Illusion City – PA105

Illusion City is a cyberpunk JRPG from Microcabin, originally released for the MSX Turbo R in 1991, only in Japan. It was later ported to a number of other systems including the PC98, X68000 and Mega CD over the next few years. The game mechanics are fairly traditional RPG fare of the era, but the graphics, animations and music are top notch and really stand out for the hardware.

The soundtrack was composed by three Microcabin veterans: Tadahiro NittaYukiharu Urita, and Yasufumi Fukuda all of whom went on to compose for a number of other titles. The Mega CD port was handled by AISYSTEM TOKYO with some additional redbook audio tracks composed and arranged by Hirokazu Oota.

Listen to the sounds of Neo Hong Kong in this episode brimming with fantastic tunes.


Illusion City: Genei Toshi (幻影都市 ILLUSION CITY), MSX Turbo R – Microcabin (1991)
Composed by: Tadahiro Nitta (新田忠弘),Yasufumi Fukuda (福田康文), Yukiharu Urita (瓜田幸治)


Episode Track List:

All tracks are from the MSX version unless otherwise stated

  • 00:00:00 Illusion Theme A Tadahiro Nitta
  • 00:09:06 Illusion Theme B – Yukiharu Urita
  • 00:16:53 Indoor Combat Tadahiro Nitta
  • 00:26:21 Noises of the City – Yasufumi Fukuda
  • 00:38:34 Crisis Area (PC98 ver.) – Tadahiro Nitta
  • 00:45:51 Shop – Tadahiro Nitta
  • 01:00:32 Battle – Yasufumi Fukuda
  • 01:06:46 Cavern – Yasufumi Fukuda
  • 01:10:08 Hachibushu Battle – Yukiharu Urita
  • 01:17:09 Home – Yasufumi Fukuda
  • 01:20:10 Requiem (PC98 ver.) – Yukiharu Urita
  • 01:28:14 Illusion Castle – Tadahiro Nitta
  • 01:31:38 Matenno Battle – Yasufumi Fukuda
  • 01:37:42 Illusion Theme A (Mega CD ver.) – composed Tadahiro Nitta, arranged Hirokazu Oota
  • 01:41:04 Hachibushu Battle (Mega CD ver.) – composed Yukiharu Urita, arranged Yasufumi Fukuda
  • 01:45:44 Matenno Battle (Mega CD ver.) – Yasufumi Fukuda
  • 01:52:36 Final Battle – Yasufumi Fukuda
  • 01:59:02 Victory – Yukiharu Urita

Purchase on EGG MUSIC!
MSX Remastered Soundtrack
¥1800 – 幻影都市 MSXリマスタード・サウンドトラックス Link
PC-9801 Soundtrack
¥1800 – 幻影都市 PC-9801サウンドトラックス Link


Big shout out to everyone at MSX.org – the BEST site for MSX information


7 thoughts on “Illusion City – PA105

  1. Baris

    Wonderful episode for this fantastic RPG. Yet I cannot agree to call it “fairly traditional RPG fare”, since the cyberpunk setting is rarely used to this day in Japanese RPGs and the fact that enemies were visible on the map was highly innovative for that time (it came out years before Chrono Trigger).

    Reply
    1. bmosley Post author

      Oh you’re totally right. Gene was likely referring to system machanics being somewhat traditional (leveling up, exp, new skills) but we both agree this was way ahead of its time in nearly all aspects. No doubt in my mind that had this gotten a proper English localization, it would have been enormously popular. Thank you so much for taking a listen to the episode. Glad you enjoyed it!

      Reply
  2. Manuel Bilderbeek

    Thanks for this great episode!

    The MSX-AUDIO seems to have been the original FM expansion for the MSX. From the initial news at the time it was supposed to be in the MSX2 as a standard. But my guess is that it became too expensive (it’s quite complicated with the ADPCM and sampleRAM stuff) and thus never ended up in a machine. Instead, only 3 external expansion cartridges with the MSX-AUDIO chip were released (from Panasonic, Toshiba and Philips). The MSX-MUSIC was apparently much cheaper and the FM-PAC (being also much cheaper) quickly became quite popular. It got built in in 6 out of the 8 different MSX2+ models and even standardized in the MSXturboR.
    Although they’re not that much compatible, there are a few original commercial games that support both MSX-AUDIO and MSX-MUSIC (mostly some later Compile and Namco games) and later in the homebrew scene it was supported massively, especially when the composing program “Moonblaster” got released, which supports what is now called “MB Stereo”: MSX-MUSIC on one channel and MSX-AUDIO on the other. Dozens and dozens of homebrew games were released with this.

    I think that many MSX fans will agree with me that Microcabin absolutely got the very best out of the MSX-MUSIC and PSG combination. Their music tracks in almost all of their MSX games are amazing and famous. Check their other MSX games too, if you haven’t done so yet. Of course Xak/Fray series (especially Xak The Tower of Gazzel), but also games like Great Strategy II Campaign Version and Princess Maker.
    They use the combination of both chips to get amazing drum sounds (like their snare and bass drums), as you already noticed as well. Sounds so much richer than many ‘naive’ MSX-MUSIC sound tracks.

    Reply
    1. Gene Dreyband

      Thanks for the post Manuel, it’s a really informative dive into the history of the MSX audio specifications. I’ve heard it discussed in a few places but this puts it into perspective why there was so much confusion between MSX-MUSIC and MSX-AUDIO.

      Microcabin was indeed a fantastic development studio when it came to audio with their best standing up amongst the best of game music of its era. I’ve listened to a good bit of their music in the past like the Xak series, but I’m going to dive into even more of their works when I can.

      Reply
  3. Ostra Diemgi

    Did not know that the NES/SMS FM and the Adlib were related and that the FM expansion could do more than a pure sine wave. But I don’t get how a limited number of preset instruments with one costumizable makes the expansions more effective.

    Reply
    1. Gene Dreyband

      Hey Ostra, thanks for the comments. It’s maybe less that the heavier limitations makes the expansion more effective as it means you have to be more creative with what you’ve got, and it’s clear that they were making some really heavy use of those limited patches.

      Reply

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