Monday, September 15, 2014

Soundtrack September: Castlevania IV

Game: Super Castlevania IV / Akumajo Dracula (1991)
Platform: SNES / Super Famicom
Composers: Adachi Masanori, Kudo Taro

I used to walk home after school with a kid named Ben, whose commute took him past my house. One day he lent me this game and strongly recommended that I play it, specifically citing the game's "awesome" music. That was the word he used, and he was right.

This is another game that shows off what the SNES can do audio-wise. Expressive strings in particular are very well emulated by the soundtrack, adding aural atmosphere on top of the visual atmosphere that fans had already come to associate with Castlevania. But it isn't just a showcase of sound programming technique -- it's also compositionally solid.

The Stage 1 theme is universally popular (if we can't count on a Castlevania game to deliver a strong theme on the first stage, what can we count on?), and just about every subsequent stage follows suit with a similarly excellent tune. The challenge is finding a song on the soundtrack that isn't good.

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