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Enchanted Arms, Cursed Ears

October 18th, 2006 · No Comments · Gaming, Music, Xbox

As a complimentary service to the game design community at large, I’d like to offer some advice. If you are going to have background music play during certain events in your game, make sure sure to have some variety in the music, especially if the player is going to have to listen to the same piece of very short music over and over again.

I don’t care if you’re just a mediocre Japanese RPG like Enchanted Arms. I think the Geneva Convention actually requires there to be at least three or more music loops that can be played during any endless run of random battle encounters. Having just one 30 second long loop is both lazy and cruel.

For those wanting to simulate a vast part of Enchanted Arms, play the following music loop for about 20 hours straight.

Click to Play

At least it is possible to turn the music off entirely. I’ve heard the English voice-work in Enchanted Arms, combined with the awkward translations of the typically bizarre Japanese RPG story, was enough to make gamers more patient than I stab themselves in the ear with an icepick. Because of this, I prudently chose to play the game with the original Japanese voice-work and use English subtitles. This makes the story much more amusing, and since I can’t understand the spoken dialog, I can’t realize how bad it probably is. But reading the very silly story with very hammy Japanese voices is comedy gold in my book.

But one place where there are no subtitles is the aforementioned extremely common random encounter combat. So I’ve taken some liberties and made a guess as to what the characters might be saying when giant glowing flames of death emerge from their gesticulations. There’s one attack in particular that Karin makes, and she says this.

Click to Play

Now, it’s clear to my ears that’s she’s invoking the power of the Macarena, which I’m sure has the power to crush enemies and make people tremble in fear. This made me wonder, if you are going to play the same insipid lame song behind every battle, why not make it a catchy, maddening insipid song?

Compare the before and after clip. It would definitely be an improvement.

Click to Play

Which brings up one real bit of advice for people who like silly, turn-based Japanese RPGs (like me, sometimes) and are thinking about playing Enchanted Arms:

  1. Make a nice playlist of up to 100 songs (the Xbox 360 limit, oddly) on your iPod.
  2. Hook your iPod up to your Xbox 360
  3. When you start Enchanted Arms, turn the music all the way off
  4. Turn on your own custom soundtrack
  5. Enjoy

I only wish I had done it sooner.

Oh, and Japanese dialog with English subtitles, for your own sanity. Unless you are Japanese, in which case, may I suggest Oblivion.

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