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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sympho-Neighbours - Retro Game Harmonies

When building up a rhythm game franchise, it's not so uncommon to spot tracks from the past games of the companies making said rhythm games. This statement has been very true to the Taiko franchise, but many others have resorted to classic Game Music to bulk up their song libraries!

Grab your controller of choice, everyone! It's time to game on.

Starting from Namco grounds, here's the BGM music of Dig Dug being played with a pair of toy bongos! The gameplay footage above comes from the third and final title of the Donkey Konga series, a Japanese-exclusive sequel where the "Over 50 Songs!" slogan criteria that came along with the game is met with a LOT of unlockable GM track from both Nintendo and Namco NES games.

It's also worth mentioning that some of the Game Music tracks in the game managed to sneak in the actual Taiko no Tatsujin series as well, like the Legend of Zelda medley and Dr. Mario's Fever theme!

When it comes to Game Music in bemani grounds, this trope has been mostly fulfilled with cross-overs from other bemani music games throughout the years. That doesn't mean, however that earlier games in Konami history can't have their chance to shine every now and then!

Above, for example, is the video of GRADIUS -FULL SPEED-, a BGM medley filled with music from the NES side-scrolling shooter Gradius. Composed by Tomoyuki "Mr. T" Uchida (内田智之), this medley made its debut on the 10th beatmania IIDX game (10th style) and shortly after appeared on the pop'n music series since the 11th installment, starring the game's two spaceships (VIC VIPER AND LORD BRITISH) as the song's rival characters.

Speaking of pop'n music, said series has seen the debut of a medley that can be seen as Konami's very own version of KAGEKIYO! Getsu Fuma-Den (月風魔伝) is, in fact, a modern medley re-arrangement of BGM of the eponymous side-scroller game which also features the adventures of an ancient Japanese samurai, much like with KAGEKIYO and Genpei Toma-Den. Once set to be as another IIDX track, the song's data has been lost at the time of its intended inclusion and had to be re-recorded from scratch for its public debut on the 18th pop'n music game, Sengoku Retsuden (せんごく列伝).

Unlike the iconic Taiko GM track, this one required the manpower of 5 resident Konami/bemani musicians for its creation: Eiichi "Papehina" Kitsukawa (橘川栄一), Yuko "YUKKY" Takahashi (高橋祐子), Daichi "PON" Watanabe (渡辺大地), Jun "wac" Wakita (脇田潤) and Daisuke "96" Kurosawa (黒沢大佑) at the guitar.

Jumping ship again, we find ourselves in Taito grounds, as we spotlight a medley from the classic arcade coin-op hit Puzzle Bobble.

Arranged by Hirokazu 'COSIO' Koshio (小塩広和), this medley has made its debut in the first Music Gungun! arcade, finding its way to the gun-based music game's sequel and into the Groove Coaster franchise, filled to the brim with visual flair to the 1986 game.

It's because of the flexible nature of the game's background surroundings that the Groove Coaster series could built up the Game Music tradition with a bigger slew of tracks, thanks to the many visual winks to the referenced game series that can be crammed in during a simple gameplay session.

One of the recently-added GM tracks is a remix of the BGM FAKE from the 1994 shmup Darius Gaiden, composed by Touhou circle-related musician Masayoshi Minoshima (the 'ALR' in the title, in fact, stands for his own circle's acronym, 'Alstroemeria Records').

However, not every GM track in rhythm games must come from bit-defined games! One of the debut tracks of Sega's Chunithm give a valid example of this saying.

The song above is The Offspring's ALL I WANT, from the 1999 driving arcade Crazy Taxi. Being one of pikaby's favorite GM tracks, I couldn't make a feature like this without mentioning this song from the frantic driving game which got ports for 7 different consoles/devices in a few years, so..,. Are you happy now, boss?

Let's finish off with something that I find intriguing instead: a trip-inducing April Fools... Console Music track from maimai!

Released as a"devilishly hard" prank song for the 2014's AF celebration, what you're listening at is a medley entirely made of in-menu music and cues from the Sega Saturn, re-arranged by the Sega sound unit H. and simply titled as Sega Saturn Startup Sound (セガサターン起動音). While the system itself didn't turn out as a financial success for Sega, it sure gave the birth of something that's quite unique for the Game Music trope in rhythm games!

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