8-Bit Mondays: Castlevania – “Wicked Child” (Kuniyo Yamashita)March 30, 2010
“Wicked Child” is probably the best track from the original Castlevania (1986). While not as widely known as “Vampire Killer”, “Wicked Child” has a much more complex and superior composition than to any other piece in the album. Not only does it have a 22-second opening (a rarity for games at the time), but it also has a 40-second loop. The melody is composed like a pop song, with vibrant, billowing notes and a timbre triangle wave that reflect the leaps and jumps of the hunchbacks, the swooping crows, and the tricky platforming players need to perform on the crumbling, moonlit castle walls. It’s no wonder then that composer Kuniyo Yamashita picked this song as her favorite piece from the game.
“Wicked Child” has been remixed several times, though surprisingly not as frequently in the games themselves. The Castlevania Chronicles version is pretty weak, but Akumajo Dracula: The Arcade (2009) has a wicked-cool orchestral 80s rock with excellent drums. Sadly, the album is only available in the Akumajo Dracula Best Collections BOX, which will set you back about $240 after shipping. The collection is kind of a toss-up, especially for someone like me who already owns most of the albums. It’s a shame Konami didn’t make the album more complete or release individual soundtracks separately, as I really think The Arcade is one of the best CV soundtracks to come out in awhile. Anyway, the game also looks really cool and I wish they’d bring it over to the Wii, as this looks like the perfect game for it (or at least the States…).
Dracula New Classic (1992) has a nice medley of “Vampire Killer” and “Wicked Child” that feels slightly like a dance or waltz (dancing goblins, maybe?). Nice castanets, too. Part of this song is played at Video Games Live. Scott Peeples did an absolutely amazing orchestral/break beat mix of this song back in 2000 (has it really been that long?) that still stands up well to this day. Anyway, there are so many other mixes of this it’s impossible to say which is the best, particularly since there are so many styles. However, I currently think the Arcade version is my favorite.