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Tactics Ogre ~ Let Us Cling Together

[back cover]
Catalog Number: DPCX-5052~4 (reprint DPCX-5222~4)
Released On: October 25, 1995 (reprint January 13, 2000)
Composed By: Hitoshi Sakimoto, Masaharu Iwata
Arranged By: Hitoshi Sakimoto, Masaharu Iwata
Published By: DataM/Polystar
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 3 CDs
Tracklist:

Disc One
Original Version
01 - Overture
02 - Unit March
03 - Chaotic Island
04 - Fortune Teller 2
05 - Catastrophe
06 - Island Atlas
07 - Prepare to Take the Field
08 - Avilla Henya
09 - Glory
10 - War Situation
11 - Harvest Dance
12 - Restriction on Power
13 - Blasphemous Experiment
14 - A Cygnet
15 - Vendetta!
16 - Theme of WLO
17 - Fog of Phantom
18 - Footsteps From Darkness
19 - Song of Tundra
20 - Religious Precepts
21 - Fight It Out!
22 - Retreat!
23 - A Color of Chaos
24 - Blessed Memory
25 - Warren Report
26 - Three Kings
27 - Insincerity
28 - Breath of the Earth
29 - Agitation
30 - Air Land
31 - Theme of the Priest
32 - Fact of Shock
33 - Chivalry and Savagery
34 - Notice of Death
35 - Limitation
36 - Prayer
37 - Theme of Black Knight
38 - Box of Sentiment
39 - Emotion and Absence of Mind
40 - Deathrattle
41 - Unsealed
42 - Reminiscence
43 - Awakening
44 - Coronation
45 - Passing Moment
Total Time:
68'36"

Disc Two
MIDI Version
01 - Overture
02 - Unit March
03 - Chaotic Island
04 - Fortune Teller 2
05 - Catastrophe
06 - Island Atlas
07 - Prepare to Take the Field
08 - Avilla Henya
09 - Glory
10 - War Situation
11 - Harvest Dance
12 - Restriction on Power
13 - Blasphemous Experiment
14 - A Cygnet
15 - Vendetta!
16 - Theme of WLO
17 - Fog of Phantom
18 - Footsteps From Darkness
19 - Song of Tundra
20 - Religious Precepts
21 - Fight It Out!
22 - Retreat!
23 - A Color of Chaos
24 - Blessed Memory
25 - Warren Report
26 - Three Kings
27 - Insincerity
28 - Breath of the Earth
29 - Agitation
30 - Air Land
Total Time:
59'46"

Disc Three
MIDI Version
01 - Theme of the Priest
02 - Fact of Shock
03 - Chivalry and Savagery
04 - Notice of Death
05 - Limitation
06 - Prayer
07 - Theme of Black Knight
08 - Box of Sentiment
09 - Emotion and Absence of Mind
10 - Deathrattle
11 - Unsealed
12 - Reminiscence
13 - Awakening
14 - Coronation
15 - Passing Moment
MIDI New Version
16 - Theme of Cygnet
17 - Chapter A
Total Time:
43'55"

There's something special about soundtracks from the era of the Super Nintendo. In the much earlier days of video games, compositions had to be both catchy and resilient in order to hold up to the sometimes ear-splitting tune produced by the primitive sound chips available to composers. In recent times, compositions have been able to rest on their laurels in favor of fancy live orchestrations or greatly improved sound chips. However, around the time of the SNES, a glorious thing happened. Suddenly, composers had both the technology and the skills to bring out the timeless classics that we all know and love.

It just so happens that this soundtrack is a perfect example of the wonders of this period of game history.

First of all, Tactics Ogre is strictly an orchestral affair. For those of you searching for wailing guitar music, this isn't going to be your piece of pie. However, if you enjoy good, strong brass horns and a woodwind or two, then this is going to be right up your alley. Combining the original SNES music for the game Tactics Ogre along with two discs of the original music improved with better MIDI instrumentation, Let Us Cling Together is a memorable orchestral affair. It also features a number of particularly interesting tricks that one doesn't hear too often in soundtracks from the same time period.

For starters, the soundtrack combines some of the best ideas from other SNES soundtracks and then gives it its own spin. "Chaotic Island," for example, fuses a bit of Final Fantasy VI and Terranigma together for great effect, while "Avilla Henya" has a feel more reminiscent of Lufia. It all blends together perfectly without sounding one bit like a copy, however, so the soundtrack stays fresh. This said there are also a few themes that tend to run throughout the soundtrack, so everything also has an interconnected vibe to it. Nothing to the point of detriment, though.

Speaking of "Avilla Henya," there's something that I must point out about this album which is its wonderful use of drums and snares. Now, of course since this is an orchestral album, drums and snares are vital to keeping the music lively and to the beat. But Let Us Cling Together goes above and beyond the norm for this, to the point where one can almost feel the beats as they're played. Just listen to "Three Kings" for example. The introduction to it features some wonderful drum and rhythm to it which sets a vibe that is wonderful exploited by the melody which plays for the latter half of the piece. This is somewhat of a rare sight in my experience and I enjoy it every time I come across it.

On the subject of the second two discs is where I lay divided. The new instrumentation is, in all truth, an improvement, however there's a certain vibe I get off the original chip music that seems better to me. Perhaps it's because there's less of a feeling of accomplishment to me; with the new MIDI instrumentation, a lot more is possible musically, but at the same time you lose some of the original complexity of the base music in order to more fully feature the better instrument set. That's not to say the latter two discs are inferior, in fact it's quite the opposite. Many of the newly instrumented tracks are better than the originals. For example, I prefer disc two's version of "Breath of the Earth." But the new version of "Three Kings" loses the strong drums of the original that I liked so much. In the end, it mostly comes down to a choice of preference. It's easier for the casual listener to hear the second two discs, but there's nothing to say you can't pick and choose from all three discs. That's probably one of the beauties of this album: you get both the original and the rearranged music in the same package so that you, the listener, can decide.

Now I cannot say that I have the ability to appreciate this soundtrack to its fullest. As I have never played any of the games in this series, nor particularly been a fan of strategy games, the true power of this soundtrack is perhaps lost on me. But what I can say is that what it does, it does well, and it doesn't need any live instruments to do it, either. This one is recommended if you're a fan of the series or a fan orchestral music game music from those days of old.

Reviewed by: Derek Strange



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