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DoDonPachi Dai-Fukkatsu Arrange Mode Album :: Review by Don

DoDonPachi Dai-Fukkatsu Arrange Mode Album Album Title: DoDonPachi Dai-Fukkatsu Arrange Mode Album
Record Label: Cave
Catalog No.: CVAS-007
Release Date: February 19, 2011
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Despite the name, the DoDonPachi Dai-Fukkatsu Black Label Arrange Mode Album doesn't actually feature any music arranged from the Black Label version of the soundtrack. Rather, given the special Ketsui mode featured in the Xbox 360 release of DoDonPachi Dai-Fukkatsu Black Label, it features the music of Ketsui remixed for the game. At the recommendation of Ryu Umemoto, Jake "Virt" Kaufman, who participated on the Ketsui Arrange Album released in 2009, was asked to arrange the Ketsui soundtrack for in-game use. Given his busy schedule, he had mentioned that he only had two weeks to do the arranging, so does the short schedule affect the quality of the arrangements and how does it compare to the Ketsui Black Label soundtrack remixed by Basiscape, released in 2010?


Given Jake Kaufman's background, I expected quite a bit of rock to be featured on this soundtrack and I was not disappointed. "Doomsday," the select theme, features grungy rock dominated by energetic guitar work. It keeps the original quite intact, but adds quite a few layers of depth, through the beautiful synthesizer and orchestral harmonies. Like most other menu tracks on the album, this track is quite brief — after all, this is a soundtrack for a bonus mode, not a fully-fleshed arranged album — but sets up the tone nicely for the rest of the album. The stage one theme, "Interception - Town in Upheaval," manages to stay rather close to the original. However, the addition of the wailing electric guitars really help bring a bit more intensity to the original. As the theme progresses, it definitely becomes edgier by shifting the melody from strings to the electric guitar and finishing off with an epic guitar solo that really outclasses any version used for in-game use.

When it comes to "Suburb - Armored Green," I really like how Kaufman manages to capture the serenity of the original using some beautiful leads and orchestral harmonies. Another addition that Kaufman decided to do was change up the percussion accompaniment to more of a drum and bass sort of style. My favorite of the stage theme remixes is definitely "Canal Fleet - Twilight Armada," the music for the third stage. While the introduction of the track gives off the impression that it doesn't deviate much from the original, the overall intensity of the theme increases with the addition of guitar. From the added edge when used as an accompaniment to the grungy new additions, the electric guitar really adds a nice presence to the mix. There is a short-lived, but awesome, synthesizer solo that really manages to create an edgy sound as well.

The basis for "Defensive Line - Lurking in the Darkness," the fourth stage theme, if you are familiar with it, is clearly the remix for the Ketsui Arrange Album. However, rather than just use that, Kaufman decided to refine it a bit. The inclusion of synthesizer in the lead and some orchestral harmonies reduces the intensity of his original remix slightly, but at the same time, adds some more textural color to the overall mix. The synthesizer solo is quite a beautiful addition that blends quite nicely into an updated electric guitar solo. Away from such beauty, Kaufman fills "Darknened" with power guitar riffs and orchestral flourishes. It certainly manages to stand out during the mode's boss encounters.

While most of the stage themes focus on lead guitars, the last stage theme, "Evac Industry" deviates from this. Kaufman focuses more on fusing highly compelling dance beat with intricate brass and strings harmonies. While a very good rendition of the theme, Kaufman wasn't able to live up to the previous efforts by Basiscape, particularly the Ketsui Extra Label version released last year. The last boss theme, "Scaffold," also takes a more orchestrated approach but places the focus mainly on grungy guitars and synthesizer effects once more. Before the loop, I like how the intensity increases and the strings have a very sinister sound to them. Finally, "No Remorse," the true last boss theme accentuates the utter chaos of the original. It incorporates the motif heard in "Interception" in conjunction with slick synth solos, the heroic brass harmonies, and the powerful speed metal riffs heard in the accompaniment. This is an extremely complex theme and I'm sure I've missed some elements, but I'm sure Kaufman can forgive me! The album ends with two short but soothing tracks, "Afterglow" with its calming synthesier work and "Last Works" with a fusion of electronic and acoustic elements.


For someone who idolizes Manabu Namiki's shmup music as much as me, I can only imagine the daunting task that Jake Kaufman was given. Remixing music by one of your favorite composers, while having to please all the fans of Namiki's original soundtrack, can only be described as quite difficult. For the most part, I think that Jake Kaufman manages to craft an extremely well-crafted remix album that works wonderfully in game. There are some missteps along the way and the album length is rather short at half an hour. That said, this soundtrack is definitely worthy of a Cave mode and I'm sure that Manabu Namiki would be quite proud to see what Kaufman did to his originals. For die-hard fans of the original soundtrack, some may be disappointed, but at the same time, I think Kaufman was able to create a very successful tribute to one of Japan's most revered shmup composers.

Overall Score: 8/10