Welcome back for another Lesser-known Video Game Soundtrack! Today, we’ll take look at the soundtrack to a game never before released in the US and composed by a legendary composer who likes the saxophone… maybe too much.
It’s rare that I get to do a Lesser-known Video Game Soundtrack about a game I really really like… so this is going to be fun! I think. It may not be. I’ve probably beaten this game on my Super Famicom about 5 times, from start to finish. It’s one of my favorites and I’ve ALWAYS loved the music. Nothing better than totally rockin’ out while planning how to conquer a map!
Langrisser was a turn based strategy game released in Japan for the Sega MegaDrive in 1991. Later that year, the game was ported to the US for Sega Genesis as Warsong, which you may have played. Der Langrisser is NOT Warsong. Rather, it is Super Famicom port of Langrisser II, which was released in 1994 for Sega MegaDrive. Therefore, it would technically be known as Warsong II to us. Yikes!
Why did the developer/publisher decide to rename the game for the SFC release? My thoughts (strictly hearsay, mind you): the original Langrisser was never released on SFC, making Der Langrisser the first official Langrisser series release on SFC. In order to not directly confuse or insult(?) the fans, they renamed it to appear as if there were no other games in the series. My reasoning behind this is largely based off Square’s practices of naming Final Fantasy series games (Final Fantasy VI JP is Final Fantasy III US… because it’s the 3rd installment of the series in the US.) To compound all of this confusion, the game was re-released for PC-FX as Der Langrisser FX and then again as Langrisser: Dramatic Edition for Sega Saturn. Hey, Career Soft, maybe you should work on branding things clearer! Or not since you’ve gone out of business and “merged” with Atlus.
As hinted, the soundtrack for this game was obviously written by Noriyuki Iwadare. … wait? That sax teaser didn’t give it away, you say? Well, here’s an example:
Yeesh. Okay, but for the record- he doesn’t use sax all that much. Radiata Stories is pretty sax heavy and probably one of my least favorite soundtracks of all time. Thankfully, Iwadare is mostly known for his scores to the Grandia series and the Lunar series. He also scored many other notable titles such as what I’m about to present here and the legendary Devil’s Crush pinball game.
I’ve always thought Iwadare’s work was consistently good if not great. You’ll never hear his name in the same conversation as guys like Uematsu and Kondo for whatever reason, but I feel like he’s at least in that very next echelon of composers (perhaps comparable to Motoi Sakuraba/Masashi Hamauzu’s level of recognition). I feel like there’s a much stronger jazz and classical influence to his work than his contemporaries who often compose straight up rock tunes. There’s also a lot of “anime chord” influence in his work, which we’ll see shortly. TL;DR: He’s a bit underrated kinda.
Iwadare was also assisted by Isao Mizuguchi, who wrote only a couple themes for the game including the theme for Bargas, the theme for Imelda, and the shop theme. Most of the music was by Iwadare, according to vgmdb.net.
Before I show the OST, I know someone is going to ask why I’m highlighting the Super Famicom version and not the MegaDrive version of the music. While I like the MegaDrive music a lot, it has been more readily available online. I’ve been trying to write an article on Der Langrisser for almost a year and up until recently, I was unable to find a fully labeled soundtrack. The confusion with the soundtrack to this game is largely based on errors made by Iwadare himself. He released an album of arrangements of the music from the game called “Langrisser II Original Game Music”. Naturally, when you see that, you assume it IS the original game music. It is not. I’ve been fooled by this about five times (no joke!). FINALLY, it would appear someone attempted to record the music from Der Langrisser AND FINALLY, I can complete this article.
Anyhow, let’s take a listen. Here’s a playlist:
You should be able to hit the “next track” arrow to skip around. It works better if you watch it on YouTube, of course, so feel free to do that.
My favorite track is “Soldier”. It’s just a perfectly crafted JRock battle theme with a rockin’ bassline. Vintage Iwadare.
Anyhow, let me know what you think! Feel free to leave comments as always!