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Akumajo Dracula Music Collection (Japan) :: Review by Chris

Akumajo Dracula Music Collection (Japan) Album Title: Akumajo Dracula Music Collection (Japan)
Record Label: Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo
Catalog No.: VX010-J1
Release Date: March 6, 1997
Purchase: Buy at eBay


By 1997, the Castlevania series had developed quite a reputation for its soundtracks. Konami decided to celebrate this by creating a compilation album to coincide with the release of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. A 16 track album was included with the game's first press in Japan, pre-order package in UK, and limited edition in North America, each with somewhat modified packaging.


The first 15 tracks of this album featured original sound medleys of different games in the series. For several games in the series, these medleys are quite encompassing. For example, the score for Castlevania is extensively represented in both its NES and MSX forms, with renditions of favourites such as "Vampire Killer". Likewise the music for the Game Boy's Castlevania: The Adventure and Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge encompasses the main highlights. However, many won't appreciate their somewhat sloppy medley-based presentation here.

However, the release doesn't offer a particularly encompassing selection of fan favourites. For example, the likes of Castlevania: Bloodlines' "Iron Blue Intention", Castlevania: Rondo of Blood's "Bloodlines", Castlevania III's "Stream", and even Castlevania's own "Wicked Child" are omitted here. What's more, not all the medleys are representative of the full scores. For example, the selections from Super Castlevania IV are oriented towards pop anthems such as "Theme of Simon" rather than the more mature ambient compositions.

The most impressive aspect of the compilation is that it features several rare soundtracks that weren't released elsewhere. For example, the release includes selections from the NES and GB versions of Kid Dracula, all with an upbeat childish aura. The release is also the only album in existence to feature music from the SNES' Castlevania: Dracula X, given it was snubbed from the series' box set. Unfortunately, this medley only lasts for three minutes and is principally dedicated to an average rendition of "Bloodlines". The release also includes another rarity, the music from the Arcade's Haunted Castle, including the rock anthem "Cross Your Heart".

The compilation ends with a bonus arrangement of "Beginning" taken from Akumajo Dracula Best 1. This is an upbeat arrangement by the Kukeiha Club's Motoaki Furukawa in his characteristic jazz fusion sound. While it sounds dated now, this style was important for defining the music of Konami during the 1990s and fits the original quite well. However, it suits the harder remixes featured in Perfect Selection Dracula Battle better. Unfortunately, the arrangement isn't an exclusive and has been featured in lots of releases over the years.


Overall, this compilation is quite an interesting reflection of the series' musical history. Yet despite the admirable efforts of the producers, it fails to be particularly encompassing or representative. It's inevitable that, if 14 scores are squeezed into a single disc, major omissions will be made and this is the case here. While this is a decent bonus, series' followers are advised to pursue other releases instead.

Overall Score: 5/10