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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Song of the Week! 12 September 2015

Today's feature takes us back to Namco's prized arcade shooter history, with a track coming from top-down perspective game Dragon Spirit's sequel.

 Dragon Saber (ドラゴンセイバー ) Submerged City (水没都市)
Taiko 9, 10,
Taiko PSP 2
x5 (232)x6 (304)x7 (561)x9 (777)
Taiko Wii 5x5 (232)x7 (304)x7 (561)x9 (777)
Taiko 3DS 3x5 (232)x7 (304)x7 (561)x8 (777)
 Taiko 9, 10, Taiko PSP 2, Taiko Wii 5, Taiko 3DS 3

Highly desired to be included into Taiko gaming by former Taiko Team leader Takahashi, this is an arrangement of the BGM that is played in the first stage of the Japan-exclusive arcade Dragon Saber (ドラゴンセイバー), the sequel to the flying dragon shooter Dragon Spirit, succeeding the original title of 3 years with its date of release of December 10th, 1990 (3 years after DS)

Released for the Namco System 2 arcade board under the full name of Dragon Saber: After Story of Dragon Spirit, the title retains the same gameplay formula of the predecessor, with the player controlling a human turned into a dragon who can both shoot fire projectiles and charged fireballs while not breathing the regular fire projectiles. The improved board, however, adds new features to the formula like simultaneous 2-player play with the game's main characters (Huey and Siria) and auto-fire by holding the Fire button. Later on, Dragon Saber received ports for the PC Engine in 1991, the PlayStation in 1997 (as part of the Japan-exclusive Namco Museum Encore collection) and the Wii's Virtual Console service, starring both the arcade and the aforementioned PC Engine versions.

Much like many of the eldest Namco arcades, Dragon Saber's music is single-handedly composed by Shinji 'sampling masters Mega' Hosoe (細江慎治). The version of the Submerged City BGM we can hear in Taiko games, however, comes from a custom arrangement of the song made by Ryo Yonemitsu (米光亮) for the 1991 soundtrack Namco Game Sound Express VOL.4 Dragon Saber (ナムコ ゲーム サウンド エクスプレス VOL.4 ドラゴンセイバー), alongside many other track arranges for the game being performed by the fictional Namco Grand Orchestra.

Early in the first Taiko no Tatsujin years, Taiko Team personality Takahashi has voiced his will of featuring the Submerged City arranged version into the series in an interview made for the January 2003 issue of Japanese videogame magazine Arcadia, with his wish being granted with its inclusion in the 9th main-line arcade game. The 'Submerged City' portion of the song's title had an inconsistent typing into the song's many inclusions with the arcades putting it as a subtitle, the PSP release completely omitting it and the Wii release putting it as part of the song's main title.

For one of the Game Music Oni challenges to bear both an iconic Max Combo notecount and no drumroll-inducing elements, the name of the game in the Dragon Saber track is stamina management. After the slow-paced beginning, the trial is all about 1/16 single notes/clusters and little to no resting points; round it up with an almost 2-minute run and you have a perfect benchmark for stamina-practice plays!

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