Soundtrack Central The best of VGM and other great soundtracks

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GoldfishX Oct 24, 2008

What I meant by odd was that I've had it close to 8 years and only recently, I've listened to it on a real, regular basis. Much more than when I was playing through the game. Better late than never though, heh. I don't think it eclipses 3 (the US NES version), but it's a pretty strong second right now for me.

Daniel K Oct 24, 2008

Zane wrote:

I think some of her tunes from Lament of Innocence are incredible - "Dark Palace of Waterfalls" comes to mind

Agreed. LoI has an incredibly uneven soundtrack. I'd say about 80% of the score is either complete crap or mind-numbingly bland, but there are some stage themes (for example the one you mention) that are just awesome, among the best themes in the series. Curse of Darkness had a somewhat more balanced score, but it was way more mediocre (the only stand-out track being "Baljhet Mountains", IMO).

Herrkotowski wrote:

I suggested the way I did because I really thought that Koshiro's contributions to PoR were a homage to the classic soundtracks. "Invitation to a Crazed Moon" is by far one of the best compositions to come out of the Castlevania series since Symphony of the Night.

I'd also like to see Koshiro do a Castlevania score, I'd bet he'd be much better at it than Yamane. His tracks on PoR and his Actraiser stuff shows he can do it. Have to disgree on "Invitation to a Crazed Moon", though, I thought it was his weakest piece in PoR. My favourite was that clock tower theme, what was it called, "The Gears Go Awry"? Brilliant, pure old-school Akumajou.

GoldfishX wrote:

I'm among the people that feels the series hasn't spawned a particularly great soundtrack since Dracula X (including the remake).

Come on, you're exaggerating. tongue While its true that the quality of the series' music has declined noticeably in the latter half of it's life, I still think it holds up pretty good when compared to the vast majority of VGM. What cripples the CV-soundtracks of late is Yamane's hold on the series. Its not that she's a bad composer (Bloodlines and Symphony of the Night are masterpieces), its just that she's way too stuck in a rut. When I think of the incredible diversity she showcased on Symphony of the Night's OST (still her best work, IMO), it just strikes me as so odd that most of her latter CV-music (especially the handheld soundtracks) sounds so same-y. She's become too much of a one-trick pony, with many tracks on her newer soundtracks you only need to listen 15 seconds and you basically can tell how the entire piece is going to sound. The series needs new blood, both the music and the games.

I haven't heard Order of Ecclesia's soundtrack yet, though, so I can't comment on that.

GoldfishX wrote:

Oddly enough, the past year or so, I've probably paid CV4's OST more attention than I ever have previously. It's brilliant.

Like Zane pointed out, there's nothing odd about that whatsoever. Castlevania 4 has one of the best damn soundtracks ever composed. Definitely the pinnacle of the series, IMO.

GoldfishX Oct 24, 2008

Daniel K wrote:

Come on, you're exaggerating. tongue While its true that the quality of the series' music has declined noticeably in the latter half of it's life, I still think it holds up pretty good when compared to the vast majority of VGM. What cripples the CV-soundtracks of late is Yamane's hold on the series. Its not that she's a bad composer (Bloodlines and Symphony of the Night are masterpieces), its just that she's way too stuck in a rut. When I think of the incredible diversity she showcased on Symphony of the Night's OST (still her best work, IMO), it just strikes me as so odd that most of her latter CV-music (especially the handheld soundtracks) sounds so same-y. She's become too much of a one-trick pony, with many tracks on her newer soundtracks you only need to listen 15 seconds and you basically can tell how the entire piece is going to sound. The series needs new blood, both the music and the games.

We'll agree to disagree on SOTN...I was never impressed with it, even when the game was new and the idea of CD-quality sound was new to me. More "diverse" than prior scores, yes, but overall not even close to topping 3 (I hadn't heard much of IV and none of X when I first heard SOTN) We'll also have to agree to disagree on post-Drac X CV music, none of which exists on my HD or shelf anymore (but to be fair, the only scores I honestly hated were CV64 and LoI...The rest -like the DS scores- was mostly indifference and got cleaned during a HD clean-up. No big loss.). At this point, nothing short of a Dracula Battle-style OST will rekindle my interest. We'll agree to agree on Yamane though. Personally, I think she's bad when she's doing anything other than melodic rock and even then, she's dreadfully average, save for a track here and there. She definitely can't do even generic RPG music worth crap, so...I dunno.

The series needs to be taken away from Iga and company. They need to have a serious look at CV3's mechanics, level design, gameplay, bosses, multiple characters, layout, etc and maybe work in some of CV4's tricks, not beat the Metroid formula to death. And no, making it into a fighting game is NOT helping matters.

Daniel K Oct 24, 2008

GoldfishX wrote:

the only scores I honestly hated were CV64 and LoI...

My turn to use "we'll agree to disagree". I know a lot of people hate CV64's soundtrack, but I love it, quite frankly. I love the deep atmospherics of that soundtrack.

GoldfishX wrote:

The series needs to be taken away from Iga and company. They need to have a serious look at CV3's mechanics, level design, gameplay, bosses, multiple characters, layout, etc and maybe work in some of CV4's tricks, not beat the Metroid formula to death.

It definitely needs to be taken away from Iga and company. Not sure if CV3 (as awesome as that game is) is the only thing they should look at for inspiration though, there are plenty of other good entries in the series (like Dracula X). And while Castlevania 4 is definitely the strongest CV music-wise, I wouldn't consider it among the absolutely best CVs game-wise (although its still a very good game).

GoldfishX wrote:

And no, making it into a fighting game is NOT helping matters.

On this I think just about anyone can agree. That one looks set to be totally horrendous.

XLord007 Oct 24, 2008

For Yamane, you really can't do better than her work on the OZ soundtrack.  Really fantastic stuff.

Dais Oct 26, 2008

man, these topics and what people post in them are way too easy to predict

Smeg Oct 26, 2008

Dais wrote:

man, these topics and what people post in them are way too easy to predict

Far be it from you to defy prediction, no? smile

GoldfishX Oct 26, 2008

Dais wrote:

man, these topics and what people post in them are way too easy to predict

Pretty much. About as predictable as your average Yamane soundtrack.

Daniel K Oct 26, 2008

GoldfishX wrote:
Dais wrote:

man, these topics and what people post in them are way too easy to predict

Pretty much. About as predictable as your average Yamane soundtrack.

Although most predictable of all are Dais' sour, non-constructive hit-and-run one-liners. tongue

Dais, how about joining the discussion and expressing your own view instead of just dissing?

Jodo Kast Oct 27, 2008

I got it today. The catalog number is LC-1713~14. I almost had to wait until tomorrow, but I was lucky enough to run into the mailman as I was leaving my complex. It's very annoying to go to the post office. My post office doesn't have a special lane for pick-ups, so you have to grab a number and wait. And wait. And wait. And wait. And wait. I need to start bringing the full set of Encyclopedia Britannica (as opposed to a magazine) when I go there. That might get their attention.

The sound quality of the music is better than Dawn of Sorrow and even seems slightly better than Portrait of Ruin. However, I'm unsure if these are the DS versions or the full sound versions. You have to be mindful of that these days, since it's happening to a lot of DS soundtracks.

Dais Oct 27, 2008

Daniel K wrote:

Dais, how about joining the discussion and expressing your own view instead of just dissing?

And risk drowning out such critical insight?

FuryofFrog Oct 27, 2008

Jodo Kast wrote:

I got it today. The catalog number is LC-1713~14. I almost had to wait until tomorrow, but I was lucky enough to run into the mailman as I was leaving my complex. It's very annoying to go to the post office. My post office doesn't have a special lane for pick-ups, so you have to grab a number and wait. And wait. And wait. And wait. And wait. I need to start bringing the full set of Encyclopedia Britannica (as opposed to a magazine) when I go there. That might get their attention.

The sound quality of the music is better than Dawn of Sorrow and even seems slightly better than Portrait of Ruin. However, I'm unsure if these are the DS versions or the full sound versions. You have to be mindful of that these days, since it's happening to a lot of DS soundtracks.

Was the entire soundtrack spanning both the discs? On Gallery of Labyrinth the DS version was the first disc and the full sound version was the second disc so maybe its arranged in that manner. I'm curious to hear how improved the full sound version is. I know in GoL that the organ was most excellent but a lot of the other sections were sort of drowned out.


I do have to say the soundtrack is growing on me a lot which is more than I can say about most albums. Most of the time something that sounds unpleasing will most likely always sound bad to me but I am really liking the music now. Ruvas Forest is really catchy.

Jodo Kast Oct 28, 2008

FuryofFrog wrote:

Was the entire soundtrack spanning both the discs? On Gallery of Labyrinth the DS version was the first disc and the full sound version was the second disc so maybe its arranged in that manner. I'm curious to hear how improved the full sound version is. I know in GoL that the organ was most excellent but a lot of the other sections were sort of drowned out.


I do have to say the soundtrack is growing on me a lot which is more than I can say about most albums. Most of the time something that sounds unpleasing will most likely always sound bad to me but I am really liking the music now. Ruvas Forest is really catchy.

I finally got a chance to listen to it on my headphone system. It seems that the first 48 tracks are full sound versions; they sound a lot better than the original music from Dawn of Sorrow and Portrait of Ruin. The last 6 tracks on disc 2 are arrange versions and do sound improved over the other versions. Konami would've needed to make this a 3 disc set in order to offer both original DS versions and full sound versions. The soundtrack length is 117 minutes. To include both versions would require an additional 117 minutes. That's 234 minutes. Three discs can hold 240 minutes.

Keep in mind that I could be wrong about which version this really is. I remember that Harmony of Dissonance sounded markedly different from Circle of the Moon, and they were on the same system. It is possible they decided to greatly improve the sound quality for Order of Ecclesia.

I do like the inclusion of The Tower of Dolls, from the X68000 version. Oh, and Riddle from Castlevania III. And a few more sound familiar.

TerraEpon Oct 28, 2008

Jodo Kast wrote:

Three discs can hold 240 minutes.

Actually if you pack them really tight, three discs can hold up to 247 minutes, 30 seconds...but that doesn't matter here.

xanadujin Oct 28, 2008

I have never understood the lackluster reception of Curse of Darkness' soundtrack.  Seriously.  I felt Yamane was at her best on that soundtrack and definitely consider it the best CV soundtrack of recent times.  Almost every single stage theme is fantastic.  I agree that Lament of Innocence was a low point for her.  Though the arrangement was nice, many of the themes meandered too much and ultimately came off uninteresting.  But Portrait of Ruin was pretty good, so I don't really understand this recent "rut" that everyone keeps talking about, considering Oz was fantastic too.  Her rut occured with Suikoden III and Elder Gate.  I have no problem with her continuing to compose for CV games.

- Justin Pfeiffer

FuryofFrog Oct 28, 2008

I see. Well thats a pretty big soundtrack then. I was definitely pleasantly surprised when I saw Tower of the Dolls on the list of remakes for this game. Maybe I will have to shell out the money for this one. Thanks for the info about the album.


Curse of Darkness wasn't bad per se, it was just more......bland. I can't speak for everyone on this but her synth harpsichord is getting really grating on the nerves. Also, the way she continually rapes one of my favorite instruments (the organ) is not appreciated either although Gear Confusion Begins in PoR is a step in the right direction. The way each of her pieces flows in this OST really makes me sick sometimes. Curse of Darkness just had less stand out music that would make a person go, "Oh wow this music is great" or at least for me personally anyways.

The best tracks on that album IMO:
Abandoned Castle ~The Curse of Darkness~
Followers of Darkness -The First-
Baljhet Mountains
Garibaldi Courtyard
Garibaldi Temple
Mortvia Fountain
The Forest of Jigramunt
The Cave of Jigramunt

8 out of 56 songs. The eight are quality yes and one could argue that if every song was good from Castlevania 1 or 2 that this amount is not so staggering being that their soundtracks were max 14 songs a game. The thing is I was captivated by a lot of her work, almost everything in Bloodlines, a great deal in Symphony, a lot of Aria, a decent amount in Lament, less in Dawn, Portrait brought hopes back up. CoD was just blah, like Yamane was humming on the toilet one day playing the harpsichord (business as usual) and said, "Hey that could be an alright song"! CoD was enjoyed by me but to a much lesser degree. This sort of degradation makes me want her to take a break, some one could smash her computer with all of her samples and when she decides to come back from hiatus she can get brand new shiny samples or a live band to play.

This is directly conflicted with my enjoyment of the OoE soundtrack. There maybe some magic in her yet. OoE is really growing on me.

Daniel K Oct 28, 2008

Dais wrote:
Daniel K wrote:

Dais, how about joining the discussion and expressing your own view instead of just dissing?

And risk drowning out such critical insight?

Well, critical insight is augmented in part by considering different opinions/views, so why not?

xanadujin wrote:

I have never understood the lackluster reception of Curse of Darkness' soundtrack.  Seriously.

I found it kind of bland, the cutscene music that made up almost half of the 2-disc soundtrack was incredibly boring, and while I agree that most stage themes were pretty good, they weren't even near mindblowing like most stage themes in Bloodlines, Symphony of the Night, and some in Lament of Innocence are. Like I said, personally I only find "Baljhet Mountains" to be really stellar on the CoD OST. The guitars used in many tracks just sucked: instead of heavy thundering melodic bliss we got a sort of weak buzzing-kind of noise. A far cry from the Dracula Battles.

FuryofFrog wrote:

Also, the way she continually rapes one of my favorite instruments (the organ) is not appreciated either although Gear Confusion Begins in PoR is a step in the right direction.

Haha! "Gear Confusion Begins" (track 15 on the PoR OST CD), or as it is more often called, "The Gears Go Awry", is one of the few tracks in PoR composed by Yuzo Koshiro. No wonder it sounded too good - its not by Yamane at all. I agree that its one of the best tracks on that soundtrack by a long-shot, definitely the kind of stuff we need to see in new Castlevanias.

Zane Oct 28, 2008

Daniel K wrote:
FuryofFrog wrote:

Also, the way she continually rapes one of my favorite instruments (the organ) is not appreciated either although Gear Confusion Begins in PoR is a step in the right direction.

Haha! "Gear Confusion Begins" (track 15 on the PoR OST CD), or as it is more often called, "The Gears Go Awry", is one of the few tracks in PoR composed by Yuzo Koshiro. No wonder it sounded too good - its not by Yamane at all. I agree that its one of the best tracks on that soundtrack by a long-shot, definitely the kind of stuff we need to see in new Castlevanias.

After taking some time to separate the Koshiro tracks from the Yamane tracks in PoR I'll have to say that he should definitely be contributing more to the series than she has been. His tracks are solid and fit 'Vania very well without being trite or sounding like your typical Yamane.

Chris Oct 28, 2008

I'm not a Yamane fan, but Lament of Innocence features some of her best music in my opinion. I totally agree it's very inconsistent, but there are some fantastic dramatic gems in there. I have only spent a little time with Curse of Darkness but it seemed a bit poppy and dull for my taste. Symphony of the Night and, thanks to Koshiro, Portrait of Ruin also rank pretty high with me. Order of Ecclesia doesn't seem to offer much new but seems to be a solid enough soundtrack on first listen.

GoldfishX Oct 28, 2008

I was actually kind of excited about Curse of Darkness when I first heard some of it, mostly because it WASN'T LoI and it was much more melodic than that offering. But...I dunno, just lost interest in it, I guess. It definitely needed to be stripped down a LOT, mostly down to the stage themes and boss themes, but then I got to the point where most of these had worn out their welcome and the whole thing just came off as bland. Some of the rock was okay, but at no point was it as good as it should have been. I think nostalgia would have really helped this one out, but the game never looked good at any point to me, so...

Ashley Winchester Oct 28, 2008

Daniel K wrote:
FuryofFrog wrote:

Also, the way she continually rapes one of my favorite instruments (the organ) is not appreciated either although Gear Confusion Begins in PoR is a step in the right direction.

Haha! "Gear Confusion Begins" (track 15 on the PoR OST CD), or as it is more often called, "The Gears Go Awry", is one of the few tracks in PoR composed by Yuzo Koshiro. No wonder it sounded too good - its not by Yamane at all. I agree that its one of the best tracks on that soundtrack by a long-shot, definitely the kind of stuff we need to see in new Castlevanias.

"The Gears Go Awry" was the only song I liked in PoR. I give it a thumbs up! Go Yuzo!

And I don't think Yamane molests the organ that much - yes, I've heard "The Final Toccata" from SotN way too much to care for it anymore but "A Toccata into Blood Soaked Darkness" from CoD is another story.

Daniel K wrote:
xanadujin wrote:

I have never understood the lackluster reception of Curse of Darkness' soundtrack.  Seriously.

I found it kind of bland, the cutscene music that made up almost half of the 2-disc soundtrack was incredibly boring, and while I agree that most stage themes were pretty good, they weren't even near mindblowing like most stage themes in Bloodlines, Symphony of the Night, and some in Lament of Innocence are. Like I said, personally I only find "Baljhet Mountains" to be really stellar on the CoD OST. The guitars used in many tracks just sucked: instead of heavy thundering melodic bliss we got a sort of weak buzzing-kind of noise. A far cry from the Dracula Battles.

To be honest, I like CoD for many of the reason you dislike it:

* I don't know if I call CoD bland, but at the same time it doesn't really stick out. I think "mellow" is a better word, at least in my case. For some reason this kind of works for me, especially in a situation where I don't have the urge to over analyze what I hearing.

* The cutscene music is nowhere as bad as it is in LoI, the pieces are not as long (disrupting the soundtrack much less severely) and at least Yamane creates some connectivity between some of these tracks by incorporating hints of other tracks in them. "Sarabande of Healing" is used in many cut scene pieces and makes them more digestible. Still, this area is a glaring weakness of hers.

* I love how the guitars were restrained from going too wild, thought this brought a sense of meaning to tracks like "Legendary Belmont" and “Followers of Darkness -The First-“

I purchased the CoD and LoI soundtracks at the same time and I only have CoD left, I did repurchase LoI but in the Limited Edition Sampler style where I got rid of all the tracks I didn't want - the only one I miss being "Statues Born of Darkness"

Daniel K Oct 28, 2008

Ashley Winchester wrote:

The cutscene music is nowhere as bad as it is in LoI

We can definitely agree on this. LoI's cutscene-music was truly the bottom of the barrel. But, that doesn't really make the cutscene music in CoD any more digestible, IMO. Its better than LoI's, but it still sucks plenty, the stage themes are definitely the main attraction on both OSTs (and in this department, I find LoI to be clearly superior).

They just need to face it: cutscene-music has no place in Castlevania. ...And when I think about it, neither do cutscenes.

TerraEpon Oct 28, 2008

I love PoR myself, both Yamane and Koshiro's music...probably 85% of the tracks are gems (though that includes some remixes of older music).
I also like Curse of Darkness a lot, and OZ as well, but neither made much of a /memorable/ impact. Great to listen to, and well worth having, but I guess they are both kinda "also rans" as it were.

As for LoI, well there's a lot of good tracks, but it's a very different sort of sound. It's more on the ambient side...I like it too, but it's hardly better than the above three TO ME.

Eirikr Oct 29, 2008

Daniel K wrote:

They just need to face it: cutscene-music has no place in Castlevania. ...And when I think about it, neither do cutscenes.

"Open Hell's Gate! Come forth my servants! Crush this flea who invades my castle! HA HA HA HA!"

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