Video Game Music of the Week – 11-17.02.2013

In the good old days when I’d rent NES games (primarily of the bootleg kind), the cartridge Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project was on when I first came across it was one of those many-in-one carts. It had neat games like Binary Land, Arkanoid and Wrecking Crew… But it also had an amazing game that pretty much took over my life at the time, and has been my favourite ever since. Tecmo’s Captain Tsubasa II: Super Striker – the football/soccer RPG whose excellence I already talked about in the Top 10 Hidden NES Gems list. I remember when I first found out the sound test menu by accident, I was so happy I could listen to my favourite music from the game for as long as I wanted. Today, I’m sharing my favourite theme from Captain Tsubasa II, the theme of Hyuga and Wakashimazu’s Toho FC, which you’ll hear during one of the most difficult matches in the game. It’s quite badass, fitting the team and especially its captain nicely.

Composers: Mayuko Okamura, Mikio Saito, Keiji Yamagishi
Game: Captain Tsubasa vol. II: Super Striker
Song: Hyuga’s Theme (Toho FC)

Captain Tsubasa: New Kick Off

I’ve been a Captain Tsubasa fan ever since I first came across the anime on the Italia 1 channel when I was 10… It’s a manga and anime series about young Japanese football/soccer players, with the main character Tsubasa being a rising Japanese football star. I’m a big fan of the sport, and I like anime quite a bit – you can see why the combination captivated me easily. A great part of it is the matches themselves, with so much drama in the close ones, with special shots and acrobatic goalkeepers. But the relationships between the players on and off the pitch are also nicely depicted.

Needless to say, coming across my first Captain Tsubasa game – the second installment of Tecmo’s Captain Tsubasa series on the NES, brought me much delight. Especially considering it was not a mere football simulation game – it was a football RPG, one worthy of the flashiness and the emphasised importance of a team’s best player in the anime. The closest mainstream gaming has come to Tecmo’s Captain Tsubasa series’ unique style is the Blitzball mini-game in Final Fantasy X – and believe me, Blitzball is a really watered-down version of the Captain Tsubasa games. Anyway, Captain Tsubasa II is still my favourite game of all time, one I could play at any time and never get bored, despite having beaten it so many times I’ve lost count and having done all kinds of special runs. Unfortunately, the game I will review here is just not in the same league…

Captain Tsubasa New Kick Off Cover

Game: Captain Tsubasa: New Kick Off
Developer: Konami
Platform: DS
Original release: 2010
Territories: Japan, Europe

Captain Tsubasa: New Kick Off (Gekitou no Kiseki in Japan) is Konami’s first attempt at returning the Tsubasa games to the genre that proved to suit them best – RPG. The license over the franchise has changed hands multiple times – first it was Tecmo’s, then Bandai’s, now Konami’s. Only Tecmo did it right, the other two simply failed to match the quality of the Tecmo Tsubasa games. A big reason for that was that Tecmo’s games were RPGs with very particular gameplay – you hold the ball and move through the field, at any time you can stop and take your time to choose what to do next – shoot, pass, or go on forward. Similarly, in defence, you pick a player to chase the opponent with, if you get close, you choose whether to tackle, try to intercept a pass or block a shot. If you manage to predict the opponent’s action, you have a higher chance of taking the ball away. That just worked great for a franchise like Tsubasa because it’s all about the tactics, the special shots and conserving your energy to do them at the right time. Trying more action-y games just never worked out very well. And the RPG approach is the one Konami took here. When I learned that to be the case, I was overjoyed, I had waited a long time to play a new Tsubasa RPG…

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