It’s hard for me to pick my favorite version of “Simon’s Theme”. This has to be my favorite track in the entire Castlevania series, even beating out some of Michiru Yamane’s work. The song really strikes a chord for me: it has a very strong melody, a deep gothic feel, and intense action. Regardless of how Simon Belmont looks in that silly leather kilt of his, there’s one thing that stands clear: he has the best damn theme of all the characters in the series. The original was composed for Super Castlevania IV (1991) by Masanori Oodachi and Soutarou Tojima (Metal Gear Solid 4, Castlevania: Curse of Darkness) as a launch title for the Super Nintendo. Though the instruments aren’t as high quality as some of Konami’s later work on the system, the compositions are absolutely amazing and definitely the most gothic in the series. Here is the “Prologue” that plays before the original version of the theme, off the Dracula Best 2 (1994). The minimalism of the introductory area provides the perfect atmospheric setup for “Simon’s Theme”, with its excellent organ, flute, and strings that ooze an amazing Halloween gothicness. The track plays at both the introductory level and in the final showdown with Dracula.
Even though the arranged version in Castlevania Chronicles (2001) does not have the great gothic organs found in the original, it places stronger emphasis on the trumpets. Rock guitars are used for support and atmosphere, but the main melody is played out on these trumpets, which provide a wonderful sense of power and mastery – not only of the hero but also of his ability to overcome these terrible obstacles before him. The excellent drumset used here drives the theme forward in heart-pounding action. Unlike the original version, “Simon’s Theme” plays in the final stage of the Castlevania Chronicles, and so it is the most difficult level, with intense battles with sword-wielding skeletons and trap candelabras that fall from the ceiling to set the room ablaze.
A good deal of the power behind “Simon’s Theme” comes from the very strong set of core notes: long, bold melody that quickly imprints in your memory and fires the imagination. The melody also continually reverts back to those twelve main notes, maintaining a rock-solid center that breathes confidence. This is hero music through and through, and the Castlevania 4 guys knew this when they composed it.
“Simon’s Theme” has reappeared in several other games, with limited effect. This makes it difficult to find the ‘ideal’ version of the theme. Read the rest of this entry ?