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Bahamut Lagoon OST

[back cover]
Catalog Number: PSCN-5046
Released On: February 25, 1996
Composed By: Noriko Matsueda
Arranged By: Gizaemon de Furuta, Takahito Eguchi
Published By: NTT Publishing
Recorded At: Green Bird
Format: 2 CDs (1 CD + 1 8cm)
Tracklist:

Disc One
01 - Opening
02 - Kanna
03 - Fight Part 1
04 - Jojo's Theme
05 - Jojo and the Sacred Dragon
06 - Sauzer's Theme
07 - Requiem
08 - Friendship
09 - Matelight's Theme
10 - Gudruff's Theme
11 - Menu Screen
12 - Kanna Army
13 - Rebel Troops
14 - Orerusu Salvation Army
15 - Granbelos' Imperial Army
16 - Monsters
17 - Altyre's Monsters
18 - Zakoh Battle
19 - Boss Battle
20 - Level Up
21 - Mission Clear
22 - Game Over
23 - The Green Continent Campbell
24 - The Water Continent Maharl
25 - Magical City Godorando
26 - Desert Daphira
27 - Bahamut
28 - Bahamut Lagoon Arutairu
29 - Song of Sadness
30 - Tension
31 - Little Nori-chan's Appearance
32 - Dancing Party
33 - Fight Part 2
34 - Battle with Alexander
35 - Final Battle
36 - Ending
Total Time:
69'57''

Disc Two
Orchestra Arrange Version
01 - Theme of Bahamut Lagoon ~ Opening
02 - Jojo and God Dragons
03 - Theme of Bahamut Lagoon ~ Opening (19S12F)
04 - Jojo and God Dragons 2 (17S17F)
Total Time:
5'43''

In my opinion, Noriko Matsueda must be one of the most underrated composers working in game soundtracks. I've heard a lot of people coming down on her music. Even though I don't think she's God's gift to game music fans, I still believe that she deserves far more credit than she has gotten. Maybe I'm a little biased, since I like instrumental Jazz/Fusion/Lounge-music so much, and that seems to be her main specialty. I have yet to check out her "Racing Lagoon OST", but if it's even half of what I've heard it is, I think I'll be most pleased with it.

Well, enough about that. What we have here is the "Bahamut Lagoon OST", released by NTT Publishing in 1996. It is the soundtrack to one of Squaresoft's last Nintendo games; a strategy-RPG with heavy influences from the world of Final Fantasy. The reason for me checking out this CD in the first place was really curiosity. Not only the fact that the game was pretty obscure and unknown to start with, but I can't think of any OST released by Squaresoft that has been so despised and spat upon in the game music community. Was it really THAT bad…? Well, to my relief, it wasn't. Of course, it's not especially groundbreaking. But it still gets two thumbs up from me.

Let's get the bad points across first. Yes, there are moments of boredom on this CD. YES, there are a lot of tracks that have that very typical "generic RPG"-type of feel to them. Some tracks seem very rushed, and poorly thought-through. I would say that about 30 % of the score is made up of these "boring" moments, and this is one of the reasons for the bad reputation this CD has received.

Well, how about the good? There is actually quite a lot of it here. I feel I must begin with track 4 ("Jojo's Theme"). This track is... unbelievably beautiful. There's a lot of people complaining about the generic quality of this soundtrack, but I can't see how anyone can dislike this track. I just can't. The first time I heard it I left it on constant repeat for about six hours. That's how beautiful it is.

While track 4 is the best on the CD, there are many other good ones. The majestic, heroic "Kanna Army" immediately comes to mind - yet another great composition. Other tracks like "Kanna", "Sauzer's Theme", "Requiem", "Altyre's Monsters", "Zakoh Battle", "Desert Daphira", and "Fight Part 2" are just as cool, and certainly above the "normal RPG-level," and above all, anything but generic! This is especially true of the battle themes. For BL, Matsueda took another approach with the battle themes. Instead of trying to beef them up as much as she possibly could (like too many composers do), she crafts pretty calm and steady battle themes, allowing her great talent for Jazz-like sounds to shine through. It may sound strange, but it works, especially if we take into account the fact that it is music made for a strategy-based RPG, which isn't as much in need of "speedy" action-tunes. Another thing Matsueda does good are the sad themes - many of them sound very good.

Well, maybe I've "promoted" the BL OST a little more than it deserves, but I feel it needs justification. As I stated in the beginning of the review, most of Matsueda's compositions are by no means perfect. But you could say as much about any other composer, and this CD is FAR from being as bad as some people would have you believe. This soundtrack has been out of print for very long now, and if you remember that the game was never much of a hit (and only released in Japan), you will understand that it is very hard to come across. Try eBay. I wouldn't say that it's really worth as much as you'll probably have to pay for it (unless of course you want it REALLY BAD), but remember, it's not nearly as bad as you might have heard. Noriko Matsueda is a very interesting composer indeed.

Reviewed by: Daniel Kalabakov

How to describe Bahamut Lagoon? This is a difficult question indeed. As one of the few soundtracks in which Noriko Matsueda scored, it certainly didn't gather much attention, and that's a shame. Why you'd ask? Read on to find out. Note: This review is mostly based on my playing experience.

The music in Bahamut Lagoon is pretty much epic, as it has a medieval setting, something I'm personally very fond of. The "Opening" theme is breathtaking; it fits the visual effects quite well. And for fans of strategy RPG's, you'll be served a full plate of military-like music. An excellent example of this would be "Kanna Army," which is used for the battlefield mode. The use of the drum machine here simply gives the player the impression that he's really planning some tactic to overcome the enemy, the Granbelos Empire. "Sauzer's Theme" is inaccurate, it hardly plays when Sauzer has the spotlight, and is more of a theme for the generals of the Granbelos Army. I does give off a feeling of uneasiness, which fits their motives just fine. "Friendship" actually IS Sauzer's theme, and it's a first in RPG history, to my knowledge, to be granted with a beautiful melody. In contrast to the usual evil/brooding themes, it's an interesting change. "Gudruff's Theme" is another villain's theme, however, this one is of the evil/brooding kind, and represents the vile Gudruff all too well.

An obvious interest in all RPG soundtracks are the battle themes. Do Bahamut Lagoon's do their part? Of course, these are among the best battle themes coming from Squaresoft (SNES era speaking, of course). The boss theme is my personal favorite; it gives off a sense of danger and urgency as you do your best to survive in battle. "Battle with Alexander" is another battle theme that stands out. While it may be short, it makes it up by sounding just plain good.

Another important part of RPG soundtracks would be town themes. Well, Bahamut Lagoon has some good ones as well as (unfortunately) bad ones. "The Green Continent Campbell" is very soothing and reflects the peaceful town, just lovely.

Another popular section of an RPG soundtrack is the character themes. Yet again, Bahamut Lagoon's stand firmly on their own. "JoJo's Theme" is simply a light, peaceful track. Of course the princess has the particular trait, so it fits her well. "Little Nori-chan's Appearance" is actually Donphan's theme, who just cannot stop flirting with the ladies. As he provides a good chunk of comic relief, it's normal he gets such a hilarious theme. "Matelight's Theme" has a much more serious and military tone. This is played when he gives the crew a briefing or training session, it does its job.

That's pretty much it. Wait…there is a second disc?! Why yes, it contains two orchestral arrangements of the "Opening Theme" and "Jojo and the Sacred Dragon" respectively. They are basically souped-up versions, but I'm not really "that" impressed. And we get two bits, 15 and 20 seconds, of the arrangements' ending parts. Why did they do this? Your guess is as good as mine.

All in all, I truly believe this soundtrack is worth picking up mostly because it's Squaresoft, but also because it's pretty original for an RPG. Want this soundtrack? Well, there are two places I know of, the easiest being Otaku. If Otaku should stop restocking them, you'll only have eBay. All I can say is "Good luck!" You'll need it as this soundtrack has become extremely rare like many other CDs of the same year; Rudora no Hihou and Treasure Hunter G.

Reviewed by: Dragon God



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