Tamashii no Mon – Dante Shinkyoku yori Soundtrack (PC-98), Masumi Ito / Yoshiyuki Ito / Fiori Wakakuwa, 1992
Turns out 2010’s God of War clone Dante’s Inferno wasn’t the first video game based on Dante Alighieri’s 14th-century poem The Divine Comedy. But maybe that’s no surprise, given the work’s towering literary status and its vivid imagery of Hell’s nine circles, which make it ripe for adaptations into other media. Another game inspired by The Divine Comedy was Koei’s Tamashii no Mon – Dante no Shinkyoku yori (literally: Gate of Souls – From Dante’s Divine Comedy). As one might expect, players assume the role of Dante, as he struggles to find his way through the depths of hell. The developers cast the game as an adventure title with platforming and melee elements, while making excellent use of the ageing PC-98’s graphical capabilities. The clever use of a limited colour palette combined with excellent sprite art truly brought the game’s nightmarish settings to live.
For the game’s soundtrack, the developers turned to the trio of Masumi Ito, Yoshiyuki Ito and Hiori Wakakuwa, who composed the Tamashii no Mon – Dante no Shinkyoku yori soundtrack under the moniker of hyym. There’s little information available on Wakakuwa’s work – his only other credits seem to be Koei’s Super Mahjong Taikai and Inindo: Way of the Ninja. The opposite is true for the wife and husband team of Masumi and Yoshiyuki Ito. Starting out their careers as arrangers and composers on various Koei titles, they continued to arrange game music into the mid-1990s for numerous album releases – including Super Metroid, Virtua Fighter and Donkey Kong Country. They then moved into anime scoring, with Masumi Ito also launching a career as a singer with several solo albums and Yoshiyuki Ito working as Head Music Producer of Lantis – both artists amassing an impressive discography of 100+ titles each.