Tail Concerto

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Tail Concerto
Tail Concerto Coverart.png
North American cover art
Developer(s)CyberConnect
Publisher(s)Bandai
Artist(s)Nobuteru Yūki
Composer(s)Chikayo Fukuda
Seizo Nakata
SeriesLittle Tail Bronx
Platform(s)PlayStation
Release
Genre(s)Action-adventure, Platformer
Mode(s)Single-player

Tail Concerto (Japanese: テイルコンチェルト, Hepburn: Teiru Koncheruto) is an action-adventure platform video game developed by CyberConnect and published by Bandai for the PlayStation. It is the first installment in the Little Tail Bronx series, which takes place in a steampunk fantasy world of floating islands populated by anthropomorphic dogs and cats. The game revolves around a canine police officer named Waffle Ryebread and his encounters with the Black Cat Gang, a group of sky pirates who aim to steal magic crystals. Though it received a generally positive response from critics, the title was met with low sales in Japan, falling short of the publisher's expectations.

Tail Concerto was first released in Japan on April 1998 and the following December in France, with an English version released in North America in November 1999 by publisher Atlus. The game features character designs and artwork by manga artist Nobuteru Yūki, and the Japanese version included the opening theme song "For Little Tail" performed by Kokia before her debut in the music business.

Gameplay[edit]

Screenshot of Tail Concerto showing 3D characters and environments.

Tail Concerto is an action-adventure platforming game featuring three-dimensional characters and environments. Players control the character Waffle, who pilots a semi-humanoid mecha called the "Police Robo" with the ability to run, jump, climb on ledges, and hover in mid-air for brief periods.[4] In addition, the mecha is equipped with a pair of mechanized arms that can pick up and throw objects such as crates and bombs, as well as a long-range "bubble blaster" used to damage or immobilize enemies.[4] The game features support for the PlayStation's DualShock controller's analog sticks, which can be used for movement instead of the directional pad, as well as its built-in vibration feedback function.[5]

The game features a variety of levels, each with their own objectives that usually involve capturing enemy kittens by grabbing them with the Police Robo's limbs, as well as boss battles that take place at the end of certain stages.[6] Some areas require the use of different means of travel, such as mine carts and a jet pack, or attacking enemies using heat-seeking missiles. While the game's camera remains static most of the time, the player is given the ability to rotate the view angle during certain action scenes.[7]

The game also contains role-playing game features such as the ability to explore towns and interact with non-player characters.[7] Also hidden in each area are whistles that grant extra lives,[8] and boxes containing pieces of photographs featuring artwork that may be viewed in a gallery once all the sections are found.[7] Players may choose between one of three difficulty settings from the main options screen which directly affect the level of challenge, and progress can be saved to a PlayStation memory card.[9]

Plot and setting[edit]

Tail Concerto is set in the Kingdom of Prairie, a floating archipelago populated by anthropomorphic dogs and cats. Animosity between the two species has led to a history of conflict, with dogs now representing the majority population.[10] Due to its unique geographical configuration, the nation's inhabitants mostly commute by way of airships, and their society is characterized by steam-based technology and mysterious crystals culled from the ruins of an ancient civilization.[10]

The story revolves around a young canine police officer named Waffle, and begins as he investigates a public disturbance caused by the Black Cat Gang on one of Prairie's islands. He and the Black Cat's leader, Alicia, immediately recognize each other as childhood friends before she feigns ignorance and escapes. Waffle soon encounters the cats again after they kidnap the adventurous Princess Terria, and learn that they are seeking five special crystals that hold an unknown, potentially dangerous power. After speaking with his grandfather Russel, Waffle learns that the crystals once served as the power source for a colossal robot called the Iron Giant which nearly destroyed the world centuries ago in a great war. Thinking the cats want to revive the giant themselves, he discovers that the gang is unaware of the crystals' purpose, and were only gathering them on behalf of their financer and weapon supplier Fool, who tricked them with the promise of getting revenge on the dog people for years of prejudice. Fool successfully awakens the giant using the four gathered crystals and Alicia's pendant, a present from Waffle when they were both young, which is revealed to be the fifth. However, the robot turns on him immediately, and Alicia flies her hot air balloon inside the creature to get her pendant back. Waffle goes to rescue her, assisted by both the Black Cats and the princess's royal guard, Cyan, and manages to destroy the Giant's core while he and Alicia make their escape. In the end, Waffle takes Alicia back to his home to recover, and gives her back her pendant to reaffirm their friendship.[11]

Cast[edit]

Development[edit]

Development for Tail Concerto began in 1996 by members of CyberConnect, later known as CyberConnect 2, shortly after the company was established. After the success of such 3D action titles as Super Mario 64 for the Nintendo 64 and Nights into Dreams... for the Sega Saturn, the company made a proposal to publisher Bandai to produce a similar game for the PlayStation, which they "gladly accepted."[13] The game features artwork and character designs by manga artist and illustrator Nobuteru Yūki, as well as nearly 20 minutes[14] of animated cutscenes produced by Astrovision, Inc.[15] Tail Concerto spent nearly two years in development before being released in Japan in April 1998,[13] and would make an appearance at the 1998 Tokyo Game Show where it "drew a crowd for its looks and playability," according to website IGN.[16]

A playable demo featuring Japanese text and audio was later released in North America in the "Imports" section of the PlayStation Underground: Jampack disc in 1998.[17] While Bandai of America had originally not confirmed an English release in the region, the company remarked that the title "had a very good chance" of coming to the West as early as June 1999. However, they expressed concern that the developers responsible for translating and localizing the title may not be able to complete the game on time, citing it as "the only factor that would make Tail Concerto not see a release on these shores."[18] As the deadline passed, publishing rights changed hands between multiple US studios, including Activision,[6] before Atlus U.S.A. announced in July 1999 that they would be releasing the North American version of Tail Concerto as part of their company strategy to "broaden its domestic library through eclectic acquisitions",[19] and that it would be released by the end of the following September.[20] Although delays caused the title to miss this date, Atlus later made a statement on their website that they would begin shipping the game to retailers on November 3, and for players to expect it in stores shortly thereafter.[3]

Audio[edit]

Tail Concerto's background music was composed by Chikayo Fukuda and Seizo Nakata,[15] and features the Japanese opening theme song "For Little Tail" by J-Pop singer Kokia, which was replaced by an original instrumental piece in the English version,[6] but retained in the French version. "For Little Tail" was recorded in 1997 specifically for the game, one year before Kokia's musical debut, and was regarded by her as an "illusion song" since it was never released on any album until 13 years later, when it appeared as the B-side of her 2010 single "Road to Glory ~Long Journey~".[21][22] Although no soundtrack originally accompanied the game's 1998 release, an album called the Tail Concerto Perfect Sound Track was eventually released on January 30, 2015 featuring 47 tracks, including a new version of "For Little Tail" performed by Tomoyo Mitani, who provided the vocals for the theme songs to Solatorobo: Red the Hunter and Little Tail Story.[23]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
GameRankings72.83%[24]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Famitsu30 / 40[25]
Game Informer7.75 / 10[26]
GamePro4.5/5 stars[8]
GameSpot6.9 / 10[6]
IGN7.2 / 10[7]
Next Generation3/5 stars[27]

Tail Concerto received a 30 out of 40 from editors of Japanese Weekly Famitsu magazine, earning the publication's Silver Award,[25] as well as a 77.5 average score from Dengeki PlayStation, based on individual reviews of 75, 85, 75, and 75.[28] The game sold approximately 97,000 copies in the region, falling short of CyberConnect and Bandai's original goal,[13] and would reach a grand total of around 150,000 copies sold worldwide.[29]

The game met with a generally positive response in the West, with a 72.83% average on aggregate review website GameRankings.[24] GameSpot called attention to the title's "pleasant and light" presentation, deeming it "a 3D platformer perfect for gamers of all ages", but ultimately felt that it lacked challenge and was too short.[6] Game Informer similarly called it charming and a "cute-fest" with "delightfully clumsy anime cutscenes", but that the gameplay was "nothing too complex or innovative."[26] IGN found Tail Concerto to be "a fun game that is just too short for its own good", calling attention to the game's "great graphics and sound effects", but added that it had little to offer older players who "will most likely require a little more complexity than this."[7] The website also felt that although the spoken dialogue was "very well done", the translation became "curiously awkward" as the story progressed, and that certain voice samples had a tendency to play over the wrong text.[7]

1UP.com compared the game to the films of director Hayao Miyazaki in 2012, declaring that "CyberConnect2's Tail Concerto and its sequel Solatorobo -- drip with Ghibli style, perhaps more than any other game you can name." The website would elaborate that the series "comes across as a combination of Laputa and Porco Rosso. With a serious-mindedness that belies its whimsical appearance, these games brilliantly embody the essence of Hayao Miyazaki's directorial ethos."[30]

Jeff Lundrigan reviewed the PlayStation version of the game for Next Generation, rating it three stars out of five, and stated that "Pick this up on the cheap, it possible, then gather some friends, get in the right frame of mind, and surprise them by throwing this in. You'll be a hit until at least the party is over, guaranteed."[27]

Legacy[edit]

Despite the low sales of the original game, CyberConnect were interested in creating a sequel as early as one year after Tail Concerto's release.[13] Company president Hiroshi Matsuyama proposed ideas for Tail Concerto 2 to Bandai in both 1999 and 2000, but was rejected both times since the publisher believed the franchise simply wasn't profitable,[31] leading CyberConnect to instead focus on their then-upcoming .hack franchise.[13] However, Matsuyama and his colleagues didn't give up, citing that Tail Concerto had fans all over the world and believed a follow-up could still find an audience.[13] They re-proposed the idea in 2003 and 2004, with Bandai again refusing to greenlight the project due to its predecessor's low sales.[32]

Despite a direct sequel never coming to fruition, CyberConnect and character designer Nobuteru Yūki returned to the world of Tail Concerto in 2005 with the creation of the character "Mamoru-kun" (まもるくん), a public safety mascot who first appeared in Fukuoka Prefecture's disaster-warning email program of the same name.[33] The promotional materials for the program reveal that Mamoru-kun and his friends live in the country of "Nipon," which, along with Tail Concerto's Prairie Kingdom, is part of a larger world called "Little Tail Bronx."[34] In June 2007, CyberConnect2 released promotional artwork for a new video game,[35] which was confirmed to be a spiritual successor to Tail Concerto called Solatorobo: Red the Hunter, which takes place in the same world, and was released for the Nintendo DS in 2010.[13]

A mobile game set in the same universe, Little Tail Story, was released in 2014.[36] Another game in the series titled Fuga: Melodies of Steel was announced as part of the Trilogy of Vengeance series, commemorating CyberConnect2's 20th anniversary.[37] It will be released in 2020 for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC via Steam.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ ワッフル・ライブレッド Waffuru Raibureddo
  2. ^ パンタくん Panta-kun
  3. ^ アリシア・プリス Arishia Purisu
  4. ^ ステア・プリス Sutea Purisu
  5. ^ フレア・プリス Furea Purisu
  6. ^ ラッセル・ライブレッド Rasseru Raibureddo
  7. ^ フール Fūru
  8. ^ テリア姫 Teria-hime
  9. ^ シアン・ガーラント Shian Gārando
  10. ^ ハウンド三世 Haundo-sansei
  1. ^ a b c Credited as Carrie Gordon Lowrey.[38]
References
  1. ^ "Test de Tail Concerto sur PlayStation" (in French). Jeux Video. September 1, 2010. Archived from the original on December 13, 2013. Retrieved December 7, 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  2. ^ "Archived copy" テイルコンチェルト (in Japanese). CyberConnect2. Archived from the original on September 23, 2013. Retrieved December 4, 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b "Tail Concerto Update and another glowing TA Review!". Atlus. October 26, 1999. Archived from the original on August 15, 2000.
  4. ^ a b "Tail Concerto Features". Atlus. Archived from the original on August 16, 2000. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
  5. ^ "Archived copy" どんなゲームなの? (in Japanese). Bandai. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved December 15, 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ a b c d e Bartholow, Peter (May 12, 1998). "Tail Concerto Review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on November 25, 2012. Retrieved December 3, 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  7. ^ a b c d e f Cleveland, Adam (November 9, 1999). "Tail Concerto". IGN. Archived from the original on March 2, 2014. Retrieved December 3, 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  8. ^ a b "GamePro.com: PlayStation - Tail Concerto". GamePro. IDG. Archived from the original on January 25, 2000.
  9. ^ Tail Concerto Instruction Manual. Atlus. November 3, 1999. SLUS-006600.
  10. ^ a b "Tailstory". Atlus. Archived from the original on August 16, 2000. Retrieved December 6, 2013.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m CyberConnect2 (November 3, 2013). Tail Concerto. Atlus.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Tail Concerto:Charactor" (in Japanese). Bandai. Archived from the original on June 7, 2015. Retrieved December 3, 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  13. ^ a b c d e f g "「テイルコンチェルト」から「Solatorobo」へ。サイバーコネクトツーの構想10年、制作3年の新作誕生秘話" (in Japanese). Game Watch. September 1, 2010. Archived from the original on December 18, 2013. Retrieved December 3, 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  14. ^ "Tail Concerto". PlayStation.com. Archived from the original on August 19, 2000.
  15. ^ a b "Game Credits for Tail Concerto". MobyGames. Archived from the original on 2012-11-10. Retrieved 2009-03-29. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  16. ^ Chen, Jeff (April 30, 1998). "Tail Concerto". IGN. Archived from the original on January 11, 2018. Retrieved December 7, 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  17. ^ Dvorak, Jason. "PlayStation Underground: Jampack". Game-Rave. Archived from the original on April 18, 2013. Retrieved December 5, 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  18. ^ "Bandai's Tail". IGN. February 17, 1999. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved December 3, 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  19. ^ "Tail Concerto Preview". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Ziff Davis Media (121): 106. August 1999.
  20. ^ Stahn Mahn (September 7, 1999). "Tail Concerto Media!". RPGFan. Archived from the original on December 10, 2013. Retrieved December 3, 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  21. ^ "Road to Glory ~long journey~". Fairy Aria. July 20, 2010. Archived from the original on August 29, 2010. Retrieved December 3, 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  22. ^ "「KOKIA×DN KOKIAスペシャルインタビュー」" (in Japanese). ijji. August 4, 2010. Archived from the original on March 8, 2011. Retrieved December 3, 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  23. ^ "LIEN-TAIL / Tail Concerto Perfect Sound Track". VGMdb. Archived from the original on April 19, 2015. Retrieved April 19, 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  24. ^ a b "Tail Concerto for PlayStation". GameRankings. Archived from the original on November 3, 2013. Retrieved December 3, 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  25. ^ a b "テイルコンチェルト [PS]". Famitsu (in Japanese). Enterbrain, Inc. Archived from the original on July 25, 2015. Retrieved December 2, 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  26. ^ a b "Tail Concerto Review". Game Informer. GameStop Corporation. October 27, 1999. Archived from the original on February 29, 2000. Retrieved December 2, 2013.
  27. ^ a b Lundrigan, Jeff (November 1999). "Finals". Next Generation. Vol. 2 no. 3. Imagine Media. p. 121.
  28. ^ "Tail Concerto Review". Dengeki PlayStation (in Japanese). MediaWorks (72): 103–6. April 24, 1998.
  29. ^ "Archived copy" 『テイルコンチェルト』設定資料集発売記念インタビュー!いま明かされる三つの十字架、そして松山洋の本音とは (in Japanese). Inside Games. March 2, 2015. Archived from the original on April 12, 2015. Retrieved April 20, 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  30. ^ Parish, Jeremy (July 12, 2012). "Every Game is Hayao Miyazaki". 1UP.com. Archived from the original on June 1, 2013. Retrieved December 3, 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  31. ^ Nutt, Christian (May 15, 2003). ".hack's creators speak". GameSpy. Archived from the original on March 16, 2012. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  32. ^ Spencer (September 3, 2010). "The Lost Tail Concerto 2 Pitches". Siliconera. Archived from the original on September 6, 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-03. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  33. ^ "Archived copy" まもるくん (in Japanese). Bousai.pref.fukuoka.jp/. Archived from the original on January 30, 2009. Retrieved November 30, 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  34. ^ "Archived copy" まもるくん (in Japanese). CyberConnect2. Archived from the original on January 26, 2009. Retrieved November 30, 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  35. ^ "Nintendo DS New Project Coming Soon -To the World!!-" (in Japanese). CyberConnect 2. Archived from the original on March 2, 2008. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  36. ^ "Little Tail Story". Archived from the original on March 15, 2014. Retrieved March 15, 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  37. ^ Craddock, Ryan (2018-02-02). "CyberConnect2 Announces 'Trilogy of Vengeance' Titles For Nintendo Switch". Nintendo Life. Archived from the original on 2018-03-08. Retrieved 2018-03-04. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  38. ^ "Lara Jill Miller". TV.com. Archived from the original on October 1, 2017. Retrieved November 1, 2018. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)

External links[edit]