Blue Forest Story ~Seal of Wind~

[back cover]
Catalog Number: POCX-1021
Released On: April 1, 1996
Composed By: Shinji Kawashima, Yukiko Hino, Tadashi Sawashita
Arranged By: Shinji Kawashima, Yukiko Hino, Tadashi Sawashita
Published By: Polygram
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 1 CD

01 - Theme
02 - Earth Vol.1
03 - Battle Vol.1
04 - Villages
05 - Among the Mountains
06 - Street of Stores and Houses
07 - Temple
08 - Battle Vol.2
09 - Earth Vol.2
10 - Maze Vol.1
11 - Battle Vol.3
12 - Maze Vol.2
13 - Battle Vol.4
14 - Closing Theme
15 - Expressive Song Collection
Total Time:

Blue Forest Story ~Seal of Wind~ is a Japanese RPG originally released on the 3DO and later ported to the PlayStation, albeit with a slightly altered opening. That's about all I know about the game, as it was a fairly obscure title on both sides of the pond. But that does not really matter when you close your eyes and slowly contemplate the words in the game's title. Blue Forest Story~ Seal of Wind~... Let the words spread out on your mental palate as if you are slowly savoring a bite of premium chocolate. What kind of music ran through your mind while contemplating these titular words? If you are anything like me, the soundtrack presented here is precisely what would run through my head upon thinking about Blue Forest Story ~Seal of Wind~.

The music is atmospheric, down tempo, electronic music with tasteful use of "foresty" sound effects like watery sounds, tribal beats, and chirping birds. The music feels like the listener is being enveloped in the canopy of foliage in a magical forest. The music does not have any catchy hooks, preferring to go for a more evocative feel and sound. Even the battle themes are more relaxing and subdued than I would expect in an RPG. The music is lovely to listen to on its own merits, but when taken as a whole, it all starts to sound the same after a while. I'll bet it is absolutely gorgeous within the context of the game.

Many of the tracks are lengthy and consist of many short pieces rolled into one. "Villages," for example, is every village theme from the game played one after another with brief pauses in between. I would have liked to have each individual song within each blanket theme track to be its own numbered track so I wouldn't have to fast forward and rewind to get to the pieces I liked. Using "Villages" as the example again, there were some village themes that were quite ear-grabbing whereas others were rather boring. I wanted an easier way to get to just the village themes I liked instead of having to fast forward, rewind, or sit through the music I did not like.

The worst offender here is the 14 minute long "Expressive Song Collection" that caps off the soundtrack. It's basically a mish-mash pile of songs that did not fit under umbrellas like field themes, town themes, dungeon themes, or battle themes. These were all generally cool songs, but this one uncharacteristically bouncy and in-your-face song really felt out of place and stood in sharp contrast to the subdued, down tempo nature of the rest of the soundtrack. Again, why couldn't each song to be its own separate track so I could easily pick and choose what I wanted to listen to.

Despite the music being quite lovely and certainly not a typical RPG soundtrack, the music tended to blend together and feel the same after a while. Making things worse, the format and layout of the soundtrack left something to be desired. Lumping a whole bunch of songs together into one track is cumbersome. A lot of anime soundtracks have done that, and I wonder why? It just makes navigation more difficult for the listener. The music is far from bad. In fact, most of it's actually quite good. However, when you have a tasty morsel of food poorly presented on the plate, it becomes unappetizing and this is precisely what happened here.

Reviewed by: Neal Chandran