Captain Tsubasa had some awesome entries on the SNES, but when one thinks of SNES, one of the first games to jump to mind is inevitably Square’s dream project, Chrono Trigger. It’s one of my absolute favourite games in history with its beautiful tale of time travel, interesting cast and energetic battles. Its soundtrack is also quite amazing, the first true masterpiece work by then rising, now well-established game music composer Yasunori Mitsuda. While Chrono Trigger’s very titular music is among the video game themes I like the most, for the Video Game Music of the Week feature, I’ve chosen another one I like a lot, which is still one of the not-so-famous Chrono Trigger songs (even though pretty much the whole soundtrack is famous), Corridors of Time. It plays when you enter the Kingdom of Zeal.
Composer: Yasunori Mitsuda Game: Chrono Trigger Song: Corridors of Time
Captain Tsubasa V was a relatively big departure from the established style of the Tsubasa games, but, after more careful examination, the difference was mostly visual. You could see players in a side view on the pitch now, but the ability to pause play at any moment and select your action remained. Still, some changes to important mechanics, like offsides finally being introduced, made the game quite unique within the series. But what I loved most about it was the important role given to Nitta, one of my favourite Tsubasa characters. It was also fascinating that V featured quite a few real-life footballers’ fictional representations (Batistuta, Effenberg, Papin, etc.). Like its predecessors, Captain Tsubasa V had a nice soundtrack, the final match being quite awesome with both teams’ themes being really good. The one I’ve chosen is Japan’s final match theme, which is based on the old penalty kicks theme, but quite different.
Composers: Hiroshi Miyazaki, Chinatsu Okayasu Game: Captain Tsubasa V: Hasha no Shougou Campione Song: Japan’s Theme – Final Match
Captain Tsubasa IV was quite the pioneer in the series, introducing awesome stuff like branching scenario paths (there were 4 different main scenarios), and different weather during matches. Unfortunately, some simple things kept it from being truly great, such as the fact that aerial shots (volleys and headers) were WAY stronger than ground shots, to the point where hitting a normal volley with a player was more powerful and more likely to turn into a goal than using that player’s special ground shot. But still, the conversion of Tsubasa and company to pros was imagined and presented in a fascinating way. And, in 2-player mode, the game even featured legendary Japanese “real-life” footballer Kazuyoshi Miura, also known as “King Kazu”, or simply “KAZU” in the game. Captain Tsubasa IV also had a really good soundtrack, and I’m sharing one of my favourite songs with you today – Italy’s theme, which plays during one of the four possible final matches of the game.
Composer: Hiroshi Miyazaki (a.k.a. Sugito Miyashiro) Game: Captain Tsubasa IV: Pro no Rival Tachi Song: Italy’s Theme
Captain Tsubasa III was a great successor to the glorious second game. As the first entry of the Tecmo series on the SNES, it kept strictly to the “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it” rule, adding some sweet things like 2-player mode. Some small shortcomings like the relatively low difficulty in comparison to the ruthless Captain Tsubasa II, less exciting story, and graphics and character art that couldn’t quite match the second game, which had achieved pretty much the maximum possible on the NES, kept it from being as revered as Captain Tsubasa II in fans’ hearts, but it was still a really good game. The soundtrack had a few gems, too, even if the composer was different this time. One of my favourites is the first Japan theme, which I’m sharing with you today.
There is one superhero I simply cannot ignore in this mini-series. One that originated in games, and subsequently even got his own cartoon! It’s Earthworm Jim, the amazing creation of Shiny Entertainment, and one of the staples of the 16-bit era, at least for me. With its incredible humour and charm, Earthworm Jim achieved a level of characterisation few games had by then. I wish there were more games like it, but some things are really, sadly “once in a lifetime.” At least there is still some hope for a new Jim game, and even though the first two pieces of brilliance were followed up by the mediocre 3D version, the creators just might give us something great again. Anyway, the Earthworm Jim song I picked today is surely familiar to anyone who’s booted it at least once – it’s New Junk City.
Composers: Mark Miller; Tommy Tallarico (SEGA/Mega CD arrangement) Game: Earthworm Jim: Special Edition (SEGA/Mega CD) Song: New Junk City
Plenty of games shape our life as gamers, and we all have our favourites – some mainstream, some more niche. But there are some games that every self-respecting gamer should know about. You don’t have to like them. You don’t have to even think they’re good. But, as a gamer, you should know about them.