DiscoverRetronautsRetronauts Episode 94: The music of Castlevania III, Shovel Knight, Galaxy Force II, and Contra III | Retronauts Radio

Retronauts Episode 94: The music of Castlevania III, Shovel Knight, Galaxy Force II, and Contra III | Retronauts Radio

Update: 2017-04-10


Boss Key Studios audio expert Jack Menhorn joins Jeremy for an in-depth discussion of the latest new releases of retro- and retro-style game soundtracks: Mondo's Contra III and Castlevania III, Brave Wave's Shovel Knight, and DataDiscs' Galaxy Force II!

Following script is auto-generated by Speech to Text Technology:

this week in reference to the civilian who is the the the deficit is brought to you by audible audiobook service with more than one hundred and eighty thousand titles to choose from a free audio book and a thirty day trial at audible trial dot com slash game this week's episode of retro it is also sponsored by Park box and I know you're thinking you know Bob I spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars on my free loading pooch and why should I spend a penny what to look into those puppy dog eyes that he deserves all of your money and what better way to do that than through park bucks so what does bark park's us well it is a monthly service the chips a box of all natural edible treats and interesting toys to your four legged pal sign up and get Park blocks dot com slash game that's get bark box da com slash and you can customize your plants your dog's needs whether their tiny jumbo size pooch has specific allergy or health issues and more and a different theme box of Pop the goods on the fifteenth of each month with free shipping in the continental United States the park box only ships edibles and Canada often from small businesses that don't yet have other means of wide distribution so each new box is unique and if your dog is a little purse Nikki or doesn't like a particular toy or tree bark box will even send a substitute item in return and its listeners can get a free bonus month of service by signing up for six or twelve month trial they going to get bark box dot com slash game and the Welcome to episode crap I was paying attention what is it um like ninety not quite ninety of return on its ninety something it is something I don't know anyway hi I'm Gary Parrish they are incredibly disorganized post and this is the fourth edition of retro not radio and after the positive response that we had the last episode where it was me and Bob together the studio reminiscing about Nintendo stuff I decided not to just modeling this episode and I brought in another special guest to the studio so wanted to take it from here and let everyone know about yourself hi I'm Jackman or Miami at Boss Key Productions here in North Carolina a writer and contributing editor to designing or which is a website about news reviews interviews for the pro sound industry right and Jack is a longtime friend of astronauts as well and so I thought you know it would be perfect to have him come in and share his expertise for some you know occasional episodes of restaurants radio because one he likes classic games too he understands video game music like inside and out so what better person to have come in and talk about video game music than someone who makes their living with it so yeah Jack thanks for coming and thanks for having me review the chances of other yeah well awesome I appreciate you taking the time I know you guys just had a beta for for lawbreakers the game currently working on correct yeah yeah yeah Clinton hears the talk like some of the shooters he loves I know he loves like a last day and things like that so yeah going to use your influence to get him in here someday the two founders of Bosque productions are Cliff and our numbers say and they may just jack rabbit together back in the early nineties I mean those guys are like fonts of so they're on my either my hit list someday anyway but for now we're going to be talking about video game music the the uh that my goal with restaurants radio would be to get kind of a variety of content in terms of what we talk about new formats just see the current and recent classic gaming music releases but you know across the spectrum of formats so you know the vinyl resurgence has been really big for video game music lately but there's also CDs and just free releases from composers who put their stuff on sound card or whatever or fan creators and composers such as yourself who who create tributes and covers in arrangements and so forth I know you are on the material collectives zodiac album yeah for final fantasy tactics to reduce anger was the track I did and I also was on successor which was a fun fancy a major album which came out a year ago ok missed out on that one yet a year ago and before that they did fancy seven the collective actually started out they did a final fantasy seven arranged outright hence the name in the area collective Yeah so um you know me my goal is to talk about music that is different degrees and accessible to people who listen to the episode so you may not be able to invest videogame vinyl but I would like for people to be able to go out and pick up you know free fan arrangements are inexpensive arrangements online unfortunately I'm not holding to that this episode and that is because in the pasts um well the past month or so past few weeks there have been a ton of really really great video game classic arrangements and musics on vinyl and so this episode is all about LP is if you are not a fan of bile and I apologize for that and if you don't have the budget for vinyl I understand that this is sampler and um maybe it will entice you to consider trying out listening to some vinyl but you know if that's your jam I guess you could just listen to this episode and say Oh that's pretty nice too bad I'm never going to buy as someone who doesn't a record player to some of these these albums and looking at what the rooms look like I wouldn't mind just grab one and all some of these are incredibly gorgeous yeah definitely the I think probably my favorite juice in terms of our release this time the Galaxy Force to Thunder blade release the dual game by all from data discs which actually doesn't have any Thunder blade art in it probably because there was no good source material for that arcade game the Galaxy Force Two has lake you know what is that guy's name so the gym or whatever like it's art that resembles his Chrome like that sort of eighties yeah she's tough but without being quiet so I don't think my parents should be seeing as that original that they're sort of riffing on a bit more subtle yet a bit though I'm either still row Naples I mean you get to take that with it but it's not quite is like a pin up cheesecake it's more like weird robot girl with blonde hair flying spaceship through space and blowing stuff up as you do as one does yes so anyway yeah that's that's a civil servant going to talk about for records and I Next time I promise we'll get some other stuff like CD there I promise but this time it's just all LP The to kick off talking about one that I've been looking forward to I'm happy to say that this release did not disappoint and that is Mondo records cast of a new three track it was cursed soundtrack when the first new release from under came out a few months ago I was pretty hard on it because it was pretty lackluster the did you and or read the review that I wrote for us camera I don't think I do ok so the problem with Allen was one the mastering was kind of weird like it was super hot very loud so it's like the balance is way off compared to other records I have in my collection but more concerning was the fact that the sound was pretty much just taken from the sun like they just take it from one of the season in Dracula best the arrangements of the used because of a new soundtrack included Foley effects of some late game sound sound effects in there and they were exactly the same a CD release from the nineties which like OK if they wanted to reissue this as like a you know re issue of that CD and vinyl that would be one thing but that's not how they pitched it like they created their all new artwork for it and everything it was just it was it was really disappointing but they did a much better job counseling it too which didn't have any of the sound effects and also included I think new audio capture of both the N E S and the family a computer disk System Audio so there are two versions of each game on a seven inch EP basically our tent I think that in TP because when you redirect those cursed the winter town and this is a double LP he like full twelve inch thirty three rpm release of the game soundtrack and while he is the eighty s soundtrack and one is the family com soundtrack and of course seventy three the Japanese version has been the most famous instances and in this instance as I suppose you could say of some changes and modifications being made for technical reasons in converting the game to the US edition and if you want to talk about any of that I don't know what you're familiar with the likes of the RC six in the MC five of them ever chips talked about it so anytime she gets someone else to step in here will be on the spot well the vu Pham a conversion has three x or sound channels due to the chest whereas the NDS version had doesn't have any extra sound channels although the any aspersions the M A C M and C five of no any S consul can take advantage of any extra or chips so it just see's the standard channels that are on any base any asking the N C five is weird because it's a Nintendo map or chip and that that was like the nicest most advanced ship you can use for a game in the US because Nintendo limited what what kind of technology was available for us licensees by it because the way the N E S was designed and some changes are made from the family calm like yeah the MC five have the ability to produce extra sound but the is hard work and actually do anything with it because I think those connectors were deactivated to the port on the bottom or something I've seen different speculation and explanations of what exactly happened but anyway yes so we went from basically a chip that was created specifically for the purpose of creating a really rich high end audio arrangement for the Japanese game and they had to scale that back to the to the American version to fit the standard any S technology and I will they did job of rearranging the tracks and long before I knew anything about the ex or sound chip I love Castle The Three and bought it ages the most amazing soundtrack it has had a sound test option in the American version and like I would bring that up is listen to me like music so cool so you know despite what was lost it's kind of a testament to these composers the terrain of their programmers in a Rangers that they managed to icing I think pull it off despite the the deficiency but this this record is great because Monday is release puts the two tracks are two versions different disks so you can kind of shoes like Which one do I want to listen to and you can really if you're into that sort of thing sit and you know just kind of soak up the difference is in really see what it's like and I've never heard the family com arrangements sound as good as they do on this this LP it's it's kind of a sticking point because you know different simulators are things like that the analog Auntie Minnie year the HDMI mods and things like that you can choose the balance of the the out on channels for chips and you know kind of define how you want to sound but this is sort of can article because it's taken from his archives that this is this is how they wanted you to sound to hear what they wanted for it to sound so yeah I'm really a huge huge fan of his record and it's definitely one of my favorite pieces in my collection yeah someone play very much the seventy three growing up so I don't missed out just for the soundtrack and I've been listening to it all week I absolutely love it it's just it's Nintendo Nintendo soundtrack and it sounds real good on it and wasn't it was interesting is since both sides are both GOP's of are so different you can can just keep playing through it all track in two different ways they're different enough it's still satisfying to listen to the our seats six ship was the one that was designed specifically for this game it should have a couple of other games and I like one of my favorite all time interviews in my time of the Games press was with the guy who designed it in Orem and I went to meet with him without realizing he had been involved with its creation and compose for regulars curse it was and it was an interview set up by my boss at the time said Kennedy who wanted to meet him because the contra connection he composed are like arranged country for any yes the soundtrack and when I mentioned that the RC six just kind of in passing like Oh did you ever work with the chip like he perked up and got really animated and sort of like drawing charts and stuff like showing like the sound wave or sow Sawtooth wave in the square waves and so forth and he was like I could tell it like you know all these years later he was still really proud of this thing that he created specifically for the purpose of making video game music sound better as I was almost ten years ago it's been a long time to have the interview but still sticks with me just because it was such a great like Oh wow what I stumble into it but yeah the DRC six audio night I did an episode recently of the RC seven and LaGrange Point which added FM synthesis to the eighty s which is like completely different technology it's like totally transforming into something that never was whereas the RC six just adds more of the same so you um basically the NEA sound but twice as much of it so when you listen to the soundtrack you can really like the clarity of the LP is so great you can really stop and just hear all these different things happening here the N E S had five channels by default one of them sometimes two were used for sound effects so you would generally get like three or four channel audio compositions in the you have games like Mega Man four where it was like four channels but then if you charge appear to make amends charge shot the sound effect for that would cut out some of the music so you had to make these compromises but the DRC six even have to do that it was just like a tiny digital orchestra and this this record really captures that and in great great style great clarity but again the the eighty s disc also sounds great it's simpler but it still has a lot of power to it and some I think some people prefer a sort of the minimalism the leader sound of the eighty s arrangements my dear I I think partially because of this out my brain wants to hear the the Viennese sort of soundtrack I'm going hey I was into it's going to be more similar to the DNS person rather than a conversion I also think be because the there there were less channels they could work with him and any offers man to get the point a lot easier or quicker with the with the melody so it's kind of really has got the melody that the baseline don't necessarily else going on it's just a bit more pure also has been more sparse it seems like with this all leave and square wave channels that they had on the neocon version the county is that a lot for organ ask sounds and hands and just kind of figuring which makes a very buzzy and dance were just of the spectrum is taken up where is was almost like a difference it is certainly different character but it's almost like a different atmosphere to the game where the NDS version since it is a bit more sparse it to me it feels like the game would play a bit more like you're alone where is the feminine version it's very obvious with the RC sex that's a certain certain you can tell i Kol they were trying to emulate an organ here are really trying to make this be a harpsichord or there's even one track where I think they're playing to two channels are playing the notes simultaneously but slightly too so it almost sounds like a de tuned piano so you can tell that the composer was was trying to emulate instruments on the CRC six whereas on the NE US version it was more this is this is the sine wave this is the way we're making a melody yet I think I think there's Argus be made for both styles and you know the the heresies six chip also enabled some actual gameplay features there's different enemies and different graphics like I like so many enemies are different in some of the backgrounds are more detail than the Japanese version like the swirling fog and some of the stages so I kinda feel like they become soundtrack goes better with that like it's a it's a richer looking game and so having that richer sound it really feels like the kind of exceeded the limitations of the Inn at any SM like gone beyond the platform a little bit whereas the American version is more like this is just kind of the ultimate any US action game and there's something to be said for both approaches but I feel like I feel like the soundtrack technology and arrangements fit each game and I think that's nice to have that sort of consistency between the two games yeah absolutely and like I said both both soundtracks are incredibly enjoyable to listen to it just depends on your mood if you want the more bombastic orchestral very much for going ask fam com or likey any US version yeah I mean just kind of looking track by track I feel like there are some tracks that work better in other lake the first track in the game for striking the game but the first stage track beginning is an all time classic of you know the castle the new franchise and that's a great rack in the ass but when you hear it on me calm it's just like it has this driving power to it that really makes you feel like I am setting out on a quest and I'm going to kills and rack the the media's version is a slight grade eighty s music again the the the the the the the the the The The The The The The like hectic tunes from what is called demon seed I think works a lot better on the ass because it does have a link this sort of insistent pulse to it and it forces you to kind of a I don't know if it seems like it fits better with the sort of simpler clearer sow the the the the the the the the the the the the the the the the the the the the the the the the the the the the the the the the the clockwork is another one that I'm actually kind of torn on that one because they both sound great but that's the one I think you're talking about sounds like harpsichord and it is sort of was to say like you hear this this clock tower there's the spinning gears and all around you like this technology in the kind of has that late anxious harpsichord sound sometimes the kind of it's kind of by the case by case like what's my mood that day sometimes I just like the simpler the simpler eighty s arranger for that one yeah absolutely I think when I first listened to these I start with the fam a calm ones and getting throwing man I'm just kidding of it my tears is getting a bit tired listening to this when I came back to it was just a different head space and buses this is really really red yes I'm going to call out a few tracks here just add them into the show so so people can hear them for themselves and compare yes I was going to cause some tracks kind of give you context of where they belong in the game and let you hear the two versions made one into the other then back again to sort of see like what's the difference and these are all taken ripped directly from the finals so it's not compressed aside from the cruelty that happens to podcasts when we post them but um yeah are not going to get the full effect of the music here but hopefully there's enough clarity that you can kind of get an appreciation for our image in beginning and clockwork but other one is stream which takes place on the aqua duct and I always associate that level with the wizard safe because if you take her long and sleek like a nice pal you can actually freeze the aqua Ducks water momentarily by using her ice magic so she's like sort of the super powered character there every day things like Castle via three is that you know you have the three companion characters they have to kind of choose between everyone is a tradeoff like each one has his or her own strength and you know you can also fight alone as Trevor Belmont if you really want it's a good challenge by each stage has sort of a situation where one character might be more hand stream is kind of like to me that is not technically safe esteem but I kind of thing to say this the the the the the uh the The The The The The The The The The The The Aquarius great track which you said you hadn't played Pennsylvania Three much did you play it ok so Aquarius is what is the flooded ruins which is kind of this multi part journey so you're just fighting through battling against Fishman who jump out and then you fight a boss it's like two Vipers they come up and then the play starts to flood so the second half of the stage after the boss is youre gay being while the blood floods an Aquarius is it's I just yeah it really drives home sort of the tension of being in these ancient Roman looking underwater the The The The The The The The The Witch is one of the area the castle venue three that most calls back to the loop on the third movie cuz of polyester I'd have ever seen any of those posts to compare like the art of Castle Kelley Austria two elements of Castle the new three but it's like it's really obvious if you sit down and do comparisons that can could not be as graphic artist at least we're like really like the castle in the scoop on movie and this one really like you know the conclusion of his council colleague posters like the revelation of this ancient Roman ruin it feels like here's the video game version that we're fighting through its flooding so this is like the prequel the loop on the third eye and of course I can't not mention deja vu which as the title suggests is a throwback to the original castle vain yet it's the vampire killer theme basically when you start out the original castle being in stage one this is that and this is one that I think is is really like you just have to hear it in the DRC six version because the standard is like Oh it's you know it's a little more detailed version of the Casa Castle media team but we
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Retronauts Episode 94: The music of Castlevania III, Shovel Knight, Galaxy Force II, and Contra III | Retronauts Radio