19 October 2011

Episode 51: Girls, Girls, Girls

Female composers are the focus of Episode 51.  In a few cases, men were involved with the arrangement and sound design, but as far as the actual compositions go, every single piece of music played on this episode was composed by a woman.  And, a good share of the major companies are represented: Nintendo, Konami, Capcom, Taito, and Hudson Soft.  Full track listing below.

Game - Composer - Song - Company - Console - Year (North American release unless otherwise indicated)

SimCity - Soyo Oka - Capital - Nintendo - SNES - 1993

Street Fighter II Turbo - Yoko Shimomura - Chun Li - Capcom - SNES - 1993

Strider - Harumi Fujita - Australia, Japan, and Los Angeles - Capcom - NES - 1989

Genghis Khan II: Clan of the Gray Wolf - Michiru Ooshima - Opening Theme - Koei - Genesis - 1993

Legendary Wings - Tamayo Kawamoto, Manami Matsumae (arr.), Yoshihiro Sakaguchi (arr.) - Area 4 - Capcom - NES - 1988

Double Dribble: The Playoff Edition - Miki Higashino (M. Yanagisawa), Masanori Adachi - Quarter Ending Theme - Konami - Genesis - 1994

Faxanadu - Jun Chikuma - World Tree - Hudson Soft - NES - 1989

The Great Circus Mystery Starring Mickey & Minnie - Makoto Tomozawa - The Frozen Plains - Capcom - Genesis - 1994

Street Fighter II Turbo - Yoko Shimomura - Balrog - Capcom - SNES - 1993

Castlevania: Bloodlines - Michiru Yamane - Iron-Blue Intention (Stage 4) - Konami - Genesis - 1994

Fire Emblem: Ankoku Ryƫ to Hikari no Tsurugi - Yuka Tsujiyoko (Yuka Bamba) - Battle Map 1: Player Attack - Nintendo - Famicom - 1990

Ghouls 'n Ghosts - Tamayo Kawamoto - Unused (Name Entry, 2nd or Below) - Capcom - Genesis - 1989

Little Nemo: The Dream Master - Junko Tamiya - Nightmare Land (Dream 8) - Capcom - NES - 1990

Thunder Fox - Kazuko Umino - Ending - Taito - Genesis - 1991

Life Force - Miki Higashino, Hidenori Maezawa (arr.), Shinya Sakamoto (arr.), Satoe Terashima (arr.), Atsushi Fujio (arr.) - Thunderbolt (Stage 5) - Konami - NES - 1988


  1. Sorry Brent, I have to disagree with you there on the best sounding version of Street Fighter II Turbo on the consoles. The SNES version has that terrible echo/reverb that all Capcom game soundtracks on the SNES seem to have, which drives me nuts when I hear it! The Genesis and PC-Engine versions are much closer to the arcade soundtrack, and have a much more pleasing sound to the ear. Also, you may want to check out the Youtube video comparing the soundtrack of all the console version (running on real hardware - not emulated). You might be suprised by the results.

  2. I just started listening to this podcast after needing more Brent Weinbach in my life after seeing him live at Comedy Bang! Bang! and this is everything I've ever wanted in my life, if not more. Also the fact you've played Pocky & Rocky tracks means you can never do wrong.

  3. Regarding your surprise at a Japanese composer playing on Chinese stereotypes, I immediately thought of Piston Honda's intro music in Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! and the Japan stage in Super Dodge Ball. There are heaps of international stereotypes in those games, actually (Soda Popinski's drinking, Glass Joe being French, Von Kaiser's mustache), but since you were talking about Asia, those two came to mind.

  4. I'll agree that the PC-Engine version sounds more similar to the arcade, but the Genesis Championship version was kind of poorly programmed, sound-wise. The game itself is inferior to SNES's Hyper Fighting in a number of other subtle ways, and was made earlier than Hyper Fighting...

  5. From the desk of Brent Weinbach:

    "Regarding Street Fighter II, true, the Genesis version of the music is more similar to the arcade version, but I think the SNES version is better than the arcade version."

  6. Brent, in my opionion, I find the a lot of the instrument samples used in SNES version just don't fit the music well (example, the trumpets used in Guile's BGM make the piece sound off). It's probably the main reason why Yoko Shimomura left Capcom in fact (kidding). But, you like what you like.

    Raggy, really? I own almost every version Street Fighter II on console (I also own a SF II Turbo Hyper Fighting arcade machine) and find the Genesis and SNES versions play about the same, since the Genesis version is obviously based off of the SNES version. This was one time I wished Capcom would of let Sega program the game internally. Look how Final Fight CD, Ghouls' n Ghost, Strider, Chiki Chiki Boys, and Mercs turned out - almost arcade perfect!

  7. Z_Met - I listened to the comparison on YouTube. Genesis wins hands down! One only need listen to Ryu's theme. It sounds so much better on Genesis! I find the SNES version hard to take seriously.

  8. My sentiments exact Mr. Switch. By the way, did I sensed a little trepidation before you played that SNES Chun Li BGM?

  9. If you sensed trepidation, it was only because Brent had mentioned how the SNES version is so much better in his opinion. Perhaps I took a minute amount of offense (Brent's comment was good natured, though).

  10. The Guile trumpet MAKES that track man!
    that's my favorite track and I've sampled the SNES guile music for a record I put out on a UK record label a few years back. diff'rent strokes

  11. >>Raggy, really? I own almost every version Street Fighter II on console and find the Genesis and SNES versions play about the same, since the Genesis version is obviously based off of the SNES version.

    Right, the Genesis version was based off the then year-old "Street Fighter II" for SNES. After the Genesis version there was yet another update "Hyper Fighting" for SNES only, which I believe is generally considered the best of the classic SF2 console games (before they went Super).

    Weirdly enough the 3DO version of Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo is supposedly "the shit".

    Also re: sound programming for Genesis, go back and compare even the SFX between the two versions, the Genesis' voices are all distorted and fucked up sounding. The music is enjoyable but very harsh and sharp, so I guess it simply comes down to taste!

  12. Raggy, I admit that the voices on the Genesis version do suffer from a case of laryngitis, but they do sound more clear (sound wise) than the muffled and weirdly pitched voices of the SNES version. I'll take scratchy over muffled/weirdly pitched any day.

  13. man, things are getting heated on the LMH! I prefer SNES, but probably because I didn't grow up w/any other version, and I have a love/hate relationship with the Genesis FM synth.

  14. Brent Weinbach says to just listen to Episode 15 of the Legacy Music Hour when they compare Guile's ending on the Genesis to Guile's ending on the SNES. The one on Genesis sounds like it's playing off of a broken SNES. It sounds like a Super Nintendo got smashed with a hammer and it's barely struggling to stay alive -that's what the Genesis version sounds like. Also, Brent Weinbach says to just listen to Blanka's stage on Genesis. It's all slow and sucky sounding. The SNES version is much fuller and better sounding. Brent Weinbach loves the FM synth, but for this particular game, it just wasn't applied very well on the Genesis. And as for the arcade version, sometimes the arcade version of a game's music is better than the home console, but other times, the music becomes more refined when it hits the home consoles. They tighten up the music and make it better on the home consoles, because it's kind of like the arcade version was the first draft and now, on the home console, they're able to make it better. Anyway, Street Fighter II is a good example of this. Except it just didn't get better on the Genesis. The Super Nintendo however really took it up a notch or two. Also, the trumpet sound on Guile's level for SNES is tight.

  15. Another example of home console music being better than the arcade is Krang's music from TMNT The Arcade Game.

    Quartet is better for the Arcade than on Sega Master System though.

  16. Look, all it really comes down to is, somebody get Brent Weinbach Earthbound for SNES. He'll even trade you a $120 gift certificate to Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles.

  17. I have the mother 3 soundtrack and the american translated rom. I hope to god you've all played that by now because it's one of the best games period and sound tracks period(period)

  18. >>It sounds like a Super Nintendo got smashed with a hammer and it's barely struggling to stay alive -that's what the Genesis version sounds like.<<

    This is my last comment on the subject and I'm through. The Legacy Music Hour, Blanka's BGM sounds fine on the Genesis, and it doesn't sound anywhere as near death as you described above. I implore you to listen to the music on actual Genesis hardware (preferably a Genesis model 1 with the "High Definition Graphics" printed on the system, since that is the best sounding Genesis model) before making a statement like. Emulated FM sound is always off. Ever play a Genesis or Neo Geo game on the Wii Virtual Console? Hell, even a Genesis emulator on the Mac or PC doesn't get it quite right.

    The Legacy Music Hour, don't you hear the echo/reverb in the SNES version? Doesn't it bother you? It's the one thing that never ever gets commented on whenever SNES music is involved. Just once, I just would like to hear a SNES fan say that they hear it and acknowledge it being present in some SNES soundtracks (looks at Mega Man X 1-3 carts). In my 38 years on Earth, I have yet to hear a SNES fan acknowledge they hear it. It's like religious folks not believing in science. Arg... You, win! I give up...

  19. reverb and delay are our friends! not our enemies : )

  20. the ability to add reverb is seen as a reason why a sound system is superior, not inferior. when japanese game companies release their commercial OST CDs, (which are significantly more popular in japan than here) they run them through compression and add reverb in the studio, including Genesis games.. (I normally listen to the studio releases as opposed to emulating SPCs or whatever)

  21. @raggy, reverb and delay ARE our friends. @Z_MET, I see your point, it just comes down to a matter of taste. I love the rev/dly on the SNES stuff, since the SNES music was sample based, not synthesized, it added a cool polish having those effects (F-Zero for instance has a lot of delays). I'm a composer (commercials/games, bad horror movies) and love the wishy-washy sound of tape delays and vintage reverbs, a lot of my influence comes from the 8 and 16bit era. I much prefer the SNES soundboard, as i've always had an aversion to FM synthesis (like the Yamaha DX7), it's just personal taste! Yay! Love.

  22. Hi, it's me again, the spokesperson for Brent Weinbach. Brent just listened to the comparison videos on Youtube and it reconfirmed his original feeling that the SNES version is the best (according to his opinion and sensibilities). The only thing the SNES version lacks is the punch that the arcade version has, which is because of the sampled sound making the SNES version softer sounding than the arcade. But overall, the SNES version is richer and higher quality. The Genesis version sounds like a weaker version of the arcade, however, Dhalsim's stage actually sounds better on Genesis than the arcade (but not as good as the SNES, of course).

    With the arcade and Genesis versions, the music generally sounds tinny and bleak. And yet the FM synth is capable of sounding really rich and layered (see Gunstar Heroes on Genesis and/or Quartet for arcade). You just don't really hear that as much with SFII. True, the SNES version has a little bit of a shallow sound -as all SNES soundtracks sound. It really juts depends on what qualities you prefer over the other. If you like a harder, more raw sound or if you like punchier, heavier beats, then the arcade version is for you. If you like the more composed, tightened, refined, fuller sound, then SNES is the best. Another way to look at it is, if you like beats more than music, arcade, but if vice versa, SNES. Then again, sometimes the beats in the SNES version are better than the arcade because the rhythms are more refined (Sagat's stage comes to mind).

    And finally Brent would like to say this: "To be honest, I don't even really hear the echo/reverb thing you guys are talking about. Then again, I'm a hardcore Jehovah's Witness and I don't believe in science, math, or podcasts about video game music."

  23. It all depends on whether you appreciate the SNES remix with the richer soundacape (and it is quite a bit richer).

    Personally, I do not (for the most part...I do like Sagat's stage.) I find the SNES soundtrack to be muffly, and many of the samples to sound corny (such as the rubber-band-like bass)

    Instead, I prefer the crisp, clear, punchiness of the Genesis version, not only for that reason, but especially for its impressive proximity to arcade equation.

    But this is a declaration of subjective preference, as opposed to a declaration of objective victory. I can't fathom a rubric by which we could holistically declare an objective victor...

    ...which means no one can say Brent is wrong for preferring brass and electric guitar....and rubber-band-bass...unlike we more enlightened folk. ;-) :-P

    -St. John

    P.s. should've called this episode "Games by Dames." :-)

    1. Oh man, I left this out: Brent: you not hearing the reverb...I'd point you again to that rubber-band-bass...that's a glaring example of the reverb.

      SNES had reverb, but it was terrible. There probably were examples where the presence of reverb was beneficial, but I cannot think of a single one.

      Although, I can give you an example of an SNES soundtrack which was ruined by reverb....Fatal Fury Special. Reverb is everywhere on that one.

      And at least SF2 only sounds rubbery, FFS sounds metalic and awful.

  24. BTW, 3 of the bosses changed names:
    JPN --> USA
    Balgrog --> Vega
    Vega --> M. Bison
    M. Bison --> Balrog

  25. I have a Game Boy game with a western female composer: The Flash (1991) with music by Amy Bamberger (and one adaptation of Danny Elfman's theme for the TV show). It's pretty decent stuff.

  26. Street fighter 2: SNES
    Boogerman: Genesis
    Seperation Anxiety: SNES
    Pebble BEEF:Genesis

    And on and on and on.

    Let's appreciate the variation.

  27. There are a lot of soundtracks I prefer the genesis to the snes, e.g Bubsy, Earthworm Jim 1, Mortal Kombat 2, Sparkster. But Street Fighter, that is just so hands down SNES as the winner, sorry.