David Wise – Battletoads In Battlemaniacs

4 out of 5

Label: iam8bit

Produced by: David Wise

The bump up to 16-bit sound allows David Wise to up the rawk quality of his Battletoads work on the game’s SNES sequel soundtrack, Battletoads In Battlemaniacs.

There’s a similar tactic employed here as before, with recognizable themes suckering you in to Wise’s twist on them, but the expanded sound palette and quality means the tunes become more fully Wise’s own, as opposed to something vaguely familiar.  And the “guitar” sound is rather hilariously gutsy and manly, kicking things off with some misleadingly serene notes before the Title Screen’s music starts headbanging at you.

Also as before – but more on iam8bit’s part – the A side suffers from some looping exhaustion, while the B side is pretty badass from start to finish as it has some more tracks to play with and Wise actually goes relatively dark on some tunes.  However, even with the looping, these are pretty instantly toe-tappable tunes; nothing quite “thematic” if you don’t have memories of the game in mind, but each track carrying with it the album’s unique rah-rah vibe and some particular flourish, and certainly enough variation to get away with letting tracks repeat a bit.

The packaging is pretty goofy, but fitting; the vinyl colors feel more synced to the album artwork than the game, but it also works in a kind of “hardcore” 90s way that the game certainly emulated.