3 out of 5
Label: Koei Tecmo Holdings Co., Ltd.
Produced by: Various
Kablooey, this is a lotta music. Yoinked from the ebays because of Grant Kirkhope – I haven’t played the game with which this soundtrack CD was bundled – and K’hope’s bandcamp only lists 6 tracks as compared to the 59 tracks on the disc, so I can only guess at who did what, where, when, etcetera and etcetera.
If you’re a fan of Grant’s quirked, moody but jaunty pop, Ninja Gaiden Z’s ninja blitz style would seem to be a good platform for blending the swagger of Perfect Dark with Banjo-Kazooie snark. You have the straight-ahead rock of the opener; laid-back cool of several “Somewhere” tracks (which aren’t on the bandcamp, so maybe… not Grant); some cheeky layering on the devastating Ninja Fight (called “My Fist Your Face”) on bc; and so on, with a million and one cues filling out the track list.
After about 30 minutes of this stuff, a lot of it starts to blend together, mind you, at least in part because of certain themes being constantly re-used, but also because those short 30 second effect tracks make it hard to sustain our attentions when several are stung together – which is pretty much how the majority of them are packaged.
Is the amount of music worth tracking down in a physical form? Well, that depends, I guess, but if we’re talking full album versus what’s on bandcamp, I do think so, for a couple of reasons: despite the cues maybe not being the most engaging album listens, they’re still pieces of music, albeit 30 second ones, and I think it’s fascinating to consider how much of this must get created for however many modern era games, when we may or may not take much notice while playing. As a Kirkhope fan, sort of feeling put off by the standardness of some of the tracks – then later realizing there were other composers here – was satisfying. And as a Kirkhope fan and collector? Hm – tough call. I mean, the collector side o’ me: sure. This is great to own. But even if I discovered that some of these bleeps not on bc were his, I’m not sure they’d add enough flair to make this into my consistent rotation.
It’s a head-bobbing soundtrack, for sure, with select killer tunes. It’s also A LOT of music, though, making the hit-to-average rate weighted on the average side.