For the Introduction/explanation to this mini-series, here's Part 1. The original VGM FACE OFF Primer post this is all based off of can be found here. For your convenience, here are the tracks again. Please listen to them BEFORE reading my write-up:
In the case of the Ghouls and Ghosts VERSION OFF:
Which version was the original? Ummm….the Arcade!
Familiarity/Novelty Disclosure: While I knew ABOUT Tim Follin’s redone Amiga soundtrack for this game, and even was familiar with the Stage 3 and 4 themes from said version, I don’t think I’d ever really listened to the Stage 1 track til I posted the FACE OFF PRIMER blog post. So it’s brand new to me. The Arcade version, while I haven’t spent a ton of time with this particular version, it’s virtually identical to the Genesis version, and not that far off from the Supergrafx version, or the Stage 1 theme from the NES Ghosts and Goblins, or the SNES Super Ghosts and Goblins, both of which I’m also well familiar with. So the Arcade version is still the familiar one here.
Sound hardware preference disclosure: While there are still great differences between the Amiga and SNES sound hardware, they still remain the next closest things to each other. Also, the YM2151 OPM FM chip in the Arcade version is very similar, but almost universally regarded as superior to the YM2612 OPN2 FM chip in the Genesis. So, in a round-about way, this is almost kinda like an SNES / Genesis contest. But since I like this OPM a little better than Genesis, and since I like SNES a little better than Amiga…and since I like Genesis a little better than SNES, this makes the Arcade sound hardware my clear preference.
My verdict: Amiga version.
Why? Because EVERYTHING! First, the Arcade version, in my opinion is a very weak usage of the OPM. Second, the Amiga version is an incredibly STRONG usage of the Amiga sound chip. Third, the Arcade composition is more cartoony than scary, and if it fits the vibe of being in a graveyard in a storm at night with zombies rising from the ground, and giant birds in the trees trying to kill you at all, it’s just barely. Meanwhile, the Amiga version is dark, and spooky, and ambient, and fits the vibe so much better! Also, while there are hints of the Follin hand on this track, this is perhaps the LEAST Follin sounding piece of Follin music I’ve ever heard (the earlier parts almost remind me more of Crateria from Super Metroid). It’s amazing through and through.
Was this a close contest? The Arcade vs PCE 1943 Kai TRACK OFF was not close at all….but it was way closer than this one. This one’s an absolute LANDSLIDE in the Amiga’s favor!
So, what about you? Agree? Disagree? Think I'm totally nuts? There's a comments section. Light it up!