Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Inexplicable Audio of Battle Arena Toshinden Remix

It’s common knowledge among Sega Saturn aficionados, video game collectors and masochists that Battle Arena Toshinden Remix pales in comparison to the original PS1 offering, so I’m not going to waste time telling you that for your own sanity, you should set the game to one round; that Gaia will obliterate unwary players with fire from his tentacles unless you ring him out; or even that the game follows established cannon, with story mode referring to Kayin’s child, Eiji’s White Tiger sword and a bunch of other crap that only fanboys and video game historians care about. Instead, I’m going to talk about the one thing that keeps the aging Battle Arena Toshinden series relevant in the ever-changing gaming landscape: The audio.

Anyone who jumped onto the PlayStation bandwagon in the early day likely has fond memories of tearing into Toshinden’s cast of freaky fighters with his or her speakers a’blazing. Thankfully, the music in Toshinden Remix is the same old soundtrack from the original American cut of BAT, which is to say it’s face-meltingly awesome at best and merely catchy at worst. There’s also a single new tune for the fighter introduced (and promptly forgotten) in this game, and it fits nicely into the rest of the soundtrack. Basically, if you find BAT Remix laying around someplace, you’re probably better off putting it in your CD player than your Saturn.

Those who ignore my warning and venture into the world of Toshinden Remix are in for a world of aural addling. At first all seems well: The in-game grunts and yells are the same as the American version of PS1 Toshinden. The character’s voices are consistent with their nationalities for the most part, so not everyone is jumping around screaming in Japanese like most other fighting games of the era.

Things start going awry in story mode, but it has little to do with the gameplay. Before and after every fight, the player is treated to a horrifying dialogue exchange between the two fighters up at bat (ha, pun). The voiceovers sound kind of like something a group of drunken fratboys would come up with if they turned the sound down on some crappy anime and started doing their own dialogue. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I realize that this actually might be the technique employed to “translate” BAT Remix. Worse – or better, depending on your disposition – is that the clip played when the player chooses Kayin sounds like it was ripped from a ‘70s porno flick, which might explain what Kayin says after losing to Ellis in story mode: “How could I be so soft?” Despite it all, I love Kayin’s accent, but that’s probably because I find Uncle Scrooge of Ducktails fame irresistible.

Aside from the rockin’ tunes and hilariously bad voiceovers, the only reason anyone would play Battle Arena Toshinden Remix is for a history lesson or to compare this game to the PS1 original. Either that or you’re some sort of raging Toshinden fan, but I’m pretty sure both of you already have this game. In any event, as Uncle Scrooge would say, “Bless me bagpipes!” which makes no sense in this context, but it is slightly racist, just like BAT Remix’s voiceovers. Hooray!

Thanks Uncle Scrooge!

HEY KIDS! Listen to Eiji's Theme from Battle Arena Toshinden Remix

Listen to the theme of Cupido, the Battle Arena Toshinden Remix exclusive character

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