Monday, May 4, 2015

VGM-FACE OFF PRIMER ADDENDUM: Part 4 of 10: 1943 Kai Kaisen TRACK OFF!

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:


PC Engine:

In the case of the 1943 Kai Kaisen TRACK OFF: 

Which version was the original version? The Arcade - by approximately four years!

Familiarity/Novelty disclosure: The PCE track is the familiar version. I've never actually played either version. But I discovered the PCE one maybe three-six months before I was even aware it was an Arcade port.

System hardware preference disclosure: Mmmmm, I really wanna call this one a tie. I like Wavetable and FM about equally. But if you held a gun to my head, these days I’d probably have to say I actually like Wavetable just a little bit more. The Arcade version uses the YM2151 (OPM), the premier FM chip, though, and has more channels (so you probably could say the Arcade sound hardware is "more advanced", but somehow the PCE manages to sound fuller, and sound like IT has more channels, even though it doesn't. I'm gonna punt and say I just can't decide. 

My verdict: PC Engine wins!

Why? Several reasons: The PCE sounds MUCH fuller than the Arcade version. Though it only has six channels to the YM2151 OPM's eight, the PCE, as I said earlier, easily gives the [albeit false] impression that IT has the more channels, not the other way around. The PCE features really nice ADPCM sampled percussion while the Arcade version uses really thin FM percussion. The bass is fuller, richer, and more compelling on the PCE. I also like the pearly and whistly voices used in the PCE version much better than the [by comparison] "blend-into-the-mix-and-get-lost" Arcade equivalents. Furthermore, the PCE version in particular REALLY invokes very late 70's / very early 80's "elevator fusion" music, such as Larry Carlton's 1982 Sleepwalk album. That is lost somewhat in the more edgy, serrated, thinner Arcade version.

Was this a close contest? Frankly? No. The PCE mops the floor with the Arcade here, in my opinion. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I still like the Arcade version well enough. But I LOVE the PCE version. It leaves the Arcade original in the dust.

So, what about you? Agree? Disagree? Think I'm totally nuts? There's a comments section. Light it up!

p.s......May the 4th be with you! (I'm sorry...I had to.)

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