01 - The Keisetai River ~ Title Music
02 - Origin ~ Opening Image Music
03 - Gazing Boundary ~ Operations Room Main
04 - Wave ~ Operations Room Sub
05 - Kantou ~ Kantou Map
06 - Northeast ~ Northeast Map
07 - Hakkouda ~ Hakkouda Map
08 - Tsugaru ~ Tsugaru Map
09 - Endure ~ Battle 1
10 - Rough ~ Battle 2
11 - Motion ~ Battle 3
12 - Running ~ Battle 4
13 - Rebellion ~ Battle 5
14 - Barbarians ~ Battle 6
15 - Wheel ~ Battle 7
16 - Dance ~ Battle 8
17 - Inconsistency ~ Battle 9
18 - Yutaka ~ Battle 10
19 - Hand Drum ~ Battle 11
20 - Mixing ~ Battle 12
21 - Progress ~ Battle 13
22 - Decision ~ Battle 14
23 - Daranka ~ Event Conspiracy
24 - Tensoukai ~ Event Emergency
25 - Eirakuen ~ Event Sorrow
26 - Sowanra ~ Event Appearance
27 - Utsusouma ~ Event Reminiscence
28 - Garinna ~ Event Friendship
29 - Rairouu ~ Event Comrade
30 - Battle Chronicle ~ Results Expression Drum
31 - Kinasa Diary ~ Kinasa Diary
32 - Never As a Dream ~ Game Over
33 - Command ~ Minagawa Speech Image Music
34 - Instant ~ Staff Roll Music
35 - Origin: Promotion MIX ~ Promotion MIX
"Ring of Red" tells the alternate history of WWII, where Japan is split into a communist North and capitalist South. The game itself takes place in 1964, after Japan goes through much conflict using the new technology of the "Armored Fighter Walker" (oh boy, more giant mechs).
The game was released at the dawn of the PS2 era (in 2000), so the soundtrack reflects new technology in the hands of novice users. The sound quality of these songs are good, but a little unrefined. I originally thought it was a top-of-the-line PS1 soundtrack, but I was mistaken after doing the quick bit of research revealing the game's platform.
The first few songs flow together like a river; not exactly calm, but certainly smooth. These songs felt right, and on my first listen I had hoped that the whole album would continue with these somewhat-minimalist, still-enjoyable tunes. Then, things took a turn for the worse.
In many games, particularly RPGs, the battle themes are the songs that people most enjoy. However, Ring of Red's 14 battle themes are all, pretty much, bland as bland can be. There is zero inspiration behind these songs. I had hoped for some cool music, especially considering the unique titles behind the songs, but I was a fool to hope.
Things get dramatically better in the "events" section of the soundtrack. All of the event themes were relatively impressive, some of them worthy of a live orchestra arrangement (though that will never happen). Tracks 26 and 27 were my favorites, and you can check them out for yourself!
Ignoring the very last track, which was a terrible mix, the "Staff Roll" is a somber, memorable piece that ought to catch one's ears by surprise. Think of it as a slow, military funeral procession.
Among the Konami soundtracks I've reviewed, this one is the "most average" OST yet. I know that doesn't make sense: how is something extremely mediocre? How much more "in the middle" can something get? I don't know, but I think I found it here. It's certainly not bad, but I can't see why anyone would pay to own this soundtrack. Like the game, which had an interesting premise but failed to deliver overall, this soundtrack has an excellent opening and a few other beautiful spots, but then is otherwise a lackluster album.
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann