Hidden music gems

By wyrdwad

Paladin (727)

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21-01-2018, 20:34

Didn't see a topic like this in a cursory search, so I figured I'd create one!

We all know how amazing MSX systems can sound, and it's easy to point to virtually any Konami or Compile title as an example of this. But what are some games that you don't really hear people talk about very often (if at all), but which have absolutely stellar music that you just can't get enough of?

Be sure to link YouTube videos of said music if they exist, so we can all hear exactly what you're talking about!

On my end, I've recently played many hours each of two homebrew RPGs from the mid-'90s that both have excellent OPLL soundtracks: M-Kai's "Izumic Ballade" and UMAX's "Pumpkin Adventure 3" (the latter also having Moonsound music to offer, but sadly, I don't own a Moonsound cartridge just yet; plus, from what I've heard, I think I may actually prefer the OPLL versions, as I've always loved the sound of that Yamaha chip!).

Izumic Ballade's soundtrack is shockingly polished for a game that's... not exactly polished in most other regards. Wink But it is an extremely fun game, even if it does have long load times and freeze on me every now and again, and its soundtrack is hard not to love. I'm especially fond of the music that plays in the first dungeon, Sage Senoi's Tower:


It's short, but that's fine, since it restarts after every battle. And I mean... you gotta dig that percussion line! That's some of the best percussion I've ever heard in OPLL, and makes for a really unique dungeon theme. Definitely unlike any other I've heard on the MSX.

The battle theme is also absolutely fantastic. May be my favorite RPG battle theme on the entire system! I love how "Danny Elfman" it sounds -- very whimsical and energetic:


As for Pumpkin Adventure 3, there are two extremely standout tracks right off the bat, but pretty much the entire soundtrack is spectacular in OPLL. Possibly my favorite OPLL soundtrack to date. I like the Moonsound versions of these tracks too, but... like, just listen to this!


There's so much DEPTH to it! It's such a complex and catchy song. And I like that in the OPLL version, the saxophone sections are replaced with something that sounds a bit more like electric guitar -- and I'm definitely a "rock over jazz" kind of person. ;)

My other favorite early-game track from PA3 is this one, because it's just so chill!


And again, what was saxophone in the Moonsound version kind of comes off as... jazz piano? in the OPLL version, which I find a little more pleasant. I guess I'm just not a big sax kinda guy!

What are some underrated or unknown MSX soundtracks you've encountered?


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By wolf_

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21-01-2018, 21:01

Well, I always liked Momonoki House' Peach Up Griel game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ALUoeI0qZI
Although, sound-technically it has 'Compile' all over it (which it essentially is, of course), it's funny because - next to titles like Randar 3 and Aleste 2 - you'd get the impression that these games are like their B-games. Simple 'n silly games with some Hentai. And still, this game really has some great tunes, that are on my shortlist to arrange at some moment. Even though the desert theme, and (at least in this video) the stage edited right behind it, are rather short. With the right arrangement and the right instrumentation you can still make something out of it.

And then there's Kogado's Jikuu no Hanayome: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ct_pD4JwJ-4
And I've tackled that one already (search MRC), so there's your explanation. Funny detail is that the original FM music still uses three channels. ;)

And of course: Galaxy Hero Legend II (Bothtec): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHecTbSvkBg
Did that one too (search MRC). I've no clue what the game is about. But you know, just like Lt. Columbo is always bothered by loose ends and small details, I've this strange thing in which I can hear the larger potential within insignificant tunes when orchestrated properly.

And I'd like to nominate Lenam (Hertz). Not everything is all that good, but the town-music (BGM No. 1) is very lyrical, very good. https://youtu.be/YRaR35lJR4M?t=355

By JohnHassink

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21-01-2018, 22:46

Soundtracks (and games) that in my opinion tend to get a bit overlooked (at least I never see/hear people discuss them) are:

Disliked it back in the day, appreciate it now. Sure, it's messy and chaotic, but it's very ambient and has its moments

Also interesting because this is early work of the legendary Nobuo Uematsu from before Final Fantasy

Arcus II - Silent Symphony
It's a huge soundtrack, but with especially the first 40 minutes of this video, you can't go wrong

Very impressive command of the OPLL+PSG for that time. Also catchy, straight-forward, no nonsense compositions

Game never gets mentioned, let alone its great soundtrack

Fighter's Ragnarök (sound quality of video is very poor)
Top notch use of OPLL+PSG and fantastic, extremely catchy, sometimes kind of melodramatic compositions

Never uses more than 3 channels in-game (apart from the rhythm ones). Uses mainly SW voices, which is interesting

Ninja-Kun 2 - Asura's Chapter
Very good PSG renditions of the arcade's originals

Youma Kourin
Unique and beautiful PSG soundtrack. If you like how Ganbare Goemon marries 'Eastern' sounding music with 'Western' conventions, you should listen to this at least once

HAL Laboratory stuff:

The Roving Planet Styrrus
Inspecteur Z
Quite good compositions, especially considering it's only 2 channels in-game

Everything by Bit²
Their work was and is really something else. Like their games, their music seems silly or bizarre at first glance, but further inspection shows that it's really well made

Famicle Parodic
Famicle Parodic 2
Nyancle Racing
Quinpl (coincidentally just uploaded this)
Cutthroat Mansion (Kubikiri Yakata Yori) - this one is quite less cute sounding

I could mention some more but I'm leaving it at this for now, don't wanna flood the entire topic.
Also, I'm aware that a lot of those YouTube links are mine. I'm sorry, I just tend to upload a lot of soundtracks. ;)

By syn

Paragon (1896)

syn's picture

21-01-2018, 22:56

I really loved Feedback's soundtrack as a kid, had it on my msx music tape that I brought to school in my walkman Big smile

By JohnHassink

Ambassador (5381)

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21-01-2018, 23:44

Ha, I used to do that too. Smile
Even with only the PSG channels of Contra, Parodius, etc. (didn't own an SCC yet)
Learned how to beatbox that way. Wink

By Meits

Scribe (5258)

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22-01-2018, 00:04

About the Feedback OST. Is it a glitch due to bad hack work or was it intended that every time I played it, the OPLL "audio" in the warp zones was ehm... crap, while with PSG there's a happy tune...

By JohnHassink

Ambassador (5381)

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22-01-2018, 00:24

I think it was a bad hack. I used to have that one too. It should normally have the same tune on OPLL.

By TheKid

Paladin (735)

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22-01-2018, 11:26

I always liked the soundtrack of time trax Smile

Time Trax

My MSX profile