Posts Tagged ‘Kuniyo Yamashita’

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King Kong 2 – Ikari no Megaton Punch – “Main Theme” (Shinya Sakamoto, et al)

August 2, 2010

King Kong 2 – Ikari no Megaton Punch (King Kong 2 – Furious Megaton Punch, 1986) was one of the first compositions by both Shinya Sakamoto (Rush’n Attack) and Kinuyo Yamashita (Castlevania). However, the music is more in line with Mr. Sakamoto’s work than Ms. Yamashita’s, as the composition is eerily similar to the Main Theme from Rush’n Attack. The beat is identical, and the instrument and notes are similar – a steady beat that begins with a low, rolling theme that slowly builds intensity. This seems to obviously be his work, with the main difference as King Kong 2 contains a lazier, jungle feel, particularly with the short intro bit. Actually, there are several different versions of the “Main Theme”, each with its own. Ms. Yamashita’s other work sounds more like the dungeon and boss battle theme. The game is also notable for its exceptionally long tracks, with loops of a minute or more! Granted, there are only a handful of real songs in the game, but this is pretty incredible on the NES, especially for 1987! Overall, a very enjoyable, forgotten Konami classic.

King Kong 2 – Ikari no Megaton Punch – “Main Theme” (Shinya Sakamoto, et al)

Anyway, the game is loosely based off of King Kong Lives, where King Kong, after falling from the Empire State Building, is kept alive in a lab. From there, Kong escapes and tries to rescue his kidnapped girlfriend, Lady Kong, from jungle militia and wild animals. From what I recall, the game plays similar to Zelda (which is interesting, considering the year it was made), with a touch of Metal Gear. A fairly decent game that probably was never released in the US due to copyright.

King Kong 2 was composed by four people. Shinya Sakamoto (Life Force) and Hevimeta Satoe (Stinger) both collaborated on Rush’n Attack before Satoe seems to have dropped off the face of the industry. Kyouhei Sada worked on several other Konami titles (including Rush’n Attack and Contra) before leaving to join Natsume and work on games such as SCAT. Then we have Kuniyo Yamashita who is most famous for her work on Castlevania. She also helped Mr. Satoe compose Stinger. There have been at least two remixes of the theme, one by EtlanZ, and the second on the album with the “promising” title Konamic Game Freaks, neither of which I have.

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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.

8-Bit Mondays: Castlevania – “Wicked Child” (Kuniyo Yamashita)

“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.

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Castlevania Judgment – “Vampire Killer” (Yasushi Asada)

March 26, 2010

This week, Konami released the Castlevania Best Music Collections BOX, a set of 18 (!) CDs and one DVD chronicling the musical history of the Castlevania series. Given this large collection, I am designating the next seven Dailies as Castlevania week where I will add another seven tracks from the series I haven’t covered already. Today’s is the most famous Castlevania song (aside from “Beginning”), “Vampire Killer”. “Vampire Killer” originated in the original Castlevania (1986) for the NES as well as the MSX game Vampire Killer (1986; loosely based off Castlevania). The original was composed by Kuniyo Yamashita (King Kong 2, Mega Man X3). The track has since appeared in nearly every other game in the series in some form or other (I lost count at ten arranges), but I happen to think the version from Castlevania Judgment (2009) to be the best. It was arranged by Yasushi Asada of Noisycroak. Here is the original for comparison.

Casltevania Judgment – “Vampire Killer” (Yasushi Asada)

While many people (including myself) disliked the new character designs and concept behind Judgment, Yasushi Asada’s (Tales of the Abyss) guitar arrange of the classic tune is probably the best version out there – and that’s saying quite a bit. The track is full of power and energy while remaining faithful to the source material. The flourishes of the guitar express pure joy of the melody and the attitude required to go out and hunt vampires for a living. The strings, organs, and choir used for the middle section communicate the grave dangers involved in exploring a haunted castle to slay the undead from zombies rising from the floor to pitfalls and man-eating cats. Though the original tune was only about 40 seconds in length, Asada’s new material at about 1:00 fits perfectly with the original melody, beefing up what would otherwise be a short tune. To learn more, check Mr. Asada’s excellent interview with Gamasutra about his work on the soundtrack.

Due to the song’s popularity, “Vampire Killer” has been remixed many times. Some excellent versions include: Read the rest of this entry ?