CD: Godzilla: Battle Legends Music Collection


Godzilla: Battle Legends Music Collection

Japanese CD Title

ゴジラ爆闘烈伝 音楽集
[Gojira: Bakutou Retsuden Ongakushuu]

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Based On:

Godzilla: Battle Legends [Rearrangement]



By: Anthony Romero

First, thanks goes to Jessica Stan for sending this in for review!

Released back in 1994, this CD is billed as a music collection for the video game Godzilla: Battle Legends for the Turbo Duo. In actuality, it’s a collection of rearrangements done by the musical group SYS. Four members make up SYS: Yoichi Shimada and Rikiya Yamashita as keyboardists, Eijiro Shimada on guitar and Yasufumi Yamashita as a “mixer”. The group has done a few rearrangement albums for video games, and fans might be familiar with them for their work on the Super Godzilla Music Collection (COCC-11418). For those unfamiliar, expect something that sounds similar to the game music but very synthesized via keyboards, piano work and sometimes guitar work. This might sound odd, but for video game soundtrack enthusiasts you’ll find stuff like this for Street Fighter, F-Zero and much more back from this era. All in all, though, this CD is uneven. The group decided to mix in a lot of movie sound effects, in particular roars, which often lowers the enjoyment of the tracks. That said, warts and all, I still think this is an enjoyable disc even if it took me multiple listens to start to appreciate it.

Now this CD has ten tracks, each of which is based around a theme from the game… or Akira Ifukube’s Godzilla theme. This is gonna be a long review, especially for such a short CD, as I want to touch on each of these to both relate the character they are aligned with, the stage in the game it’s aligned with and finally if it’s close to the game music or a pretty far off interruption.

Starting off, we have the “Godzilla Theme (Opening Theme)”. This is the only one that alludes to where it appears in the game, as it’s the opening theme. This version could best be described as a rock style interpretation. It’s pretty clear it’s based on Ifukube’s work, while the use of Godzilla roar’s feels less intrusive than sound effects on other tracks here.

Next up is the “Ancient Roar”. This theme is based on Anguirus and the Osaka Castle stage. Of all the themes on this disc, it sounds most like video game music. It’s actually one of the lesser tracks, but it does align well with the original game music.

After this we have “The Rule of Battle” which is Rodan’s theme. In the game, his stage is the Base of Mount Fuji during the daytime. While it’s there, it’s harder to align the track with the original theme, as this one starts with a guitar riff before getting synth heavy. It’s an energetic, enjoyable track… that is marred because they go way overboard with the Rodan roars.

Up next is “Total Destruction” that is based on King Ghidorah and Planet X. The theme starts off sounding almost identical to the ingame music, until the guitar hits about 28 seconds in and it deviates. All in all, a bit of a lackluster cue.

For the halfway point there is “Where is Here”. This is based on the bonus stage in the game, and its placement on the CD is likely deliberate as you can first encounter it after beating King Ghidorah in the game. This track sounds very close to the ingame music, although with more instruments but thankfully without any roars. The track includes a nice Spanish guitar segment that starts a little after 1:30. It’s not a great theme, but it is lively.

Next is “Darkness on the Woods”. This is a creepy track, with almost a 1980’s synthesized horror vibe. That’s very suiting since it’s based on Hedorah and his stage, the Base of Mount Fuji during the nighttime. It’s not the most engaging, but one can appreciate that the group did something different. It also has a nice incorporation of Hedorah’s roar, unlike some other tracks. That said, it hardly sounds like the original theme from the game. In fact, I had to listen to them over and over again before I started to spot the similar segments. Part of this is because the original track was much faster and more lively.

Moving on we have “Wheel of Strife”. This is based on the Showa Mechagodzilla and his stage, Okinawa: Manzamo. Starting off with drums and Mechagodzilla’s roar, this somewhat masks the more routine synthesized music to follow. Taking out the drums, it’s very close to the original music.

It’s Heisei time, and with that comes “Surging Waves” based on Biollante’s flower form and… I guess her Lake Ashinoko stage. It’s actually a beautiful sounding theme, and is enhanced for the use of Biollante’s cries at the start. Sadly it’s then later marred when they begin using the roars of her final form, which not only happen too often at that point but go against the more soothing approach. Overall, it’s a nice track but doesn’t sound like the game theme.

Next is the highlight from the disc. It’s “Sorrowful Reflection” for Battra and his Philippines Trench stage. The cue barely sounds like the source material, but who cares. It’s a great track that should be credited to Eijiro Shimada from the group, as it’s basically just letting him cut loose on a Spanish guitar for the whole theme with some light drums in the back. Yeah it’s got Battra’s roar, but somehow it works. Bottom line, this is the track that makes the disc.

Finally we have “To the Sea…”, the last track off the CD. This is a combination of the game over theme and then the ending theme for winning. It’s a middling track. Tonally it’s a bit all over the place and doesn’t have any winning parts that make it click, although at least it doesn’t feature sound effects. It’s lively, but probably the most uninteresting cue here.

Bottom line, my first impression of this CD was pretty weak. The sound effects and their frequency was a bad decision by the musical group. A few of these tracks aren’t very engaging either, which makes it a bit hard to recommend since it’s a short CD. All that said, I must admit I did end up enjoying the disc more than I expected after multiple listens. Yeah it’s cheesy and you have to be in the right mode for it, but SYS brings a variety to the themes that helps and there are just enough winning themes, like “Surging Waves” and “Sorrowful Reflection”, that make it memorable.

Now, with the main review over, I do want to comment on the track titles for this release. A lot of them feel, for a lack of better words, overly poetic. Even track five, “Where is Here”, feels a bit strange, even more so as it’s the only track that’s in English. Anyway, this makes translating the tracks a challenge. For those who haven’t done translating before, it can be tricky as oftentimes there are various ways the same passage can be translated. It also involves bringing in the perceived intent to make sure it aligns. So I’ll often sit there with my Japanese dictionary and Googling possible slang to try and get the best track title. For straight forward titles that works well if you are familiar with the source, but when it’s artistic it’s tricky. A good example is Hedorah’s theme on this CD, track six. The title could be literally translated as “Dark Sea of Trees” or “Darkness of the Dense Woodland”. Both titles sound cool, and do fit his stage which is Mount Fuji at nighttime. However, neither feel like they represent Hedorah, who would be a threat to nature. As a result, it was translated as “Darkness on the Woods”. It’s a less cool interruption and takes liberties, but places the foreboding aspect as not being the woods themselves. Anyway, I’ve blabbed on, long story short is that titles like “Wheel of Strife” and “Surging Waves” might sound artsy and that’s because they are. One final note here, I’m not sure of their intent, but I do like Battra’s track title: “Sorrowful Reflection”. Assuming they were using it to compare Battra to Mothra, it’s a nice poetic expression.

Rating: Star Rating


  1. Godzilla's Theme (Opening Theme)
  2. Ancient Roar
  3. The Rule of Battle
  4. Total Destruction
  5. Where is Here
  6. Darkness on the Woods
  7. Wheel of Strife
  8. Surging Waves
  9. Sorrowful Reflection
  10. To the Sea…