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Akumajo Dracula Apocalypse Game Soundtrack :: Review by Jon Turner

Akumajo Dracula Apocalypse Original Game Soundtrack Album Title: Akumajo Dracula Apocalypse Original Game Soundtrack
Record Label: King Records
Catalog No.: KICA-7942
Release Date: March 26, 1999
Purchase: Buy at VGM World


This soundtrack has received extremely negative reaction from some gamers who completely disliked the game. The insults include "disappointing to bear the name Castlevania", "a disgrace to the series", and a whole bunch of other unfavorable comments. From hearing all this, I was somewhat skeptical upon my purchase of this soundtrack. However, after listening to it, I must tell you that I am truly quite surprised with Akumajo Dracula Apocalypse Original Game Soundtrack; it is quite good.


This soundtrack charts a new direction for the game series. In every Castlevania game, Konami has relied on rocking music with a ghoulish flair for the scores. But never before has Castlevania music been known for ambient, atmospheric music or movie-score elements, until this one came along. This works extremely well for most of the tracks, such as "Wall Tower" and "Tranquil Insanity". While they're calm, they still have a whiff of evil, never betraying the feel of a Castlevania game.

There are some moments when the music gets extremely dissonant and uncomfortable to listen to, such as "Villager" and "Myserious Casket". But then comfort is hardly the purpose of those tracks. They accompany some of the more horrifying moments of the game (such as a villager becoming a vampire, skeletons rising from the ground, etc.). They're not meant for the listening experience, but they complement their scenes in the game perfectly.

Konami soundtracks have always been known for reusing songs from the previous games, and this soundtrack is no exception. The opening track is an impressive violin solo of "Bloodlines" from Dracula X: Rondo of Blood (some gamers consider this the highlight of this otherwise ambient score). In addition, two boss battle themes, "Hellish Hallucinations" and "Illusionary Dance", also return. Last but not least, there are shades of "Bloody Tears" in one track ("Mysterious Casket"). The rest is all brand new and different, but it still manages to keep just the right feeling required for the mood of the game — spooky, horrifying, and nightmarish. (In fact, I'd suggest not playing it at night!)

As dark as the soundtrack is most of the time, there are some surprisingly beautiful tracks. "The Green Gravestone" and "Reunited", in particular, are two of the prettiest theme Konami has ever done. Both are sad yet happy and have impressive ending bridges. Castlevania soundtracks have never been known for such tracks. This is definitely something new for a series that has always relied on rock and roll for music.

The album release is more than a treat. It contains most of the songs from the game (except for the dissonant interludes), all of which are true and unadulterated. The only exception is in the "Staff Roll", where an extra bridge leading to the final note (not included in the game, for some reason) can be heard.

Another treat here is the three bonus tracks. One of the bonus tracks, Motoaki Furukawa's "Invisible Sorrow", is the only piece that is rocking, but unfortunately it isn't terribly memorable. "Melodies of Castlevania", on the other hand, is terrific. It appears to be a synthetic orchestral rendition for the moody main theme of the game. It's really beautiful. But wait, there's more! The last track, "A Night in Peace and Quiet", is a duet between a piano and a violin and is one of the most ravishing pieces ever to have been written for a Castlevania game (not to mention that there's sheet music of that song in the album).


With all these great assets, it seems somewhat curious that some Castlevania fans rejected Apocalypse. All the preceding Castlevania scores could be recognizable since they follow the same rock 'n roll formula with the exception of Symphony of the Night. Some could mistake Apocalypse for being a dramatic movie score, and that's probably one of the best compliments I could give to any Konami score. Hopefully one day, this soundtrack will get a better chance. In the meantime, I applaud Konami for having the courage to create this spooky, experimental score.

Overall Score: 8/10