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DoDonPachi & E.S.P. RaDe :: Review by Don

DoDonPachi & E.S.P. RaDe Album Title: DoDonPachi & E.S.P. RaDe
Record Label: Scitron Digital Contents
Catalog No.: SGCD-0002
Release Date: November 6, 1998
Purchase: Buy at VGM World


Packing Cave shooter soundtracks together seems to be the norm. In this rendition, DoDonPachi, composed by Eddie You and Andrew Persons Lin, and E.S.P. RaDe, composed by Masahiro Kusunoki, are packaged together. How is this compilation of soundtracks?


Rock is the focus on the DoDonPachi soundtrack. For the most part, every piece on this soundtrack is really nice. "1 & 4 Scene BGM" is an excellent first and fourth stage theme. Intense and exhilarating, this is definitely a piece to rock out too. The electric guitar just sets the entire tone of the piece and the synth accompaniment makes an excellent addition. "2 & 5 Scene BGM" is a much slower piece than the last piece. It's got a nice guitar melody and a catchy bass line. However, at the same time, the guitar solo just helps meld together the melody and is a nice point for looping. It's a very flowing piece.

Continuing with DoDonPachi, "3 & 6 Scene BGM" offers a nice blend of electronica and rock. The electric guitar work here is mellower and doesn't offer anything flashy, but it definitely helps to define the track. The boss theme, "Boss," is awesome. The ominous opening and interludes, the wailing guitar line, and the intense bass line percussion make this one of the best shmup boss themes, at least in my opinion. They definitely did a great job with that one!

E.S.P. RaDe is a very different soundtrack. The focus is more along the lines of synth and electronica and also offers some nice pieces. "Desperate School" is probably my second favorite on the soundtrack. It has a very nice beat, a fantastic melody that is very gripping and motivating, and at the same time, provides an excellent backdrop to all the insane bullet patterns. "Nightmare" has some very nice guitar riffs, but the most spectacular part of this piece, aside from the fact it doesn’t sound like a standard shmup stage, is how dark the atmosphere. It's quite chilling! "Act in Judge" is my favorite stage theme. Its overtly bubbly atmosphere and bouncy melody just seem to push my buttons in the right way. It’s quite an experience and definitely has its moments.

The boss theme, "Raging Decide", is an unusual piece. The development and layering of the melody is definitely the best part of this piece. It has its urgency, but for the most part, it's the same motif over and over again. It's not a bad track, but at the same time, it can get boring quickly, especially if you aren't in the middle of taking down a challenging boss! On a similar note, "Wangan Rapid Line 1st" offers some interesting electronica beats that hint at a very sinister mark. Unfortunately, they don't develop and it's just the same sound over and over again. The "Wangan Rapid Line 2nd" piece improves a bit, but at the same time, it's rather repetitive as well — the development is just better.


Overall, this soundtrack compilation is very nice. The rock oriented DoDonPachi contrasts nicely with the electronica focus of E.S.P. RaDe. It's definitely worth picking up as both sets of composers did a fantastic job here. A few disappointments aside, this soundtrack compilation definitely has a lot of replay value in my book.

Overall Score: 8/10