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GoldfishX Jun 5, 2012 (edited Jun 5, 2012)

The other day at work, I decided to go over my Konami Battle albums and actually rate the tracks. The timing was good, as I hadn't listened to them in awhile and the Shooting Battles only had about 3-4 tracks I was familiar with, when just going by names. I'm curious how other people would rate the respective tracks, but for the timing being, here's what I came up with.

Notes: Did not rate the other semi-arranged Battle: The Best tracks or half of Snatcher Battle (It's hard to judge some of the tracks on it because of the mixing...Coda and Theme of Junker were the two standouts, Peaceful Ave and Twilight of Neo Kobe were the two obvious goats).

Surprises: Requiem for the Nameless Victims. How much I preferred Shooting Battle 1 over SB2 when listening back to back. Once SB1 hits Maximum Speed, the rest of the album soars and is probably on par with Dracula Battle 1 (my obvious favorite) from that point. The high point on SB2 is Try to Star, then it has a lot of tracks that kind of develop into awesome parts over time, but aren't standouts as a whole (same issue with Iron Blue Intention). I was surprised how little I cared for the Dracula Battle II version of Beginning and how fresh the DB1 version sounded after a long time away from it. Ripe Seeds and Vampire Killer easily could have been boosted up to 5 stars, but I felt compared to the other arrangements on the album, they were slightly weaker.

As for the deletes, I never liked Road of Enemy, but I thought March of the Holy Man was just plain lousy. Not sure how this one skipped over my radar before.

* (Delete)

March of the Holy Man
Road of Enemy
Peaceful Ave
Twilight of Neo Kobe

** (Album Filler)

Looking for a Fortress
Calling From Heaven
Beginning (DB II)

*** (Good)

Machine Graveyard
Prelude of Legend
Crystal Clear
First Attack
Kidney Stage
Iron Blue Intention

**** (Really Good)

Out of the Blue From Hyperspace
Nostalgic
Boost-Up
Battle of Battleship
Colony
Give My Heart to You
Ripe Seeds
Vampire Killer
Legend of Dracula
Illusionary Dance
Junker
Coda
What is this Place

***** (Legends)

Maximum Speed
Departure Again
A-jax
Dog Fight III
Cross-Point
Try to Star
Faraway
Beginning (DBI)
Bloody Tears
Cross a Fear
Requiem for the Nameless Victims
Op. 13
Don't Wait Until Night
Theme of Simon
Den
In the Castle
Thrashard in the Cave
Reincarnated Soul
Great Heli - Ruined Base

XISMZERO Jun 5, 2012

Been familiar with the Battle albums for many years now and still never liked their rendition of Bloody Tears as I think Shibata screwed up the melody.

Ripe Seeds, Cross a Fear, Thrashard and Iron Blue Intention have to be some of the meanest Dracula arranges though -- NBP really nailed them all.

I disagree about most of the slower tracks; March of the Holy Man is a great tune but I could care less for the entirety of Snatcher Battle.

Faraway (SBII) has always been fun but the drums-added Super Contra arranges (especially Ruined Base) on the "Best" really makes me wish they could have redone the battles with a drummer added instead of the programs.

GoldfishX Jun 5, 2012

Lol, I actually scribbled a note to myself about Departure Again...the drums reminded me of Phil Collins. I thought that was funny, given the reputation the Battle albums have for hard rock/metal.

I remember the first time I heard the Bloody Tears arrangement from the sample on this site. It's like, I agree the melody is cut up, but the arrangement is so well done, I end up liking the flow of it. Some tracks like Den and Try to Star are great for being so straightforward with loops, Bloody Tears is actually kind of different for being one long, drawn out loop.

Adam Corn Jun 13, 2012

Exported from my J. River Media Center library. smile

***** Essential listening - The very best of the best *****
(In particular the first three are insanely epic)

Bloody Tears -- Dracula Battle
Theme of Simon -- Dracula Battle 2 (also on Battle The Best)
Battles of Battleship -- Shooting Battle
A-JAX -- Shooting Battle
Faraway -- Shooting Battle 2
Theme of Snatcher  -- Snatcher Battle

**** Very good ****

----Dracula Battle----
Beginning
Ripe Seeds
Cross a Fear
Requiem for the Nameless Victims
Op. 13
Calling from Heaven
Don't Wait Until Night (also on Battle The Best)
----Shooting Battle----
Boost Up! (also on Battle The Best)
Gradius Boss - Salamander Boss - Fire Dragon
Departure Again
Dog Fight III
Out of the Blue from Hyperspace
----Shooting Battle 2----
Cross Point
Try to Star
Colony
Crystal Clear (also on Battle The Best)
First Attack
Give My Heart to You
Kidney Stage
----Snatcher Battle----
Difficult Move  (also on Battle The Best)
Blow Up Tricycle
Theme of Junker
Resistance
----Dracula Battle 2----
In the Castle (also on Battle The Best)
Illusionary Dance
----Battle The Best only----
Great Heli ~ Ruined Base

*** Decent - Not a standout but ok as part of the album ***

----Dracula Battle----
Vampire Killer
March of the Holy Man
----Shooting Battle----
Machine Graveyard (also on Battle The Best)
Nostalgic
Maximum Speed (also on Battle The Best)
----Shooting Battle 2----
Prelude of Legend (also on Battle The Best)
Look for a Fortress
----Snatcher----
Theme of Izabel (also on Battle The Best)
Twilight of Neo Kobe City
Coda
In Danger
----Dracula Battle 2----
Beginning
Road of Enemy #1
Den
Theme from Legend of Dracula
Thrashard in the Cave
Reincarnated Soul
Iron Blue Intention
----Battle the Best only----
What Is this Place

** / * Weak ~ Awful - The album would be better without it ** / *

The Peaceful Avenue  -- Snatcher Battle


Three stars may be a bit forgiving for some of those Dracula Battle 2 tracks actually.  I just find that album for the most part so strangely mediocre for the Battle series that I feel too ambivalent about some tracks to give them a solid rating.

GoldfishX wrote:

Requiem for the Nameless Victims [is great]. How much I preferred Shooting Battle 1 over SB2 when listening back to back. Once SB1 hits Maximum Speed, the rest of the album soars and is probably on par with Dracula Battle 1 (my obvious favorite) from that point. The high point on SB2 is Try to Star, then it has a lot of tracks that kind of develop into awesome parts over time, but aren't standouts as a whole [...] I was surprised how little I cared for the Dracula Battle II version of Beginning and how fresh the DB1 version sounded after a long time away from it.

Agreed almost word for word here.  I consider "Faraway" the high point of SB2 but yeah, that album's arrangements aren't quite as strong on the whole as SB1's, though several have certain standout segments that pull their respective tracks through.

Ripe Seeds and Vampire Killer easily could have been boosted up to 5 stars, but I felt compared to the other arrangements on the album, they were slightly weaker....
I thought March of the Holy Man was just plain lousy. Not sure how this one skipped over my radar before.

I quite like Ripe Seeds myself.  Despite the love for Vampire Killer I find it and March of the Holy Man are the only two mediocre arrangements on Drac Battle.  The Vampire Killer arrangement is just too synthy and slow; feels more like it belongs on Drac Battle 2.

Dracula Battle 1 is truly in a class of its own, though as GoldfishX says Shooting Battle 1 in its second half very nearly matches it.

Judgment Day Jun 13, 2012

Certain songs are good regardless of how it's arranged. And if it turns out bad, I blame the people who remixed it. That's how I feel about Colony - such a great song. I might have to fire up Axelay again...probably one of the most underrated games ever.

GoldfishX Jun 13, 2012

Lol, Adam, I guess your thoughts on Dracula Battle II mirror mine for Snatcher Battle (although as stated, my issue with that album was moreso the dull mixing than the the arrangements). Your thoughts on "Den" in your review just make me laugh everytime that track comes up now (picturing zombies and skeletons doing aerobics...which is funny, because it does look like they are dancing in the games), although it's still one of my favorite Castlevania melodies and I still love the arranged version.

Judgement Day: There have been quite a few Castlevania albums recently that, personally, I think did absolutely nothing worthwhile with the source material. Dracula X Chronicles, CV Judgement, CV Arcade (if I remember correctly) and those two Tribute albums...all of which were pretty lousy. The Konami Battle albums are rather famous in the VGM community as an example where the arranger(s) got it right. Also of note...you don't hear too much about Gradius Tribute either.

Zane Jul 3, 2012

I must be the only person on the planet that actually likes "The Peaceful Avenue".

Smeg Jul 3, 2012

Zane wrote:

I must be the only person on the planet that actually likes "The Peaceful Avenue".

Are you an "I am the Wind" fan too? tongue

Zane Jul 3, 2012 (edited Jul 3, 2012)

Smeg wrote:
Zane wrote:

I must be the only person on the planet that actually likes "The Peaceful Avenue".

Are you an "I am the Wind" fan too? tongue

Oh, God no. Nooooo no no no no NONONO.

Edit: The SECOND I press the post button, "The Peaceful Avenue" came up on my iTunes shuffle. No lie. It must be a sign!

GoldfishX Jul 3, 2012

The original melody for Peaceful Avenue is fine (and it was arranged nicely on Snatcher SD Snatcher Perfect Selection). What kills the track for me with zero hope of redemption (outside of how out of place it is) is the singer. Male Jpop vocalists that I enjoy are few and far between and this guy is pretty much everything I despise when I hear a dude singing in Japanese.

Yuvraj Jul 4, 2012

Zane wrote:

I must be the only person on the planet that actually likes "The Peaceful Avenue".

That's nothing. I like "Eyes on Me". *takes cover*

Razakin Jul 4, 2012

Yuvraj wrote:

That's nothing. I like "Eyes on Me". *takes cover*

Eyes on Me is a good track, especially if it's arranged by Sakimoto, haters can go hate and so on.

Zane Jul 29, 2012

After giving all five Konami Battle albums some serious TLC over the past few weeks, there are only two things that stand out to me as negative qualities:

The main specific thing that bothers me is the tendency for songs to fade out in the middle of a solo at the end of the song, taking the easy way out so a proper ending didn't have to be written. On the two Dracula Battle albums alone there are nine tracks that do this (Ripe Seeds, Requiem for the Nameless Victims, Op.13, Road of Enemy #1, Den, Thrashard in the Cave, Reincarnated Soul, Iron Blue Intention, and Dance of Illusions). I didn't bother to check the Shooting or Snatcher albums, but I know a good number of those also fade out mid-solo at the end of the track as well. The songs that have proper endings feel like they have that much more punch to them (both versions of Beginning, Out of the Blue from Hyperspace, In Danger), and I would have loved to hear more of the songs have endings that actually end the song instead of just fizzling out (even if that fizzling is pretty awesome sounding as the volume fades).

The other thing is "Road of Enemy #1". Man, what a song. Uninspired solos over an E-power-chord for five minutes does not an arrangement make. I didn't really dislike this song when I first got into Dracula Battle II, but now it's hard to not skip through.

Other than that, I love all of the other tunes in one way or another. I usually listen to albums in proper sequence, so one-offs that may stand out as boring on shuffle (Twilight of Neo Kobe City, Requiem for the Nameless Victims) have their place on the albums for me; Requiem comes on after four really awesome and intense songs, so it gives me a chance to enjoy the peacefulness of the arrangement before getting my face melted by Op.13.

I've heard these albums so many times over the past decade or so that I could probably recreate them note by note from start to end, so it's hard for me to break them apart and rate the songs on their own. If I had to rate the series as a whole I'd give it a 9/10. A few very minor weak points aren't enough to detract from the overall awesome (and definitive, for me) VGM rock arrangements. They just don't make them how they used to!

GoldfishX Aug 9, 2012

Zane wrote:

The main specific thing that bothers me is the tendency for songs to fade out in the middle of a solo at the end of the song, taking the easy way out so a proper ending didn't have to be written. On the two Dracula Battle albums alone there are nine tracks that do this (Ripe Seeds, Requiem for the Nameless Victims, Op.13, Road of Enemy #1, Den, Thrashard in the Cave, Reincarnated Soul, Iron Blue Intention, and Dance of Illusions). I didn't bother to check the Shooting or Snatcher albums, but I know a good number of those also fade out mid-solo at the end of the track as well. The songs that have proper endings feel like they have that much more punch to them (both versions of Beginning, Out of the Blue from Hyperspace, In Danger), and I would have loved to hear more of the songs have endings that actually end the song instead of just fizzling out (even if that fizzling is pretty awesome sounding as the volume fades).!

Very true. What is funny is that many Falcom rock arranges (the Perfect Collections mostly) tend to do this a lot too, so subconsciously, it's become something of a trait for rock VGM to me. It's definitely more noticeable when these are put alongside more mainstream rock/metal, where it rarely happens.

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