Welcome back to another edition of Lesser-known Video Game Soundtracks. Today, we’ll talk about a food themed game that somehow tells the story of Miyamoto Musashi but really doesn’t. There’s also something with two swords and making bread and like, chibi rabbit things? OH and DDR- there’s a DDR minigame… and zombie bowling.
Brave Fencer Musashi was an action/adventure game released in Japan on July 16th, 1998 and in the US on October 31st, 1998 (HALLOWEEN RELEASE) by Square. What’s interesting about the game is that many of the people involved were former Konami employees. The game was directed by Yoichi Yoshimoto, who was involved with Konami’s Rush’n’Attack (1987), Batman Returns (1993), Monster in My Pocket (1992) and many others. The writer was Koichi Ogawa, who worked with Yoshimoto on Batman Returns. The music was scored by Tsuyoshi Sekito, another former Konami employee. An example of Sekito’s output on Gameboy:
I mean, Sekito was composing music from TMNT games and these guys were all working on platformers and shooters… I’m not really sure how these guys got involved with Square (whether Square bought out a studio or they “defected”). There’s not all that much information on them. All I know is they produced a completely underrated game.
So… who here actually played this game? Raise your hand! Did you buy it just for the FF8 demo? Admit it! ADMIT IT! That’s what I did. I’m awful- I actually opened up the box and played the FF8 demo BEFORE Brave Fencer Musashi. Yeah… still! I was pleasantly surprised with the game.
A couple fun facts before we get to the music of the game:
- All the characters in this game are named after food products. I had always thoughts this was only true in the US version but apparently, it’s also true for the Japanese version.
- Musashi is voiced by Mona Marshall, who also voices Sheila Broflovski (Kyle’s mom), Wendy Testaburger, and Linda Stotch (Butters’ mom) on “South Park”. Sandy Fox, voice of Princess Fillet, was the voice of Chiriko from “Fushigi Yugi”. Colonel Capricciola? Steven freakin’ Blum. EVERYONE knows his voice, even if you don’t. I mean, he was Spike in “Cowboy Bebop”. Yeah, that guy. Great and utterly useless voice actor trivia. That’s the difference I bring to you, the fans.
- Legendary producer Hironobu Sakaguchi (Final Fantasy series, and now founder of Mistwalker) was the executive producer of the game. He actually thought the game was going to flop, citing that the original character models were not particular desirable. He wasn’t sure if the team could execute the idea well. You can read a full interview with Ogawa, Ishimoto, and Sakaguchi on the game here.
Okay, now the music. There’s a running joke between me and my friend Frank (malachy_19) about this game. I txt him once a month to remind him that the soundtrack to this game is underrated and he txts me to remind the name of the blonde pilot character from Star Ocean: Till the End of Time since I can never remember her name (“Her name is Mirage”). I just wanted to make sure he remembers that the game had great music. Here’s my attempt to make sure you think so as well!
This was Sekito’s first project with Square. His OST to this game is 78 tracks long. Yikes! But it’s 78 tracks of pure awesome.
Dude, heavy brass? Shakuhachi? C’mon, this is awesome! Great chords and a really really strong proof of concept. But this soundtrack just keeps coming:
These aren’t even boss themes. This is just gameplay. The music to this game isn’t just all brass and pomp though- there’s a couple elegant tracks as well:
You’ll also notice that a lot of the music to this game is a variation on a couple specific melodies (and Andrew High said that leitmotif began with FFXIII– righhttt- I won’t get into it but we’ve heard plenty of lietmotif since before the time of FFXIII, I promise- ending of Final Fantasy VI, anyone?). Either way, the main theme can be defined by this track:
This theme constantly finds its way into the music of the game. My favorite version:
Okay, not lying- this may be one of my top five favorite tracks from any game. Period. That’s a lot of games… but man, I love this. Hard driving bass and with brass. Great stuff.
While a lot of the tracks are very brassy, there’s a couple… well… metal tracks too:
Man, great tracks. And some MIDI theremin. Sweet.
So I mentioned there’s a DDR minigame… or well it’s more like Milton Bradley’s Simon.
Here’s your DDR track… for better or worse:
Okay, well, I hope you liked the tracks I highlighted. Want more? Here’s the complete OST all nice-like in one YouTube video… all 2 hours and 18 minutes of it:
Take it easy folks! Comments always welcome.