All Sounds of Sword World

 

Review by · October 19, 2005

Ah, I see you are once again opening the vault to examine the RPGs of yester-year. Beyond that, you are willing to learn about an RPG that never quite made it to America. “Sword World” (a great tongue-twister, if you ask me) was an Japanese RPG released both for the Super Famicom and for PC. The two versions differed in many respects, but most apparently were they different in terms of music. The sound chips were different, as were the musical compositions themselves.

Hence, “All Sounds of Sword World” is a one-disc OST that covers music from both the Super Famicom and PC versions of the game. As to the quality of the game itself, I cannot say, but I will say this: if you’re looking for some good obscure VGM from the Super Famicom era, this soundtrack is one of the best I’ve heard.

The kind of compositions I found on this album varied by style; included were many different ethnic-based music styles worked into the SFC sound chip. Students of music should be able to recognize various modal scales and variations upon them (such as the infamous “gypsy mixolydian”) in these songs, adding to the atmosphere of the game, which likely had a few exotic locales to visit.

There were many songs on the Super Famicom side that stood out to me because of their superb ambience. Listen to track 12, “To the Abyss.” This song reminded me of some of my favorite songs from Terranigma, Treasure Hunter G, and Alundra: the use of softer synths alongside an interesting rhythmic pattern, and a leisurely melody to top it all off. Mmm Mmm Mmm! That is some good stuff!

There were a few exciting battle and event themes that I would have enjoyed much more if they had been looped (such as track 35). This would’ve called for a more complete two disc soundtrack. Alas, with a soundtrack printed twelve years ago, we have to admit that such a desire cannot be fulfilled. It’s always a shame when people put 50 or more songs on one disc.

The PC side of the album was, well…to say the least, it wasn’t my taste. The sound chip is simply inferior: it reminds me exactly of the kind of music one might hear from a really old Falcom album (such as “Music From Sorcerian”). I sampled one song from this section, “The Trial”: I thought this was the best song of the lot, simply because it was rhythmically catchy. Most of the rest of the songs included that droning lingering synth that simply doesn’t belong in any song, period. I generally tend to stop listening to the album after track 46; though I suppose some more hardcore fans of older synth music styles might be taken by the PC music too.

As low as the supply may be in the online market for this item, demand is equally low. If you run across it, you can probably get it for around the same price you’d pay for a CD retail in America. Remember, this one is recommended to people who simply love Super Famicom sound-chip music!

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Patrick Gann

Patrick Gann

Therapist by day and gamer by night, Patrick has been offering semi-coherent ramblings about game music to RPGFan since its beginnings. From symphonic arrangements to rock bands to old-school synth OSTs, Patrick keeps the VGM pumping in his home, to the amusement and/or annoyance of his large family of humans and guinea pigs.