I’d been planning this edition of “Featured Game Soundtrack” for a while. My list of games to cover on this column is plenty long, so I tend to just pick from it as I feel inspired. Other times, I’ll run down the list, listen to a few songs, and start to look up information about different games.
That’s when I found my inspiration.
Don’t get me wrong. Soul Blazer has a fine soundtrack. It’s a solid example of early SNES music. The instruments are vaguely recognizable as something that might exist in real life, but while there’s way more going on than the NES was capable of, the composition sometimes still feels “videogamey” in terms of style.
But, APPARENTLY the soundtrack was written by none other than Yukihide Takekawa, the singer from Godiego.
You know! Godiego! Galaxy Express 999? The guy who sang the…oh, nevermind. Apparently he also did a bunch of other stuff, including the opening and ending for Mospeada, AKA the third saga in Robotech. But that’s another article for another site.
The point is, it’s curious that such an unassuming title would have a big name writing the music for it. Was Soul Blazer a bigger deal in Japan? Imagine if the soundtrack for Bubsy was done by the lead singer of Boston or something—how would such a thing even happen? Did someone come and ask him to do it, or did he offer? Was he a friend of the producer, or did he just walk into the office and say “I’m going to make the soundtrack for whatever you’re making right now”?
However it happened, while I’ve always enjoyed the game, the story is as generic as you’d expect when you hear the phrase “early SNES RPG”. Even for that, it’s a relatively short title. The thing to bring me back was always the music, so it’s neat to find out that somebody I’m familiar with did the soundtrack.
What’s also interesting to me is that, while there’s a “videogame” sound to the composition, it has more to do with the history of videogame music in general than a lack of creativity on the part of the composer. There are heavy connections to Japanese pop music from the late ’70s and early ’80s, so the idea that the game’s music was written by a name from the era doesn’t exactly shock me. Going back and listening to the Soul Blazer soundtrack again and knowing who made it, I can’t help but hear the obvious similarities to his songs from the previous decade.
It’s really exciting to me to go back and find out about something like that. Here’s a game that I’ve enjoyed for over twenty years, but now I have a new reason to listen. In fact, I’ll leave off with this—the ending theme from Soul Blazer, orchestrated and complete with vocals by the man himself. I personally prefer the original…but there’s something amazing about hearing how he had it in his mind.