Tomba 2 was the first game in japanese that I played and finished that had some light rpg elements. I was a eleven years old kid and it required some reading that would be hard already even in english cause it is not my birth language, the fact that the important things I need to get were written in colors helped me to make a pattern memorization of the japanese characters and get through it. One of the other games in japanese that I would try to play afterwards was Final Fantasy 7 and I even got to the second cd on that first try, I would latter get an english copy and finished with a somewhat better grasp of the actual plot (wasn’t a fluent english reader at the time so would still not understand a lot of what was being said). For those wondering why I had this japanese games, the prices for gaming related stuff has always been absurdly high in my country, so especially on the CD/DVD era and before the digital storefronts most people who had consoles played pirated games, I don’t remember ever knew or seeing someone playing an original copy of a playstation 1 or 2 game my entire life.
A decade later I decided to play Tomba 2 again but this time in english to finally understand the plot and noticed that the music I was hearing was nothing like the old tunes I remembered. Ashif Hakik re-record the music for the western release, I couldn’t find much information on the original composer listed on wikipedia, Shiina Ozawa. People online appear to hold the western soundtrack in high regard and I even saw some comments saying the original was bad in comparison.
I don’t know, maybe it’s my nostalgia speaking but, for example, when I first entered the clown town this piece put me on the right mood of wandering into a place where time had been frozen, the inhabitants no longer capable of speaking with you because of some fairy tale curse that I had to break, also heightened by the fact that I was already playing a game that I did not understand the language since the beginning:
The western one, on the other hand, has a goofy upbeat tone that feels wrong in comparison:
Also when you solve the curse the town music changes, the japanese one has a happy tone that feels like a expected change from the more somber tune from the cursed version, the western uncursed on the other hand is so similar to the cursed that it gives a fell that it’s like nothing has changed at all in this place:
Not to say that I think the western one is always bad, there’s some tunes that I enjoy like from the ranch area
Again the japanese has a different flair
The cursed water temple in both versions give some similar vibes, but go to complete opposite directions for the uncursed versions:
Water Temple Cursed
Water Temple Uncursed
Comparing the western version it feels like they wanted to give a more Disney animation or Donkey Kong type of vibe but maybe because of my particular experience the game was a more mysterious, kinda melancholic place I was walking on that I think the japanese soundtrack was better suited to.
Kujara Summit western:
Kujara Summit original:
Also I was seeing some playthroughts while writing and completely erased from my mind that’s this game western version was voice acted, must have played the european that has less voice lines than the american one.