I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for the Japanese digital comic/visual novel genre. My first taste of this genre came in 1999 when I played a localized version of C’s Ware’s EVE burst error. This game was originally a Hentai game but the localized version is devoid of all the H content; though some vestigal traces of the game’s H roots still remain, such as panty shots in unnecessary places. I never felt the game needed any H content as most aspects were quite impressive to me. I loved the character designs and the storyline, while very linear, was one of the most compelling storylines I’ve ever experienced in a video game.
The game was originally released for the Sega Saturn but the version US gamers got was a PC port. One thing that was not very good in the PC port was the music. It sounded like flat, generic MIDI that wouldn’t be out of place in a 16-bit game. Because of this, it was a pleasant surprise to listen to this soundtrack. The arrangments were fuller with more layered and lush instrumentation than what I had heard in the game. “Main (noon) for the Man” is an excellent example of this and is, in my opinion, the best track on this soundtrack. Other tracks I liked include “Hacking (Hacker)” and “Insanity (no. X06.)” Insanity has a rock feel that is very different from the smooth electronica of the other songs. I liked it.
Since the game takes place in modern day urban Japan, the music had a modern urban feel. It was all synthesized electronic music at a mostly slower (read: non-danceable) tempo. Unfortunately, I found all but a couple of the compositions rather bland and oftentimes boring to listen to. Part of the reason is that the music is generally just there as background music for the scenery, and as such does not stand alone very well outside the context of the game. Even within the context of the game, the music is merely functional.
As expected, the game does boast a couple of requisite vocal themes, both of which are below average. “Last Mission” is pretty boring with bland male and female vocalists. Sometimes they would duet, and when they did, it was awful. It did not sound smooth or in sync at all. “Glass Dress” has some interesting instrumentation right before the chorus, but the vocalist has a soft voice that is also very bland. The song as a whole was also generally boring.
It’s a good thing EVE burst error is such a strong game in the graphics and especially the storyline departments, because the music was definitely the area most lacking. The soundtrack here was a vast improvement over the horrible primitive MIDI in the English PC port of the game, but the music as a whole was still very bland. In a nutshell, EVE burst error is a fantastic game with a mediocre-at-best soundtrack.