I am the Nightrider

In January, I purchased a few vinyl records for my collection: they were worth it.

The focus of this hidden gem isn’t a particular musical piece, but rather an entire album. One of the purchases I made was the double album release of Castlevania 3 from Mondo. I played Konami games on the NES when I was a kid and the music from the Konami lineup was always a thrill to listen. Even though I never owned Dracula’s Curse back in the day, I have seen and played it at a friend’s house. The music was by far the most complex and intricate I have ever heard at the time.

Now I have the opportunity to listen to the musical masterpiece without playing Dracula’s Curse! But there are two LP’s to listen to: Disc 1 is the NES version of Castlevania 3’s ost while Disc 2 is the Famicom version.

Disc 1 is basically what every US gamer in their 30’s has heard on their TV sets. The music was superb, and it brings back some nostalgia of weekends trying to beat Dracula and end up crying foul over the game’s notorious difficulty. To this day I have not beaten Dracula’s Curse. Take a listen to “Epitaph,”  this is from the US NES version.

Disc 2 is what US gamers were missing for almost thirty years. The Famicom version of Castlevania 3, known to Japan as Akumajou Densetsu, has the “VRC6” co-processor chip. With the VRC6 chip, the music stood out the best (especially the bass). Synthesized violins, intricate riffs, and melodies that may beat even most horror movie soundtracks if Konami decided to make the album with real instruments. Sadly the only time they did such thing was in an official concert in Stockholm in February 19, 2010. Take a listen to “Epitaph,” this is from the JP Famicom version and a small sample of the concert with “Waltz of the Pearls.”

Overall, Castlevania 3: Dracula’s Curse has the best music in the 8-bit era of video game music. Then again, Konami was famous for having classic soundtracks to classic games back in the 8-bit era. You can find the double album LP set at Mondo’s site here if you wish to hear this musical masterpiece on your turntable right here. Otherwise, you can search it online in CD format via Amazon, eBay or Japanese sites. For me, the price is well worth it.