Week! 13 September 2014

In today's feature, we take a look at yet another console-exclusive song, as Namco's gaming tradition merges once more with traditional Japanese festival music!

 Yokai Dochuuki Ondo (妖怪道中記音頭)
Allx3 (157)x3 (206)x3 (299)x6 (484/430/391)
 Taiko PS2 4, Taiko PSP 2, Taiko DS 3, Taiko Wii U 3
 Namco Original -> Game Music -> Namco Original -> Game Music

The old Namco Original Mappy Ondo experimented with blending videogame music with Ondo (Japanese marching-band music) since the very first Taiko game but the only direct follow-ups so far are the Wahoo~ Ondo and today's Namco Original, inspired by Namco platform game Yokai Dochuuki ('Phantom Travel Journal').

Commonly known as 'Shadow Land' outside of Japan, this game was released for arcades on April 1987 as the first Namco game using the Namco System 87 (nowadays known as 'System 1') arcade board. This side-scroller features the story of a boy called Tarosuke, who travels through Hell ('Jigoku') to have his fate revealed by Buddha at the end of his journey. To reach the deity safe and sound, Tarosuke has to travel across five deadly zones while fighting many different Yokai from Japanese folklore with the help of Ki bullets and a spirit Momotaro sent out by Buddha himself, ultimately leading to one of the game's different endings. Though the game was ported to PC Engine, Famicom and Nintendo Wii (Virtual Console), Yokai Dochuuki was never published outside of Japan.

Like Mappy Ondo, this Namco Original picks up the game's original main theme, composed by Hiroyuki Kawada (川田宏行), for a marching-band arrangement by Masubuchi Yuji (増渕裕二), and with lyrics written by Katsuyuki Oda (小田一行) of Diet Padarise and Hibike! Taiko no Tatsujin fame. The song illustrates life as a spirit in the game's Hell, with dancing, partying and binge drinking! Many other staff contributed voices to the song, including Yuri Misumi (みすみゆり), Buru-Chan no Oyatsu singer Ishida Mio (石田実緒), Taiko Drum Master game designer Yukie Nakamura (中村幸恵) and even former Taiko Team leader Takahashi (タカハシ)!

Yokai Dochuuki Ondo's entire song scrolls at x1.1 speed, slightly faster than its base BPM, and the background noise contributed by all the vocalist chatter masks the rhythm of the song somewhere halfway through, although the chart itself is simple enough to follow. It slowly gets faster at the end, going all the way up to x4 speed, where the final notes of the song can break combos of unprepared players.

 Yokai Dochuuki Ondo (妖怪道中記音頭)

x10 (761)
 Taiko Wii U 3

Together with Lovely-X (genre-ambiguous buddies also in DS3, I might add), Yokai Dochuuki Ondo gained a 24th-filled Ura Oni in Wii U 3 as a somewhat surprise addition. While the regular Oni plays with speed ups at the end, the Ura Oni decides to just throw more complex 16th/24th mix stream at you at constant scroll speed. Thanks... I guess. At least it is asking for an extremely low density for a modern 10-star, and also one of the slowest BPMs at that rating.

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