It’s time again for a DoD reviewOnce again we have three categories – Great, OK, and Skips. My picks aren’t influenced by the artist or by the final results, just how they feel to me when listening to them. In each category the songs are listed in no particular order.
The Planet’s Dyin’ from Final Fantasy 7 – A death metal take on the prelude starts off this medley. Haven’t quite heard it done that way in a long time. Right about when you’re getting tired of the amount of double-kick, the song slows down a bit and gets gentle. The transition to the opening theme is abrupt, and needed more work, and the guitars here sound a little off. The drum sample is also woefully inadequate. Fortunately, this part is short lived as it transitions into the Bombing Run theme. The bombastic horns combine with crunchy guitars to produce a very compelling sound, though the bass tends to get lost in the mix. It finally transitions into the FF7 overworld theme for a short period of time before getting to the ending, which is the FF main theme. It’s a very triumphant metal rendition with no real complaints. This is a good case of a song that gets better as it goes on. The medley transitions really need work, though.
This Volcano is Just The Right Temperature from Mega Man Adventure ZX – Something that isn’t metal for a change of pace. It’s well arranged and it sounds pretty good. I’ve never heard the track in question before, and it did appeal to me without knowing the source material. Got a jazzy feel and we need more of that.
Waves of Stone from Ecco: The Tides of Time – The best entry this month. The synths, guitars, and even the chorus combine to produce a thick, juicy sound that catches you right off the bat and doesn’t let go. Ecco is a series of games I’ve never played, so most of it is new / fresh to me, albeit having heard a few Ecco arrangements in the past. It also doesn’t go on forever, either – the arrangement is tight and doesn’t spend a lot of time noodling around. Bravo.
You Can Call Me Roy G. Biv from Kirby’s Adventure – A nice, gentle beginning. The guitar solo in the middle is a bit muddy and airy, though. Needs a bit more body so it doesn’t get lost within the center. Still very pleasing to listen to, then at about 3 minutes in it transitions to a bigger, more electric sound. The slower tracks this month stand out in a sea of drumbashing attempts, and props go to these guys for going this route.
Que Rico el Mono from Mario Paint – Something Spanish flavored in this entry, and it really feels like a great Mario arrangement. Horns, saxophones, piano… couldn’t hear a single guitar. A great listen and a must download.
Kid Samus from Metroid and Kid Icarus – Combining two NES classics into one track? Sounds good to me. A lot of the entries sound really good this month so differences between greats and OKs tend to be more in arrangement and general feel of the song, and this one does a decent job of melding two tracks without resorting to a medley.
Midnight Rush from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess – Now here’s a decent piano arrangement. Good recording, good playing, and keeps your interest throughout. Then the drums and bass come in along with a sax and an organ to develop another jazzy sound. Then it gets even crazier with synthesizers! Talk about a buildup with a unique sound. Then the piano comes back in to bring it down to earth. A great arrangement with a good sound always makes a winner.
I’m Hitting Balls from Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball – Now here’s a track I haven’t heard in forever. I loved Ken Griffey on SNES and the music was pretty good. It’s also fairly short. There wasn’t a lot of music in the game, to be fair, but what there was is represented here fairly well. A nice touch for including the organ as well, which is such a staple of baseball.
Drinking Eight Sodas Makes Me Sick from Chrono Trigger – A nice acoustic arrangement with what sounds like live piano and flute. It could use some more percussion in the background, but is otherwise well produced and easy to listen to.
Toejam & Hurl 2: The Eyes of Satan from Toejam and Earl – Big, Bombastic, and over the top is how you describe this. Definitely worth a pickup, though Ecco seems to beat this song better at its own game.
The Battle (Christmas Present to all Lufia Fans) from Lufia 2 – A Megamedley. I’m not a huge Lufia fan, but I’ve heard stuff from it and enjoyed it. There’s nothing obviously wrong with this song. It’s produced pretty well and the guitar playing is good. There’s just a few parts where the guitar tone doesn’t feel right to me. The drum kits also sound a bit low rent at times. Worth a listen and will probably grow on you over time.
The Prog Race: Everything You Hear is Wanking from Marble Madness – The title describes it pretty well. There seems to be an abundance of “mash everything on the drums at once” this month and this arrangement suffers from it a bit. The guitars are big and beefy. I’m not quite sure what goes on with that lick from the Simpsons theme in the middle… I’d delete it to tighten up the arrangement a bit.
Sephiroth’s Deliverance from Final Fantasy 7 – The sound is OK but the arrangement is a bit uninspired. A lot of tracks have a very similar sound this month. You might like this one, you might not. Whatever, it doesn’t inspire much from me.
Surfside Graveyard from Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins – Surf guitar has a lot of echo but this isn’t quite the sound they wanted to evoke. It’s nice to listen to, but you do have to get past that it sounds like it was recorded with wet towels over the mics.
Terra from Final Fantasy 6 – Double kick, anyone? The drums are mixed far too prominently in this track. Hey, they’re trying to go for screamcore/Dethklok style sound, but the mixing just ain’t there. It would be helpful if I could make out the lyrics, at least. These guys should check out Monkeys Disarm Your Kremlings for an example on how to do this.
Yolkfolk Rock from Dizzy: The Prince of the Yolkfolk – This drags a bit. Tempo just doesn’t feel quite right, but the sound isn’t too bad. It really picks up to something a bit more interesting about three minutes in. Worth a listen; see if you like it or not.
OMG Not Another Terra Arrangement! from Final Fantasy 6 – These Terra arrangements kind of miss the point of the original song. This isn’t bad to listen to, it just doesn’t have much to it. It’s not much different than the other Terra arrangement this month, and it still doesn’t displace Deadly Promises as my favorite Terra arrangement from DoD past. The reason I like that one more is that it’s a slower, methodical track, and that legato feel is crucial for Terra’s ambivalent character.
In Lavitz’ Name We Strike from Legend of Dragoon – If you can get past the one part of sort of out of tune guitar playing in the beginning, the rest is a pretty interesting mix of synths and guitar. If they fixed that intro, this would definitely be bumped into the Greats.
Land of Summons from Final Fantasy IV – a fairly straight arrangement of Illusionary World. An OK listen but nothing groundbreaking.
Oceanic Joyride from Alex Kidd in Miracle World and Super Mario Bros – The tremolo picking doesn’t help in the intro, but the guitar tone’s overall good. The bass gets lost in the mix with the rhythm guitar. An extra instrument to give this song a little more texture and depth would have helped out a bit. About halfway through it transitions to the Super Mario Bros. underwater theme with clean electric guitars for a quick break until it jumps right back into the distortion. Ends on a fadeout too, for shame.
Do the Opa-Opa from Fantasy Zone – Gotta give these guys credit for doing something different. This is another one of those “you’ll either really like it or you don’t.” It’s catchy and fun but the instrumentation is only so-so.
Audacity Butterflies from Chrono Cross – An OK piano arrangement. The recording is so-so but better than Resurrection. With better recording this could move up into the greats.
Adieu, Mes Amis from Sonic the Hedgehog – It’s all right, I guess. These drums just can’t compete anymore. The guitar also sounds a bit off here and there, but it’s still an OK song.
A Pie for Paragon from Axelay – One of these long songs. The instrumentation is good, but it has trouble holding my interest. It sounds a lot like general “prog synth rock” entries that seem to get lost in this OK category. The playing is well done.
THE MISSION WAS COMPLETED SUCCESSFULLY from Metroid Prime – The opening guitar tone blows and will put a lot of people off from this. There’s some interesting stuff going on later, but I always wind up fast forwarding through this.
Tingle Goes Christmas Shopping from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker – This feels like a gag song, but it’s submitted as an actual song. It’s trying to parody Jingle All The Way. It’s a bit repetitive and the sound is eh.
Resurrection of the World from Terranigma – Poorly recorded piano, but the actual playing isn’t bad except from a few mistakes I hear in a few places. Nothing unique here.
Scarlet Carnage from Shinobi – Out of tune or otherwise poor guitar playing ruin what is an otherwise interesting tune.
La Fayette from Goldeneye – A terrible mix of James Bond. Sorry guys, this one’s junk. Guitars out of tune, bad general MIDI orchestra hits… blech.
Mario McCallister from Mario Paint and Home Alone – So-so instrumentation. At least it sounds like live drums were used. Just not very interesting to listen to.
Mary O. and Louie G. from Super Mario Bros. – With a little more work this could move up into the OKs. Sounds a bit plodding, and the minor changes to the Mario theme detract, and don’t add to it. Quite repetitive, too.
Graveriser from Altered Beast – This fuzzy tone combined with the strange cymbal/drums just doesn’t do it for me.
Dreams and Honor from Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 – Blech. Bad guitar and boring to listen to. Try again.
Flame Mammoth’s Stage from Mega Man X – Some out of tune guitar playing and just overall… eh. Nothing inspiring with a bad sound.
All Together Now from Mega Man X, Mega Man X2 – Just not a fan of the lyrics, and the tune itself aside from the guitar is just so… meh.
A Flashing Tornado Hits Houselvania (Because of Dr. Wily!) from Mega Man 2, Mega Man 9, Casltevania – A solo guitar that doesn’t sound very good.
Galuf’s Valiant Heart from Final Fantasy V – This sounds almost good enough to be a mainline track with a little more work. The chorus near the end of the song isn’t very good and would be better off with either better singers or being removed.
Wat? from Final Fantasy IV – Well, the title of the song is accurate. It’s a Mysidia arrangement with some silly gag lyrics. It’s pretty funny. Even has some Bobcat Goldthwait going on.
The Altered Song from Final Fantasy X – It’s some kind of choral arrangement.
Stab the Organ Fade of Justice from Star Ocean 2 – This would need a LOT of work to be a mainline entry.
Rock Band from Guitar Hero: World Tour – Quite a funny rap. NSFW, too.
Snake Leaves the DoD Listening Party from Mega Man 3 – A gag comedy routine over Gemini Man.
Rayth vs. Power Rangers from Power Rangers – Meh. What’s the point?
Paving the Way to Doomsday from Sonic 3 and Knuckles – This is pretty good and would be a part of the OKs if it was a mainline entry.
Hybrid from Mega Man 9 – Some weird chiptune/other stuff going on here. Eh.
Like a Harmony from Tales of Destiny – Eh. Not very interesting.
Dust Man (You Ain’t Gettin’ No More) from Mega Man 4 – This is wicked awesome and if it was a mainline entry it’d be right at the top. Really great work here.