Legendary Axe II – “Level 3” (Hiro T. Suzuki)August 16, 2010
EDIT: Whoops. This was actually from The Legendary Axe II! Oh well, it’s still awesome. Check out the craptastic cover art, too. It’s so bad, it’s hilarious. Sadly, the composer, Hiro T. Suzuki, doesn’t seem to have made any other soundtracks.
The Legendary Axe II (1990) was a pretty big title on the Turbografx-16 (TG16). In it, the player plays a barbarian caveman with a giant axe who must rescue his girlfriend from an evil king. Ridiculous costume designs hearken back to every awful barbarian fantasy movie from the 80s, but thankfully, the game stands up as being pretty fun to play. Heck, it’s even got gorillas and vampire apes. The Legendary Axe II also has an interesting soundtrack that tries to be epic, with tracks more like orchestral pieces than anything else, though obviously unable to accomplish its ideals thanks to the 8-bit sound chip of the Turbografx-16. Music is in ogg format today.
The “Level 3” theme happens to be my favorite. It has a deep, brooding bass line that is reminiscent of the Golden Axe “Wilderness” theme (incidentally, the “Stage 1” theme is reminiscent of Castlevania III, which came out in 1991). After a 30 second intro, the song transitions into a drum section with a more active melody before steadily building to the finale at 1:00 that gives a lot of confidence, to overcome the desperate situation indicated in the first section. The loop ends at 1:17, which isn’t bad for a game from this period (7 stage themes, plus a good half-dozen full-length tracks for bosses).
Jun Chikuma was responsible for composing almost the entire Bomberman series while his collaborator, Toshiaki Takimoto, worked on the PCE version of Ninja Gaiden as well as the Zelda clone, Neutopia. Oh yeah, my brother wrote the HG101 article on the series. It’s good stuff.