I haven’t done one of these in a while but I found something totally worthy, I promise. Let’s take a look at a soundtrack developed by a semi-famous game music composer for a game with either a Japanese pro-golfer or a robot. Same thing? YOU DECIDE.
I was clicking randomly around YouTube and landed on a gameplay video for Mecarobot Golf . I had never played the game and actually had never even heard of it. There were many sports-related games with somewhat questionable premises during this time period (see: Combat Basketball, Bill Laimbeer’s) and this seemed to just be another one of those games. Definitely seemed unmemorable. I left it at that.
For some stupid reason, the music to this game persisted. I found myself humming the menu theme today for no apparent reason. Bored, I decided to do some research on the game. Who was the composer? Anyone I know?
It would appear that the composer for most of the games made by Advance Communication Company (developer of Mecarobot Golf) was Michiharu Hasuya. Who? Mr. Hasuya is MOST famous for composing for Tecmo throughout his career. He was the composer for Solomon’s Key, which actually has some great tracks:
After doing a little further research on him, I’d say he’s pretty underrated overall. He had a ton of output during the mid-to-late 80s and into the early 90s. Chances are you’ve probably played a game he scored and didn’t even know it. I should probably search a bit deeper for info on him but I’ll save that for a separate post, perhaps.
My research turned up something else though. The game, Mecarobot Golf, was not known as Mecarobot Golf in Japan- it was known as 芹沢信雄のバーディトライ or Nobuo Serizawa’s Birdy Try. Upon further research, it would appear that Advance Communication Company and Toho Co., the publisher, decided that they needed to “Americanize” the game. A vintage ad, if you will (from www.vintagecomputing.com) :
So they literally replaced Japanese golfer Nobuo Serizawa with a robot named “Eagle” and wrote an absurd back story about robots being considered inferior to humans. It is explained that Eagle is not allowed to golf with humans BECAUSE he is a robot and robots are “discriminated against”. The game actually attempts to mix in themes of “robot discrimination” by humans. That’s some pretty heavy stuff for a golf game, if you ask me.
Weird stuff. Anyhow, this is a blog about music so let’s hear what got stuck in my head. There’s no real… OST out there for me to draw from so I’ll post a little gameplay from Birdie Try.
I especially love the menu music for no good reason. I think it sounds very MegaDrive/Genesis-y due to the punchy instrument selection. That being said, there’s very few tracks to this game. There’s a title screen theme, a menu screen theme, and a set of themes that alternate during play: one that plays when you’re just starting a hole and another that plays during the “action” or when you hit the ball.
And because golfing without robots is no fun, here’s what we saw in the US:
Who needs stupid old smelly Lake Side Golf Club when you can golf at HYPER GOLF CLUB!? Throughout my own experience playing the game on emulator while writing this blog article, I found that the music never really got annoying or boring to me. This is quite a feat as the game takes quite some time to master. I got frustrated very quickly at the slow and choppy Mode 7 graphics and was forced to use the ZSNES speed up function… only to find doing so made the music speed up and basically ruined the one thing I liked about the game. Bah!
Hope you enjoyed the soundtrack and I hope that it actually doesn’t become an earworm for you!