Lesser-known Video Game Soundtracks: Dual Orb II (SFC)

This post will highlight Dual Orb II, an RPG for your SNES you probably never played or knew about.  And I guarantee none of your friends recommended you play it.. but it was only released in Japan.  Why should we highlight its music?  Well, it just so happens a legendary Sunsoft 5 composer wrote the soundtrack.  So there.

Developed and published in 1994 by I’Max, this RPG was known for it’s brutal difficulty, high encounter rate, and cliched plot.  [EDIT- 10/24/12] – Stupid Wikipedia has this game listed as being a US release.  It is NOT a US release – it is a Japan only game for Super Famicom.  I went ahead and corrected it.  No wonder I’ve never heard of it.

I’m not sure what a “Dual Orb” is and I’m even more confused as to why there’s two of them. The above image is actually a wallpaper for the game, in case you need one for your Windows 95+ system.

The composers are actually very interesting.  Well, one of them.

The composer duo is Nobuyuki Hara and Yu Yoshida.   Yu Yoshida is a relative unknown.  All I can find out about him is he did the music for this game.  But Nobuyuki Hara…

Nobuyuki Hara was paired with Naoki Kodaka on many projects for Sunsoft, including this:

(credit:  grad1u5)

Naoki Kodaka would go on to write music Batman: Return of the Joker, a VERY iconic NES Sunsoft 5 chipset OST.  Hara?  Well, he goes on to write music for Dual Orb II.  Let’s take a look at some of his work.  It’s an RPG and it has a battle theme.  I like battle themes.  Let’s see what he can do:  (all credits for Dual Orb II music:  InsaneVisionary)

Beautiful.  A perfect SNES era battle theme.  Multiple synthesized trumpets, orchestra hits, and synth strings.  It’s vaguely reminiscent of Kenji Ito and Uematsu.  How about some more?

Some interesting vibes.  Not a spectacular “cave theme” but good enough.  I think a lot of what I like about this soundtrack is really just instrument choice.  The layers really stack up well. Again, vaguely reminiscent of Uematsu.

A lot of why I’m highlighting this game is because, well, it’s interesting to me to hear RPG music from this era that I haven’t heard before… because I just really assumed I played ALL the SNES RPGs.  This next one starts out pretty intense for a “forest theme” and then backs off.

And here’s some “dungeon theme”.  Again, I love the layers and reverb.  It reminds me vaguely of the Sunsoft 5.

Well, I hope you liked the music to this game.  Leave feedback and check out this playlist for the complete soundtrack.

About Classical Gaming

Steve Lakawicz holds an MM in Music Performance from Temple University as well as a BM in Tuba Performance from Rutgers University . His teachers include Paul Scott, Scott Mendoker, and Jay Krush. His love of video game music has lead him to form a blog, Classical Gaming, to promote discussion both casual and academic about the music of video games. He is the co-founder of the video game/nerd music chamber ensemble, Beta Test Music and regularly composes/performs chiptune music as Ap0c. He currently resides in Philadelphia where he teaches college statistics at Temple University. View all posts by Classical Gaming

2 responses to “Lesser-known Video Game Soundtracks: Dual Orb II (SFC)

  • Frank M.

    I found out that Nobuyuki Hara was primarily a sound programmer. It turns out that Naoki Kodaka was the sole composer on all those Sunsoft NES games. Hara did write music, but only on this game, Pieces (SNES), and the PC engine version of Batman.

    Also turns out Hara passed away from an illness right after this game was completed. : (

    • Classical Gaming

      Wow, thanks for finding that out. Poor guy. It’s so fascinating to find out more info on these composers and programmers. There were so many companies scrambling to produce games and there was no one sitting there keeping track of what went on. One mistake in the credits could lead us in a completely different direction.

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