In 1999, Squaresoft were busy making their 3rd Front Mission title, at least strategy/RPG wise. Like when they’ve hired Riow Arai for Front Mission Alternative in 1997, they wanted to take another chance and hire composers outside the company. So the duo of Koji Hayama (Cho Aniki) and Hayato Matsuo (Ogre Battle, Dragon Force II) were brought in to breathe in a bit of fresh air music-wise. Both composers did a great job. Although Matsuo was the better one as he wrote the orchestral pieces, Hayama showed off his talent on the techno pieces.
Disc 1 general review
The first track that caught my attention was the guitar-driven “Starting,” composed by Koji Hayama; it has all the good stuff, great composition, lovely sound and just sounds plain cool! This was used during the sequence of testing the wanzers’ strength and abilities in the laboratory. “Bar(All-Purpose)” is a catchy jazz lounge track, much like Matsueda’s works in the Front Mission series and Racing Lagoon. Matsuo gets the atmosphere just right with this piece. Relax, have a drink or two while you listen to this piece. The “Setup” pieces are both done in techno style and do sound a tad repetitive, yet they tend to stay catchy, the same goes for “Network.” Those themes will be heard often, so you’ll need to get used to them. The fun really starts with “Invasion,” which Matsuo slips in a piano here and there, while the meat of the composition is more techno, it still manages to entrance and keeps the player listening without having to mute the TV. “Impact” sounds like a duel theme to me, as it is fast-paced, is very militaristic in nature and certainly fits the mood of battle. Another note-worthy track is “VS Mercenaries,” Matsuo puts more than enough variety so you don’t lose the focus of your objective; this music is strategy RPG material at its best in my opinion. “Bar (China)” has that Asian sound (d’uh), I can’t describe too much, but it just sounds so fitting for a Chinese bar/pub.
Koji Hayama does the melancholic “Suspicion,” which starts with a cello playing an eerie melody, backed up by a piano; something awful must be going on while this plays. Disc 1 ends with the great “Advancing Attack.” It’s fast-paced, loads of fun to listen to, you can easily imagine rushing the enemy to this theme, what more could one want?
Disc 2 general review
The first track which really grabbed my attention on disc 2 was “Fort Invasion,” once more, Matsuo shows off amazing skill at combing techno and orchestral music, but this one is of a much grander, more epic scale than those on disc 1, you can tell that capturing the enemy fort is a crucial part for winning the war. “Sorrow” is one of the most emotional sad themes I’ve ever heard, Matsuo excels in creating emotional themes as well as battle themes, as this track is a no-brainer. “Big Battle,” always by Matsuo; is the final boss theme. It delivers wonderfully; you can feel the extreme tension while you hold on for dear life and pray that you survive the onslaught of the gigantic enemy wanzer.
“Ending” takes the cake as being the most depressing ending theme ever, there are glimpses of hope here and there, but overall, you can feel the characters aren’t quite satisfied with the way the war has gone, even if it ended, too many lives were lost.
So…should you get this soundtrack? If you do, grab it quick!! Since DigiCube burned down recently, it is only available in limited copies.