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Arkanoid Returns Original Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

Arkanoid Returns Original Soundtrack Album Title: Arkanoid Returns Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Zuntata Records
Catalog No.: ZTTL-9012
Release Date: August 6, 2008
Purchase: Download at iTunes


Arkanoid Returns continued Taito's line of Breakout-style games in 1997. Yasuhisa Watanabe offered a fitting electronic score for the game. However, it wasn't until the revival of the series in recent years that it finally received a soundtrack release through iTunes.


Yasuhisa Watanabe establishes a spacey feel for the game with a brief cinematic cue, "Introduction". It is quite well done, but could be more elaborate and shows some signs of age technically. Other tracks such as "Banquet of Asteroid" and "Dark Crystal" maintain a similar feel later in the game with their thick spacey synthpads. However, it is the gameplay, not the story, that was important for Arkanoid Returns' appeal. The same is true for the music tracks...

The six "Missing" tracks feature during the main gameplay of Arkanoid Returns. They range from hard-hitting industrial pieces such as "Missing #1" and "Missing #4", to more abstract ambient tracks such as "Missing #2" and "Missing #5". In context, these tracks bring quite a lot of variety and novelty to the gameplay, so are essentially effective. They're all quite well-composed and implemented, given their time of release.

Despite the effectiveness of the music in context, few of the tracks are that interesting on a stand-alone basis. They really lack the arch and hooks needed to be worthy of personal listening, though their consistency is appropriate given the style of gameplay. Probably the only exception is "Missing #10" with its conflicting features, which definitely has a subtly imposing effect.


Overall, Arkanoid Returns is another example of how Zuntata's soundtracks can be effective yet unappealing. With a few exceptions, the majority of the compositions here lack the elaborations and uniqueness to be worthy of stand-alone listening. Skip this in favour of Yasuhisa Watanabe's more liberated scores.

Overall Score: 5/10