To be honest, there’s always a slight absence of something when reviewing a game’s soundtrack without having actually played the game first. Often enough, the events transpiring in gameplay accompanied by the song add to its likeability (or the listener’s distaste for the track). But, despite all this being absent, Growlanser II’s OST still manages to stand out to my ears, albeit as nothing more than a typical “old school” sounding OST.
For many, this may not be an appealing asset to the game. But for others, including myself, a little nostalgia that leads to a trip down memory lane is a pleasant experience. Coupled with the game’s sprite-based character models, the “old school” experience becomes entire and complete. Now, in regards to what defines “old school”, well, that’s simple. For starters, it doesn’t have any grand, professionally performed orchestrated tracks, ala Xenosaga. There aren’t any surprise Heavy Metal tracks sprung upon us like with FFX, and there is certainly no attempt for an epic, movie-like score for the game. It’s straight up “game music”.
With Growlanser II, you are brought back to the days of MIDI. Only, of course, they’ve been revamped with some good synthesizer technology; you can still feel and hear all the traces of its roots. The game’s soundtrack can be considered old school, with a twist of present-day genres mixed in. There are a lot of funky beats and techno grooves, tracks that rock out, as well as slower, more “passionate” sounding tracks reminiscent of folk tunes or westerns only edged with synthesized notes. The OST, overall, maintains a “game” feel to it, while nonetheless representing various styles of music and genres, all tightly bound by the shared roots of its composer’s, Hiroshi Fujioka, unique take on music composition.
Overall, the soundtrack continues to be an enjoyable experience to this date, particularly those tracks found as samples here on RPGFan. Take the hint and give ’em a try, if you’re any kind of music of VG buff, you should find them to your liking and perhaps even to your remembrance. Even with the absence of the game’s events to strengthen the meanings behind songs, they still permit room for the imagination to conjure images of just what may be occurring. The OST can be compared to a tiny window, giving you just a peak inside the world of Growlanser, which is sad to say a long ways off, but nonetheless an anticipated title.