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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Game Music Showcase: Klonoa

Bandai Namco's Klonoa series has started as a side-scrolling platform series with the eponymous character as its protagonist: a black-and-white, cat-like creature known as a "Dream Traveler", a being which is called to travel through several planes where the state of dreams is in danger, despite Klonoa himself not being aware of his peculiar call. While the series on home console grounds only constitutes of its debut Playstation title and its Ps2 sequel, threre are three more platform games and a 2002 action-RPG hybrid being made for portable systems, as well as a spin-off sport game about volleyball for the original Playstation in the same year.

Up to this day, all of the Klonoa games' track in Taiko are coming from the two main home console titles, picking up the pace only in recent times.

While this series only deals with straight-from-game Klonoa music, see also SotW on Wahoo~ Ondo for more Klonoa remix action.

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-Klonoa series-



  • STEPPING WING Kaze no Klonoa 2
  • The Windmill Song
  • Baladium's drive
  • Baladium's drive (Ura)

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 STEPPING WIND Kaze no Klonoa 2 (STEPPING WIND 風のクロノア2 ) --- Old ---
Version
All
x4 (349)x1 (424)x4 (424)
 Taiko PS2 1
 164
 none
 klono


 STEPPING WIND Kaze no Klonoa 2 (STEPPING WIND 風のクロノア2 ) --- New ---
Version
All
x4 (349)x1 (424)x3 (500)
 Taiko 4
 164
 none
 klono


Oddly enough, the first Klonoa song in Taiko games comes from the original game's sequel, bringing to the table one of the longest and hardest (of the time) Oni/Donderful charts for the 4-star ballbark.

The franchise's second main game goes by the name of Kaze no Klonoa 2: Sekai ga Nozonda Wasuremono (風のクロノア2 世界が望んだ忘れもの, lit. "Klonoa of the Wind 2: Thing That The World Wants to Forget"), released for Playstation 2 on March 2001 in Japan and some months later in the rest of the world, under the much simpler name of Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil. Unlike the first game, the sequel has not received any future ports or remake releases, after the cancellation of a port for the Nintendo Gamecube.

In this game, our cat-like hero is dragged into the dream world of Lunatea, after dreaming of an unclear figure asking for help. Here, Klonoa meets the human-monkey Lolo and her dog-like companion Popka. After helping Lolo in her training to become a priestess by reaching a sacred bell, Klonoa learns from the enigmatic prophet Baguji about a threat which is affecting Lunatea without being noticed by anyone else: outside from the four kingdoms' sacred bells, a fifth one appeared from nowhere spreading chaos and making the priestess ill. In order to stop the threat, the new priestess Lolo has to absorb the power from the other three bells to contain the evil bell's powers. For this purpose, she travels with Klonoa as his giant ring's life force, allowing him to use all his skills in order to reach the bells.

Stepping Wind is the tune played in the game's Vision called "Mountains of Mira-Mira", composed by Kakino Kanako (柿埜嘉奈子). However, the version being used on Taiko is the so-called 'Karaoke Version', being included in the game's soundtrack on December 2002. As the subtitle suggests, this version has the addition of lyrics in the game's fictional language, being sung by Klonoa's Japanese seiyu Kumiko Watanabe (渡辺久美子). Despite this fact, Klonoa 2's guidebook included a Japanese translation of the song's lyrics.

Like many other songs before it, Stepping Wind's debut on a "Gen 1" Taiko game was followed by incomplete chart sets (no Kantan mode included) and easy-to-read patterns reused for both Muzukashii and Oni. It was later released on arcade with a proper Oni (Donderful) mode, and its notecount was higher that almost every other 10* song at the time, with the sole exception of Taiko Samurai. This was also one of the first songs to feature special dancers; on top, several varieties of Moos (the series' most common enemies) can be found instead of the usual Taiko spirits, while on the bottom are Klonoa, his allies on the left (Lolo and Popka) and his rivals on the right (Leorina and Tat). In the arcade release, Leorina and Lolo's places were swapped.

 The Windmill Song Klonoa: Door to Phantomile
Version
Allx4 (151)x6 (219)x6 (330)x8 (572)
 Taiko 0 M, Taiko Wii U 2
 125
 none
 klwind

Coming to Taiko almost a decade later, The Windmill Song is from the first game in the Klonoa series, Kaze no Klonoa: door to phantomile (lit. 'Klonoa of the Wind: Door to Phantomile'). The original Klonoa is -as already mentioned- a side-scroller platform series, whose first game was released for Sony's Playstation in Japan on December 1997 and distributed the year after to the rest of the world. While the original game was ported to PlayStation Network between 2011-2012, a Wii remake -simply titled Klonoa- was published by Paon in 2008-2009.

The game's plot takes place in the titular Phantomile, a land said to be fueled by its inhabitants' dreams; as such, nobody is able to remember any of their dreams with the sole exception of Klonoa, a cat-like boy living in the city of Breezegale with his grandpa and a spirit named Huepow, caged in a giant ring. One day, Klonoa dreams of a giant ship crashing into a nearby mountain; as the event happens for real some days later, he and Huepow decide to investigate, finding two mysterious creatures by the names of Ghadius and Joka. With the power of a magic pendant held by Klonoa's grandpa and the singing voice of the diva Lephise, Ghadius plots to put Phantomile into an endless nightmare with the help of Joka and his other minions; now it's up to Klonoa to stop the villain's schemes by chasing him down all over Phantomile, while also learning a little bit more about the land and its inhabitants along the journey.

Klonoa: DTP and its sequel share the same gameplay, and occupies a special niche as a 'puzzle-platformer'; its levels, or 'visions', require players to maneuver complex structures and beat bosses by thinking carefully about their actions, instead of by pure fighting. The games are viewed from a 2.5D perspective, meaning that while the player can only move into a two-dimensional fashion, the game itself is rendered in 3D. The player may interact with objects outside paths, which can follow curved patterns thanks to the 3D rendering. Outside from Klonoa's mid-jump floating and the various level hazards, he can attack enemies with the help of Huepow, by releasing a burst of wind (the 'Wind Bullet') from his giant ring, which can inflate some enemies up to his head, allowing the player to use them either as a throw-able weapon or to do a double jump in mid-air. 

The Windmill Song is the track played in Vision 1-1 "The Beginning of Gales", the game's first level. The song is composed by Junko Ozawa (小沢純子), who joined Namco in 1983 right after graduation. Going by the nickname ZUNKO, many other tunes on Taiko were made by him, both original creations (like Mirai no Kage e) and other videogame tunes, such as Thunder Ceptor Medley and the infamous Doom Noiz, in collaboration with Linda AI-Cue.

Under Etou's design, even slow songs can be turned into a worthwhile fun challenge. The Windmill Song's Oni chart is slow with continuous clusters and combo-breaking streams, reminiscent of Don Engasu no Fue Fuki's Oni chart.

 Baladium's drive Klonoa: Door to Phantomile
Version
Allx3 (97)x5 (173)x6 (297)x7 (541)
 Taiko Wii U 3
 120
 none
 klbala


Also from the first Klonoa game is the track known as Baladium's drive, featured in Vision 4-2 as the boss track used in the fight against Baladium, a flying snake and the last of Joka's subordinates. This song has been composed by Kohta Takahashi (高橋コウタ), renowed composer in other Namco series like Ridge Racer (URBAN FRAGMENTS) and Ace Combat, as well as occasional contributor in bemani gaming; not only he made selected songs for the beatmania IIDX, GITADORA and pop'n music franchises, but he was also one of the teachers of recurrent bemani artist Daichi 'PON' Watanabe (渡辺大地) during his music school years!

The song's Oni mode plays out like a more relaxed version of The Windmill Song's Oni notechart for yet another 3/4 beat stanza-based song with lots of even-note clusters in the mix.

  Baladium's drive Klonoa: Door to Phantomile
Version
All


x9 (727)
 Taiko Wii U 3
 120
 none
 ???


For a more meatier challenge, this Wii U-spawn Klonoa song also comes with an Ura Oni that closely resembles an harder version of the regular Oni's notechart, where new 1/24 clusters and more notes in general are coupled with the pattern-repeating trend that the song takes halfaway the play.

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