8-bit composer game music music review VGM

Yuzo Koshiro & Meiko Ishikawa – “Original Sound Version of Dragon Slayer IV – Dragon Slayer Family” Review

Dragon Slayer IV is not a game I have played but then with many OST’s, I have not really hand first hand experience of the games. This soundtrack is a real old skool sounding one, having been released back in 1987. The casette is quite rare to find these days but knowing the composer is Yuzo Koshiro along with Meiko Ishikawa should be the seal of approval everyone needs to know this is going to be good.

The “Opening Theme” is nice and pleasent but doesnt really have a hook. “Inn & Residence Theme” however is very catchy and up tempo song that is uplifting. It uses a bass key to make a strong beat and it really makes the song.

“Select Screen” is an echoey piece that uses long, thin snyth sounds to make a beautiful opening to the song before a drum beat starts up and some cute high pitched arrpegios take centre stage. The “Overworld Theme” has a strong theme to it and uses a bass synth for a military drum line which helps it through.

“All Together Now” is a manic song that has a slow enough melody but has fast pulsating basslines around it which go back and forth between each speaker giving a marvellous effect. Interestingly “Shop Theme” is actually faster! Taking away the bassline and replacing it with a speedy drum track. After around 40 seconds the track stops and then a new, slower song starts with a strong tune again and shows that the older tunes can still mix it with todays technology.

“Theme Of Xemn” is a fantastic song. Its rich with tune, tempo and bass. Dragon Slayer 4 has its sound very much in the speakers making from a slightly ear piercing high end pitch and very bassy low end tone all at once. Here it really works in its favour and shows off a classy song. “Battle Of Tarantuness” also benefits from this sound producing but have the most bizarre effect I’ve heard in a while. In stereo – one speaker has the tune and the other the bass. Upon every new line or two, they swap speakers! Its very original and makes for a dramatic song to be upped in action even more. Tremendous stuff!

“Theme Of Pochi” is a complete change. The tune is very catchy, playful and churpy. The drums and synths work very well together here too. After a minute the song changes again to a more dramatic piece that too uses stereo sound to convey itself very well.

“Battle With Erebone” is like a hyper song that goes up and down three chords at high speed before a spooky but jalting ending. Its more a piece of art than a song and takes a few listens before you’ll love it.

“Theme of Lyll” is enjoyable and reminds me of an old cowboy film when the lone ranger rides across the land and you get the music in the background! Another very well done song. “Battle With Archwinger” also works well with a more conventional battle piece with strong melodies.

“Theme Of Meya” is a strange beast. The instrumentation is very forthright but the song itself is actually fairly happy and so is hard to judge for a while and takes repeated listens to understand. A good song nonetheless though.

“Battle With Rock Gaia” is only a 30 second song and suffers from a lack of bass for a battle song and not enough time to get into it. “Dragon Showdown” however gets it perfect and is right into the swing of things before letting out some sound effects which sadly marr the second half of the song. Its good to have sound effects in places, but it really goes into overdrive!

“Ending Theme” is a delightful track full of bursting energy while “Teatime Melody” is the calm track of the album with a nice village town track with good use of echo. Even the short “Death Theme” has nice neat touches to it!

“Theme Of Roas” is a quick little number that like the Ending Theme is full of energy and a catchy tune. To round off the album you have a quick run through of all the sound effects which are run to the background of various pieces of the OST.

Dragon Slayer 4 OST is the kind of music that could be easily regarded as classic old school VGM. It has character, catchy tunes, big meaty synthersizers and all done on a shoestring budget. If you want to go back to the heart of VGM, this is one place where you can start and for the rest of us, you can enjoy some high quality music. Superb!

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