Super Darius II – “Olga Breeze” (arr. T’s Music Co. Ltd)December 6, 2009
Here’s some more guitar-driven shmup music, this time “Olga Breeze” from Super Darius II on the PC-Engine (Taito, 1992). This track is taken from mpc rips of the game CD converted to mp3.
“Olga Breeze” has some great naval-esque instruments implemented into the music, matching the giant space fish theme of the Darius series. The guitar plays an easy-going tune reflecting carefree flying over the ocean beneath a bright blue cloud-filled sky – or in this case over the solar flares of the sun. In either case, there’s some pretty sweet flying going on. The piano accents add a great touch of energy to the heat and power of the guitars.
Super Darius II was originally released for the arcade in 1989 and was composed by Hisayoshi Ogura (Darius, The Ninja Warriors). The game, like several other of Taito’s arcade games from the time, used three monitors side-by-side to create an incredibly widescreen play field that can only be replicated on high-resolution and widescreen monitors, so the home console ports had incredibly condensed play fields. The PC-Engine CD port of the game (1992) was remixed by T’s Music Co. Ltd, and features a guitar-driven soundtrack as opposed to the more atmospheric chiptunes of the original. I prefer the PC-Engine soundtrack for this reason, as it is much more energetic. Unfortunately, it lacks the famous line “I always wanted a thing called ‘tuna sashimi!'” yelled in the introduction, which was a sequenced recording in the arcade version. Personally, I think the track is kind of lacking for it, but the guitars are still a nice touch.
Most early CD-ROM-based videogames used redbook audio, making them easy to play back on a CD player. This also means that the game soundtracks can be easily modified by burning a copy of the disc with new songs that have exactly the same length as the old ones. In this manner, I was able to modify my copy of Super Darius II for the Sega Saturn (1996), which used the original arcade graphics and plays better than the PCE version but had the music of the arcade version. The games feel a lot more exciting with new soundtracks, but part of this seems to be the novelty of being able to create your own game soundtrack.