Music From Brandish 2: The Planet Buster


Review by · July 17, 2006

Alright, pop-quiz time: who here knew there were more Brandish games than Brandish 1? Anybody? Did anyone ever fathom that the series not only had more than one entry, but in fact had FOUR entries? Am I the only one struck somewhat odd by this knowledge? Sorry, just a personal opinion, but I’ve always thought of the Brandish series as another one of those Falcom dead branches. It’s somewhat like the old Dragon Slayer line of games that ended somewhere at game number eight. Commentary on the sheer number of games and unexpectedness aside, Brandish managed to garner three more full games after its first showing on good old DOS and the SNES. Brandish 2, The Planet Buster, is a direct sequel to the first Brandish game. So if anyone was looking for more interaction with the nearly-nude Dela, you’ve got yourself a game, assuming you can stand the fact that the game never got translated to English from what I know.

Musically, Brandish 2 is more or less what you’ve come to know Falcom best for. Albeit, the technology was a bit limited, so the music is made solely of chiptunes. Be that as it may, Brandish 2 actually had a very decent soundtrack judging from this. Not amazing, but still very solid, which is a blessing since the game is a straight dungeon-crawl. Variety-wise, however, it’s a bit lacking. Falcom, deciding not to beat about the bush, made the soundtrack essentially a no-nonsense rock album. There’s the occasional bit of mood music to fit the requisite cave area, ice zone, sea place, and the rest of the lot, but primarily it’s just Falcom power rock all the way to the end.

Compositionally, the soundtrack bears some resemblance to Ys I and II, but with less memorable themes. Tracks like “Master Ninja” and “Karl Kyares” get the blood pumping, but I’d be hard-pressed to ever find myself humming them. I’ll hold two exceptions to that rule, though. Even I have to admit “Gadobadorrer” and “Soldier’s Sorrow” are pretty fine tunes. I think the overall problem with the album is more that it was designed for the game. By this, I mean that instead of being made to work as alone, it was meant to be heard with the game. They were fine-tuned to be set to repeat, to the point that it may have sacrificed some other facets to do the duty best. I’m certain it did the job perfectly, though; I played any number of SNES games that didn’t have music as nice as this.

Overall, I’d have to say the album is worthy of the listen. Is it worth purchasing for an exorbitant fee on eBay? Only if you’re the most fanatical of fanatics, I’m a Falcom nut and I wouldn’t buy it, solely due to rarity. If you can snatch it up for thirty bucks, though, by all means I think it’s worth that. It’s good solid music and, who knows, it might serve as a good conversation piece for those equally bewildered by its existence.

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