MONSTER WORLD COMPLETE COLLECTION ORIGINAL SOUND TRACK

MONSTER WORLD COMPLETE COLLECTION ORIGINAL SOUND TRACK. Booklet Front. Click to zoom.
MONSTER WORLD COMPLETE COLLECTION ORIGINAL SOUND TRACK
Booklet Front
Composed by Jin Watanabe / Shinichi Sakamoto
Arranged by Shinichi Sakamoto
Published by Wave Master
Catalog number WM-0565~6
Release type Game Soundtrack - Official Release
Format 2 CD - 112 tracks
Release date March 8, 2007
Duration 02:18:06
Genres
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Overview

The Monster World series comprises a subset of games in the Wonder Boy series that were developed by Westone Bit Entertainment and published by Sega in the 8-bit and 16-bit eras. Crafted by Shinichi Sakamoto, the music for the subseries was largely upbeat and melodic, and achieved a cult following. Wavemaster commemorated the release of Sega Ages Vol. 29: Monster World Complete Collection with a long-desired album release for the subseries. Across the two disc release, listeners are presented with the soundtracks for Wonder Boy in Monster Land, Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap, Wonder Boy in Monster World, and Monster World IV, as well as a bonus guitar arrangement. It might not be the much-desired Wonder Boy complete sound box, but it's still a good consolation prize.

Body

The album begins with the soundtrack for the second game in the Wonder Boy series, Wonder Boy in Monster Land. Released on Arcades back in 1987, the soundtrack is unsurprisingly technologically primitive and about as chippy as NES soundtracks being released around the same time. Nevertheless, Shinichi Sakamoto used the sound chips to his advantage to emphasise the cutesy and peppy image of the game. This is immediately evident in the opener "Monsterland", a simple yet elegant piece that places the emphasis on the melody. Other themes like "Town", "Beach", and "Cave" are even more cheery and have a danceable quality to them. A few like "Shop" and "Bar" simply come across too gimmicky though even in their transient contexts. Aside the iconic themes, the soundtrack has surprising other moments. For example, it's fascinating how Sakamoto brings so much tension to the boss theme or grandeur to the castle themes despite the limiting synth. At the end of the soundtrack, listeners are treated to an especially dynamic last boss theme and the mild yet upbeat ending theme. There are also quite a few jingles and two unused compositions. Even in these humble origins, the series' music proves quite charming and this soundtrack is among the better ones of the 8-bit generation.

The rest of the first disc is dedicated to the music of Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap. This is featured in two sound versions, first the fairly expressive Game Gear version from 1992 and then the much choppier Master System version from 1989. While the first sound version is a better stand-alone listen, many will have fond memories of the Master System game, so it was a good idea to include both. As for the music itself, it is once again highly thematic — perhaps even more so than its predecessor given the harmony line is usually faint and monotone. Tracks with enjoyable melodies such as "Marine", "Mind of Hero", or the misplaced "Monsterland Revenge" really drive the soundtrack and are enjoyable to revisit all these years later. However, there are a number of improvements, such as more moody tracks like "Opening" and "Desert Zone" or more driving ones like "VS. Dragon" and "Take It Easy". As a special treat, Shinichi Sakamoto elaborates on the ending theme with a bonus arrangement at the end of disc one. Stripped down, this track is just a straightforward steel-stringed guitar solo, but there are enough nuances in the performance to capture the warm spirit of the series and people's memories of it. It's quite short at 2:07, but an acceptable length compared to Sakamoto's Gradius Tribute solo.

Shinichi Sakamoto was relatively technologically liberated on the Mega Drive's Wonder Boy in Monster World. As a result, he takes the opportunity to produce a number of more elaborate compositions in terms of both development and harmonisation. The synth almost begins to resemble the timbres of organic instruments in tracks such as "Monsterland Returns", "Princess of World", and "Village of YOUSEI". As a consequence, these tracks manage to be more scenic in context and also more expressive too. Rather than feature peppy chiptunes, "Into Cave" makes a clear attempt to be moody and ambient, while "Sand & Sun" recreates the feeling of being in an Arabian desert with its warped synth effects. Other themes such as "Dry Dry & Dry", "Touch & Go", and "Lair Lair Lair" are much more jarring and a fitting complement to a range of tense and action scenes. Still, there is a still a strong melodic focus throughout and some pieces such as "Theme of Purapril", "Remember Me", and "Fun to Swim" are especially reminiscent of those of earlier games. Even "Dragon's Lair" is surprisingly peppy. It's also great to see homages to earlier themes in the series, such as Monster World's boss theme in "Revenge Boss". At least in my opinion, this soundtrack is the best in the collection, since it is fleshed out and expressive while still staying true to concept of the series.

The final soundtrack on the album, dedicated to the Mega Drive's Monster World IV, is something of an outsider. The main reason is that Shinichi Sakamoto did not return to composing duties and instead was replaced by Jin Watanabe. Watanabe's musicality contrasts to Sakamoto's in several regards, most notably in its milder tone and ambient inclinations. Nevertheless, Watanabe does offer a memorable main theme for the series that captures the upbeat and melodic flavour of the series in its various incarnations. Its arrangements range from the predictable, such as the quasi-orchestral overture, to the downright out there, such as "Try the Trial" and "Lamp de Godjarre". However, the focus on the melody is sometimes to the point of overkill and the composer sometimes uses the theme to hide lack of inspiration otherwise. For example, "Stream Sanctuary" and "Volcanic Cave" don't create much imagery due to their focus on this theme. The rest of the soundtrack is a slightly mixed experience. Some tracks are so minimalistic such as "Long Distance" and "Spirits" that they are best reserved for contextual experience. Other themes such as "Kool Dude" and "Malevolent Deity" are certainly striking, but risk being jarring on a stand-alone basis. However, there are some highlights such as the gothic "Fade into Darkside", dreamy "Over the Clouds", or the tranquil finale. It's a decent soundtrack overall, but not quite on par with Sakamoto's works.

Summary

It's great to see the Wonder Boy series at least partly commemorated with a soundtrack release. Monster World Complete Collection Original Soundtrack certainly packs a lot into two discs, bonus arrangement included, and it's good to see the complete soundtracks to four games be faithfully recreated. While the series' music certainly sounds old and simplistic all these years on, many will still find it charming and memorable. Perhaps some years down the line, Wavemaster might release the remaining three soundtracks too. If you're a fan of Wonder Boy's music, this album is the one to go for.



Album
8/10

Music in game
0/10

Game
0/10

Chris Greening

Monsterland (Arcade)
[Wonder Boy in Monster Land]
Composer: Shinichi Sakamoto
Tracks 1.01-1.22
Tracks 1.21 and 1.22 are unused.

Monster World II Dragon's Trap (Game Gear)
[Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap]
Composer: Shinichi Sakamoto
Tracks 1.23-1.39
Track 1.39 is unused.

Monster World II Dragon's Trap (FM Sound Version)
[Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap]
Composer: Shinichi Sakamoto
Tracks 1.40-1.55
Track 1.55 is unused.

Bonus Track
Track 1.56
Arranged and performed by Shinichi Sakamoto.

Monster World III (Mega Drive)
[Wonder Boy in Monster World]
Composer: Shinichi Sakamoto
Tracks 2.01-2.27

Monster World IV (Mega Drive)
Composer: Jin Watanabe
Tracks 2.28-2.56

CD Produce & Management: Yosuke Okunara [westone bit entertainment]
Re-Recording: Shigeharu Isoda [Wave Master]
Main Illustration: Shinnosuke Hino
Illustration: Maki Ohzora [westone bit entertainment]
Comment: Shinichi Sakamoto [westone bit entertainment], Jin Watanabe
Artwork: Ayako Okahara [Wave Master]
Mastering: Megumi Aoki [TRC North]
A & R: Takahiro Ishikawa [Wave Master]
Copyright Administrator: Kazuo Koizumi [Wave Master]
Licensing: Toshiki Izawa [Sega], Junichiro Takahashi [Sega], Sawako Jinnai [Sega]
Sales Promoter: Mitsuaki Sugibayashi [Sega Direct]
Distributor: Sega Direct
Special Thanks: Ryuichi Nishizawa [westone bit entertainment], Naoki Horii [M2], Manabu Namiki, Naofumi Shioya [Sega]
Executive Producer: Fumitaka Shibata [Wave Master]
Album was composed by Jin Watanabe / Shinichi Sakamoto and was released on March 8, 2007. Soundtrack consists of 112 tracks tracks with duration over more than 2 hours. Album was released by Wave Master.

CD 1

1
Credit (Credit)
00:04
2
Monsterland (Main Theme)
01:57
3
Boss (Boss)
01:26
4
Extend (Extend)
00:04
5
Round Clear (Round Clear)
00:04
6
Perfect (Perfect)
00:04
7
Town (Town)
01:21
8
Shop (Shop)
00:38
9
Bar (Bar)
00:32
10
Cave (Cave)
01:09
11
Hospital (Hospital)
00:47
12
Castle (Castle)
01:34
13
Beach (Beach)
01:22
14
Sea (In the Sea)
01:09
15
Desert (Desert)
01:54
16
Dragon's Castle (Dragon's Castle)
01:48
17
Last Boss (Dragon)
01:44
18
UFO (Fufufufu.)
00:06
19
Ending (Ending)
02:16
20
Game Over (Game Over)
00:08
21
Score Registration (High Score)
00:53
22
Test BGM (Sound Test)
01:16
23
Title (Title)
00:12
24
Monsterland Revenge (Last Dungeon)
01:54
25
VS. Dragon (Boss Battle)
01:00
26
Opening (Opening)
00:23
27
Marine (Town)
01:24
28
Shop (Shop)
00:29
29
Room BGM (Room)
01:26
30
Item (Item Obtainment)
00:05
31
Mind of Hero (Beach)
02:35
32
Desert Zone (Desert)
02:39
33
Adventure Zone (Forest)
01:58
34
Monsterland? (Dungeon Drop)
00:12
35
Take It Easy (Sunken Ship)
02:07
36
Staff Roll (Staff Roll)
01:50
37
Ending (Ending)
01:24
38
Game Over (Game Over)
00:10
39
Test BGM (Sound Test)
00:17
40
Monsterland Revenge (Last Dungeon)
01:54
41
VS.Dragon (Boss Battle)
01:01
42
Opening (Opening)
00:24
43
Marine (Town)
01:24
44
Shop (Shop)
00:28
45
Room BGM (Room)
01:26
46
Item (Item Obtainment)
00:04
47
Mind of Hero (Beach)
02:35
48
Desert Zone (Desert)
02:38
49
Adventure Zone (Forest)
01:58
50
Monsterland? (Dungeon Drop)
00:18
51
Take It Easy (Sunken Ship)
02:05
52
Staff Roll (Staff Roll)
01:51
53
Ending (Ending)
01:24
54
Game Over (Game Over)
00:10
55
Test BGM (Sound Test)
00:17
56
Monster World II Ending (Acoustic Mix)
02:07

CD 2

1
Prince (Title (Darkworld Prince Entry))
01:07
2
Monsterland Returns (Beginning of the Story)
02:15
3
No Answer (Fairy Village <Alsedo>)
01:36
4
Inn (Inn)
00:07
5
Princess of World (Queen Eleanora)
01:39
6
Too Long Adventure (Dungeon)
01:15
7
Item (Item Obtainment)
00:04
8
Revenge Boss (Boss 1)
01:10
9
Boss Dead (Boss Victory)
00:07
10
Village of 'YOUSEI' for Justice (Village)
01:49
11
Into Cave (Cave)
01:20
12
Theme of Purapril (Purapril Castle)
01:50
13
South River (Lilypad Forest)
01:24
14
Dry Dry & Dry (Berserker)
02:15
15
Touch & Go (Boss 2)
01:46
16
Game Over (Defeat)
00:05
17
Fun to Swim (Beach)
02:34
18
White & Blue (In the Sea)
01:52
19
Sand & Sun (Desert)
01:36
20
Under Pyramid (Pyramid)
01:41
21
Dragon's Lair (Dragon's Village <Begonia>)
01:20
22
Flash (Dragon Battle)
01:50
23
Village of 'YOUSEI' for Dark (Sky)
01:21
24
Lair Lair Lair? (Sky Castle)
02:10
25
UFO (To Outer Space)
00:36
26
Remember Me (Last Dungeon)
02:15
27
To Be Continued (Ending)
02:06
28
Overture (Title)
01:25
29
Tales from Monster World (Prologue)
00:34
30
Spirits (Voices of Spirits)
00:34
31
Premonition (Chapter Beginning)
00:10
32
Main Theme (Village/Town)
01:37
33
Item (Item Obtainment)
00:04
34
Try the Trial (Mute Tower)
01:17
35
Kool Dude (Boss 1)
01:59
36
Conquers the Dungeon (Victory)
00:05
37
Lamp de Godjarre (Spirit of the Lamp)
02:05
38
Kingdom of Rapadagna (Rapadagna Castle)
02:01
39
Birth of Pepelogoo (Pepelogoo Birth)
00:06
40
Over the Clouds (Adventure Theme 1)
01:24
41
Volcanic Cave (Handera Volcano)
01:36
42
Long Distance (Adventure Theme 2)
01:44
43
Stream Sanctuary (Water Temple)
01:48
44
Heart of Icegrave (Ice Pyramid)
02:05
45
Death of Pepelogoo (Parting)
00:09
46
Fade into Darkside (The World Enveloped by Darkness)
01:19
47
Labyrinth on the Sky (Sky Castle)
01:31
48
Head Banger (Boss 2)
01:01
49
A Cradle Song of Pepelogoo (Pepelogoo's Lullaby)
01:09
50
Arabesque Court in Dream (Last Dungeon)
01:38
51
Carpet (The Manipulator Enters)
01:01
52
Malevolent Deity (Final Battle)
02:55
53
Finale Part 1 (Finale 1)
01:29
54
Finale Part 2 (Finale 2)
00:40
55
Finale Part 3 (Finale 3)
00:56
56
Acension to Heaven (Game Over)
00:09
30.04.12
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