Team released two Mega Drive games in 1990, but this almost certainly
has to be the first one their sound team worked on. Even compared to Granada, FZ Senki Axis is remarkably primitive, owing to its relatively early release on the console.
first thing I noticed about it is how low the drums are in the mix, and
how wimpy they sound. That is not a mixing mistake, they actually used
the PSG for the entire drum track. That’s pretty audacious. I
have never heard a Mega Drive game attempt to get away with that. The
arrangement is also quite sparse. These are both perhaps due to the
sound team’s greater familiarity
with the monaural, three-channel (+ SSG) YM2203. That, the sloppy
programming, overuse of instruments and ill-advised hard panning of lead
instruments lend this soundtrack a clumsy sort of charm. Mr. Sakuraba
certainly improved quickly as a sound designer after this. Those chunky
tom rolls in Granada almost read like an apology!
to dump on Wolf Team for their questionable game design, but their
sound team were early pioneers of cool FM music for the home market,
especially for Western audiences in the early 1990′s. Wolf Team’s parent
company, Telenet Japan, owned the North American publishing company
Renovation Products, who brought over great music from composers and
sound designers like Toshiharu Yamanishi and Hitoshi Sakimoto, in addition to the majority of Wolf Team’s Mega Drive catalog.