Castlevania Chronicles OST Review by The Successor



Disc 1 - Arrange Mode

Download Complete Package

70 MB

Track Length File Size
1. Black Mass - Opening 1:59 1.83 MB
2. Something Loopy 0:53 849 KB
3. The Bathead 0:11 186 KB
4. Vampire Killer 3:34 3.28 MB
5. Creatures in the Depth 1:43 1.58 MB
6. Stage Clear 0:11 187 KB
7. Thrashard in the Cave 4:17 3.92 MB
8. Wicked Child 4:41 4.30 MB
9. Bloody Tears 1:57 1.79 MB
10. Tower of Gears 2:42 2.48 MB
11. Moon Fight 3:09 2.90 MB
12. Tower of Dolls 2:24 2.21 MB
13. Etude for the Killer 2:22 1.18 MB
14. You Goddamned Bathead 4:21 3.99 MB
15. Simon's Theme 3:22 3.10 MB
16. Last Stage Clear 0:17 276 KB
17. Mother Earth 2:52 2.64 MB
18. Game Over 0:14 232 KB
19. Prayer Miss 0:06 109 KB
20. Ending 0:53 850 KB


Disc 1 - FM Synthesizer
Track Length File Size
21. Black Mass - Opening 1:41 1.55 MB
22. Something Loopy 0:32 512 KB
23. The Bathead 0:09 152 MB
24. Vampire Killer 2:01 1.86 MB
25. Creatures in the Depth 1:29 1.36 MB
26. Stage Clear 0:08 139 KB
27. Thrashard in the Cave 3:12 2.94 MB
28. Wicked Child 1:58 1.72 MB
29. Bloody Tears 2:20 2.15 MB
30. Tower of Gears 2:31 2.32 MB
31. Moon Fight 2:20 2.15 MB
32. The Tower of Dolls 2:11 2.00 MB
33. Etude for the Killer 2:20 1.15 MB
34. Simon's Theme 2:47 2.56 MB
35. You Goddamned Bathead 3:03 2.81 MB
36. Last Stage Clear 0:12 197 KB
37. Mother Earth 2:38 2.42 MB
38. Game Over 0:10 176 KB
39. Prayer Miss 0:04 80.3 KB
40. LOAD BGM 1:20 1.23 MB

he Castlevania Chronicles OST is huge in one sense, and not so huge in another. Offering over eighty tracks, this juggernaut is the largest Konami released OST for a Castlevania game. However, it is comprised of four separate sets of arrangements to the same tunes, meaning there are only twenty totally unique themes heard.

Akumajou Dracula on the Sharp X68000 Home Computer allowed players to choose from three different sound modules. Each presented the soundtrack a different way through particular instrumentation and divergences in compositions. All three modules are represented in full on this collection.

Because 1993's Akumajou Dracula X68000 was limited to Japanese audiences, IGA, Castlevania producer, decided to release the game to North Americans, Europeans, and once again to the Japanese in 2001 on the Sony Playstation. This re-release features an Arrange Mode including several updates to the 1993 game. One of the most outstanding additions is another rendition of the soundtrack, making four different interpretations total.

A unique composer named Sota Fujimori was employed to modernize the soundtrack for Arrange Mode. Fujimori, a Konami regular, is a known synthesizer expert specializing in aggressive electronica. He's contributed abundantly to Dance Dance Revolution and beatmania IIDX.

The synth wizard brings an exceptional style to Castlevania that was not heard in the series up to that point, and hasn't really been heard since with the degree Fujimori has applied with Chronicles.

As Chronicles was released on the Sony Playstation, Fujimori is not limited to the X68000's capacity, and goes wild with high quality synths, slamming listeners with an onslaught of reverb heavy voices and pounding beats.

It all begins with "Vampire Killer."
This version is the craziest there has been in a Castlevania game. It's like the "Vampire Killer" listeners are used to, but on crack. It begins foretelling the impending doom of entering the Castle in a somewhat goofy way, and then a buzzing synth sings the lead melody while berserk beeps run wild in the background. From the beginning, Fujimori pulls out all stops with one of his most frenzied tracks and lets listeners know what they're in for. Some will love it, some will hate it, and others will learn to love it.

"Vampire Killer," though gutsy and fun, isn't one of Fujimori's better arrangements on the OST. It's followed by "Thrashard in the Cave," one of the foremost highlights on this eighty track giant.

Fujimori takes what was a rugged rock song on the X68000 and turns it into the smoothest tune on the soundtrack. Pristine synths begin by elevating the main melody, which is backed by serene bubbly tones. A drum beat soon appears to pick up the pace, making for an exhilarating, yet relaxing and lovely experience.

Fujimori's electronica styling continues with "Wicked Child," which is a powerful track. The OST version has an extended intro that is different from what players are used to hearing in the game. It works brilliantly with an anticipatory build up leading to the main melody, which is played with stunted beeping notes, and backed by fluctuating electronic sounds and fresh synths. This is the most unique in-game version of "Wicked Child" and a definite standout.

When thinking of fitting music for the Castlevania series, electronica is usually not a style that comes to mind. Fujimori isn't trying to aesthetically match the visuals and subject, but creates music that is fun to play along to, and highlights emotions more so than coinciding stylistically with the rest of the game. "Vampire Killer" gives the sense of an adrenaline rush to catapult players into the adventure, "Thrashard in the Cave" has relaxing attributes while keeping the tempo up, and "Wicked Child" has a spirit of determination.

Fujimori's electronica tunes aren't usually baroque, they're not spooky, and the original game they play in wasn't initially meant to have this music. They're just electronica renditions of Castlevania songs – things some may feel are fun to listen to from one of those Konami arrange albums, but not suited for a full blown soundtrack to a game. The style is radical for Castlevania, but that doesn't stop the tracks from being nice tunes.

For traditionalists (and everyone else), Fujimori demonstrates his versatility with a flurry of epic orchestral pieces.

Among them is the loud and dire "Bloody Tears". It is the most explosive and dramatic version of this song in the series. Commanding vocal, string and organ synths form a powerful onslaught, and copious reverb adds an impression of largeness.

"Simon's Theme" is another anthem with a huge sound. Echoing vocals, horns, and booming drums honor the character of Simon Belmont. This theme also serves as a climactic piece for the final stage, giving the feeling of overcoming all prior obstacles, but leaving enough uncertainty for the fateful moment of truth lying ahead.

Likewise, "Mother Earth" is a triumphant theme that tells of overcoming all obstacles, looking at all challenges straight in the eye, facing them, and rising above. It's adventurous, brave, and motivating.

If anything can be said about Fujimori it's that he's not afraid to push the envelope. His zany songs are very wacky, and his epic songs are exaggerated. The neat thing is that the music has no shame. It's all very prideful. Fujimori realizes that "no guts, no glory," and isn't held back by anything.

The Arrange rendition of "Moon-Fight" is a good example of this unrepressed attribute. The composition is spotless and the execution of Fujimori's arrangement is incredible. It's an amalgamation of immaculate guitar tones, precise slap bass playing, rolling percussion, and a jazzy piano adding nice nuance. Fujimori takes what was already a great tune and goes to the moon with it, forging one of the best tracks in the huge repertoire of Castlevania music.

Fujimori contributes one of the most unique soundtracks to a Castlevania game with his in your face style and usage of eccentric synths. It's a very welcome addition, but it's good that something like this only happened once. Perhaps it is too uncharacteristic and startling to please all listeners, but whether it fits some people's vision of Castlevania or not, the Chronicles Arrange soundtrack is a collection of some of the most fun, energetic, and dramatic music to come out of the Castlevania series. Fujimori certainly leaves his unmistakable mark on Castlevania, and it is one that will continue to resonate for a long time coming.


Disc 2 - Roland LA

Download Complete Package

71 MB

Track Length File Size
1. Black Mass - Opening 1:59 1.83 MB
2. Something Loopy 0:53 849 KB
3. The Bathead 0:11 186 KB
4. Vampire Killer 3:34 3.28 MB
5. Creatures in the Depth 1:43 1.58 MB
6. Stage Clear 0:11 187 KB
7. Thrashard in the Cave 4:17 3.92 MB
8. Wicked Child 4:41 4.30 MB
9. Bloody Tears 1:57 1.79 MB
10. Tower of Gears 2:42 2.48 MB
11. Moon Fight 3:09 2.90 MB
12. Tower of Dolls 2:24 2.21 MB
13. Etude for the Killer 2:22 1.18 MB
14. Simon's Theme 4:21 3.99 MB
15. You Goddamned Bathead 3:22 3.10 MB
16. Last Stage Clear 0:17 276 KB
17. Mother Earth 2:52 2.64 MB
18. Game Over 0:14 232 KB
19. Prayer Miss 0:06 109 KB
20. LOAD BGM 0:53 850 KB


Disc 2 - Roland GS
Track Length File Size
21. Black Mass - Opening 1:41 1.55 MB
22. Something Loopy 0:32 512 KB
23. The Bathead 0:09 152 MB
24. Vampire Killer 2:01 1.86 MB
25. Creatures in the Depth 1:29 1.36 MB
26. Stage Clear 0:08 139 KB
27. Thrashard in the Cave 3:12 2.94 MB
28. Wicked Child 1:58 1.72 MB
29. Bloody Tears 2:20 2.15 MB
30. Tower of Gears 2:31 2.32 MB
31. Moon Fight 2:20 2.15 MB
32. The Tower of Dolls 2:11 2.00 MB
33. Etude for the Killer 2:20 1.15 MB
34. Simon's Theme 2:47 2.56 MB
35. You Goddamned Bathead 3:03 2.81 MB
36. Last Stage Clear 0:12 197 KB
37. Mother Earth 2:38 2.42 MB
38. Game Over 0:10 176 KB
39. Prayer Miss 0:04 80.3 KB
40. LOAD BGM 1:20 1.23 MB
41. Bloody Tears RMX 3:37 3.32 MB
42. Dracula~Medley~ 4:27 4.08 MB

Akumajou Dracula X68000 is full of remixes of some of the most well known themes from Castlevania. "Vampire Killer", "Bloody Tears", and "Wicked Child" are present, and "Simon's Theme" from Super Castlevania IV makes a fitting appearance. The remixes are usually great, as are the new tracks.

High fliers like "Moon Fight," "Creatures in the Depth," and "Tower of Dolls" first make their mark here.

No matter what version of these songs you listen to, the core compositions are always the real stars. The compositions that are naturally good are usually always satisfying, no matter what module is used, but there are some big differences in sound.

FM (frequency modulation) Synthesizer has a rugged sound with buzzing melodies supported by blocky bass rhythms. This is the most metallic of the three modules in tone. FM synthesis is known for its aptitude at creating clangy and thudding sounds. The Sega Genesis' use of FM synthesis is well known, so the music of this module is very comparable to what is frequently heard from that console.

"Bloody Tears" turns out especially well on the FM Synthesizer. The voices for the lead melodies are pretty soft, and it creates a certain sad and trying feeling to the tune, which contrasts greatly with Arrange Mode's bombastic version, and Roland GS Module's screechy and harsh rendition.

Another module is for the Roland LA (Linear Arithmetic) Synthesizer. Linear Arithmetic Synthesis includes adding sampled waveforms to digitally-generated waveforms. LA synthesis offers the more realistic sounds of a sampler along with the flexibility and control of a synthesizer, so this module offers a more faithful representation of some instruments and a clearer sound. Highlights are "Vampire Killer" and "Wicked Child." The synths for the former have a smooth, warm and inviting tone. The bass is active and springy and the lead melody has the sort of warmness and creaminess that make old school synthesizers so appealing. "Wicked Child" has cool and quirky sass that makes for a fun listen.

The Roland LA module can be best described as smooth. It's a medium in between the FM synth and the Roland GS. It isn't as rugged and grating as the FM synthesizer, yet it doesn't quite have the punch of the GS.

The Roland GS (General Standard) module is filled with cutesy early 90s synthpop anthems, and is the best of the three different modules. The tunes are definitely corny, but in the most pleasant way possible.

This arrangement of "Vampire Killer" is the most impressive in the entire collection. It has plenty of different rocking segments that work perfectly together and tell a story. The synths are powerful and never relent. It's one of the best "Vampire Killer" themes that has been in the series and doesn't quite get its due. It's heroic, catchy, and triumphant, while sounding like a 1990 dance pop song. It slows down and pumps up the power at just the right times.

"Tower of Dolls" comes in briskly with a smooth horn fanfare followed by a swinging organ that plays rhythmic short chords in the background while the horn plays a suspicious melody. A throaty bass holds a solid rhythm and plays accents while an oscillating organ takes listeners on a ride with a flurry of swirling notes. One of the best tracks on the collection, and it's nice that the folks at Konami have finally realized that with its recent remixes in Judgment and Order of Ecclesia.

"Creatures in the Depth" begins with rapid snare drumming that is followed by a stressful horror motif. The tension and pressure bursts into a frantic assault of speedy bass, active drumming, and worrying melodies. It's one of the better boss themes in the Castlevania series. It is catchy while full of anxiety.

The Roland GS grants "Wicked Child" an alluring organ synth that carries the lead, and the drum samples pack more of a punch. "Wicked Child" has a good sense of humor but stays true to the series.

"Bloody Tears" is somewhat grating in an unpleasant way on the Roland GS. The synths are garish and the drumming is way too loud. This is the worst version of "Bloody Tears" on the whole collection.

"Tower of Gears" is a bizarre and repetitive song. It's one of those that serves its purpose well in the game, but is probably not going to be something most will want to listen to on its own. It does have an unusual hypnotic trait, though. There is merit with even the less than stellar tunes because of how earnest and effective everything is.

The delightfulness of these vintage synthesizers is wonderful, and even though Sota Fujimori's Arrange renditions are more explosive, they don't leave the old X68000 tunes in the dust by any means. Much of the time, I choose to use one of the original sound modules while playing Chronicles due to the warmth of these old synths, because there is nothing like emotionally honest synthpop.

This album is full of synthpop, electronica, astronomical orchestral and party music. There is a lot of character present in all of it, and it is one of the most unique soundtracks among the Castlevania titles. It may not be for everyone based on the alternative style, but many a synthesizer fan will be in heaven with the Castlevania Chronicles Original Soundtrack.


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