Retro gaming and game audio tends to get associated with US, Japan, and Europe because of the shear volume of games and media. So, we thought to ourselves, why not look at some other countries take on game music.
Illusion Blaze (일루젼 블레이즈) was released in 1994 for Korea on the PC and was developed by Family Production. Their games were mostly composed by a duo known as D.A.C. that was producing a mix of rock and electronic music into a unique balance of “destructive harmony.” So, join in as we dip into Korean gaming history, Family Production, and chat with Seung-Hwan Ro of D.A.C.
0:17:13 Stage 1
0:26:05 Player Select/Stage 3
0:27:50 Stage Selection
0:39:36 Stage 2
0:43:22 Stage 4
0:50:49 Stage 5
0:52:06 Stage Movement
0:55:09 Stage 6
1:05:41 Unused 1
1:20:00 Unused 2
1:35:46 Stage 7
1:46:47 Hall of Fame
Illusion Blaze 일루젼 블레이즈 (1994, IBM PC/AT)
Composed by D.A.C. (Seung-Hwan Ro, Myung-Jin Ahn)
Thanks to MaliceX for a proper rip at our affiliate site vgmrips.net
Also thanks to Sam Derboo at HardcoreGaming101 for his research titled: A History of Korean Gaming
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Wow, guys! Way out of left field on this one! I did not see it coming. The interview was really interesting as well; I hope Seung Hwan Ro eventually finds his composition partner. Also, the iPhone market is swarming with Korean-made games. I wonder if the market is healthy enough to make it attractive to him.
I think the reason why South Korea may have gone with the NES instead of the Famicom is because English is more readily known throughout the world than Japanese. I’m guessing South Korea is no different, so playing games where the text is in English would have been preferred.
I was surprised to hear that PCs used the FM synthesis. I didn’t realize that Windows-based computers used FM at all.
The stage 2 music doesn’t change time signature at all; it’s all 4/4. I think it sounds like it does because the beat drops in and out, and the snare changes hit on uncommon beats. Coupled with the weird changes in emotional tone, I think that’s why it seems to change time signatures.
That stage 4 track was bonk! I was totally getting a train stage vibe. Like 2 Crude Dudes fighting on top of a train.
I looked up Illusion Blaze game clips on YouTube a little bit. The graphics were really impressive; I liked how the mech suit guys seemed to be comprised of multiple sprites that seemed to move in interesting ways.
Anyway, way to dig deep! I don’t know if I would consider this on tier with the BEST Japanese or western compositions, but it was pretty darn good. I’m definitely interested in hearing more Korean VGM in the future.
Listened to the “Illusion Blaze” podcast, D.A.C.’s soundtrack was surprisingly good! The soundtrack has a really nice use of the YM3812’s rhythm mode. I was definitely thinking about old Konami games while I was listening to the playlist, and yeah, there’s also that demosceney feeling in some tracks. That kind of European and Japanese VGM mashup is quite interesting, since domestic Korean gaming was still at its infancy back then and was still struggling to form its own identity.
Hope you’ll make more podcasts about games (esp. from Japan, want to know more Japanese composers that used OPL chips!) that use the OPL family of Yamaha FM chips (YM2413/YM3812/YMF262), it’s such an underrated family of FM chips (compared to OPN/OPM).
I can’t wait for a “Rusty”/”Totsugeki Mix” or “Princess Maker 2” podcast, I already imagine all those intricate comparisons between the OPL and OPN versions of “Queen in the Dark Knight” or “Blood Soon Castle” or “Battle (PM2)” you’re gonna discuss in those future podcasts! The C-Lab games show that Kajihara & Arakawa make up for an amazing duo (just like Sakimoto & Iwata in Tactics Ogre & FFT).
I’d also like a “Fury of the Furries” podcast, I loved that game (played the MS-DOS version) and its music by Frederic “Elmobo” Motte (dat Fun Mountain theme :) ) and a “Megarace” one (Stephane Picq) in the near future.
And for the OPL3 side, maybe try looking for “Miwaku no Chousho”, composed by Hiroaki Sano (he also composed “Knights of Xentar”/”Dragon Knight 3”, check that one too, lots of quirky and playful tunes, though I like the YM2203/OPN version better than the OPL2 one :) ), and “Cybersphere”, composed by Clay Hellman, I like both of them.
Keep up the good work, guys!