MIDI-style Vampire Killing.
Reader review by Abrahm
Don't let the title of this soundtrack deceive you, Dracula MIDI Collection is not what you might think. This is neither a collection of Castlevania songs played on a cheap keyboard, nor original background music from various Castlevania games. Rather, it is a collection of MIDI arrangements complete with drum support and other decent instrumentation, and it is every bit as good as any of the other arranged Dracula game music CDs.
Tracks 1-7 give you MIDI arrangements of the background music that appeared in the original NES version of Castlevania. From the familiar "Vampire Killer" (stage 1) to "Nothing to Lose" (Dracula's boss music), each one of these arrangements is very good and easily recognizable since they don't have any heavy guitar playing or upbeat rhythms.
The next four songs give you even more MIDI arrangements of familiar Castlevania tunes. Track 8 is a cool arrangement of the town music featured in Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, and "The Silence of Daylight" is a livelier version of the same song featured in Super Castlevania IV (Super NES). "Battle of the Holy" may sound unfamiliar to those who have not played the Game Boy title Castlevania: The Adventure. However, it is one of the best songs on the disc with its nice, "laid back" rhythm and mellow tone.
Tracks 12-15 are original PCM music from Castlevania games. So, you get to hear "Vampire Killer," "Out of Time," and "The Silence of Daylight" as they were recorded for the Japanese versions of the Castlevania games. Track 15 is from the PC-Engine version of Dracula X (stage 1), and is not unlike the version on the Dracula X original soundtrack.
The highlights of this soundtrack are the two piano-arranged versions of "Lost Painting" (Dracula X: Nocturne in the Moonlight) and "Beginning" (the tune from stage one of Castlevania III). The arrangement for "Beginning" is clever to say the least, and "Lost Painting" (which is one of the best on the Nocturne in the Moonlight soundtrack) is, in a word, beautiful.
Like most video game soundtracks, though, Dracula MIDI Collection has its flaws. Tracks 11, 16, and 17 are MIDI arranged versions of "Rainbow Cemetery," "Awakened Soul," and "Strange Bloodline" respectively, but are not very different at all from the versions that are on the Nocturne in the Moonlight soundtrack. Track 20 is a MIDI arrangement of "Beginning" by the Konami Kukeiha Club. But among the many variations of the song, this one is the worst, thanks to the generic sounds of the drums and quirky instrumentation.
Since the disc is in "CD Extra" format, you get a couple bonuses. Included on the CD are graphics files of box art from a few Castlevania games, along with quite a few MIDI tracks (which sound totally different than those in the CD audio portion). You can access those files if your Macintosh or PC has a CD-ROM drive and a good sound card (which is needed to hear the MIDI files in their full glory).
Any Castlevania/Dracula game music fan should not miss Dracula MIDI Collection. It is yet another example of how well Konami arranges their own music to make the most memorable songs even more unforgettable.