Saiyuuki Original Soundtrack


Review by · January 22, 2006

Once upon a time, I asked one of my fellow VGM-loving friends, “what is the worst non-mainstream / obscure soundtrack you’ve ever heard?” His reply was, “Saiyuuki. Without a doubt, Saiyuuki. It sucks.” If the soundtrack were really all that bad, I thought to myself, then perhaps I should pick it up and review it so I can declare with him that this is indeed the most terrible soundtrack I’ve heard in years. What with all my positive sentiments towards VGM, I had to find something I really didn’t like eventually. I was hoping to find it in this soundtrack.

Well…too bad for me, eh?

This soundtrack is certainly not spectacular. It is indeed a lackluster bit of music with an Eastern flavor that does not quite impress, but gets the job done. Released in America as “Saiyuki: The Journey West,” this unique RPG does have a bit of a unique sound to it. There is a bit of “groove” here and there, such as in the “Item Shop” theme. In fact, many of the “area” themes (the early tracks) have a similar “groove” pace to them. The battle themes, on the other hand, are a mixed bag of really catchy songs and really annoying songs. The first two battle themes were great, then things went downhill for awhile, then picked back up for battles six through eight. The final battle theme (track 31) is atonal, clanky, and gross. I hope it fit the game’s atmosphere, because it failed it standing on its own as a decent theme.

The Event themes were all pretty solid. Any time a piano, guitar, or neat percussion sounds were used, my ears perked up. The synth sounds really good for PS1 era here. Be they slow or fast, I was pleased with the dozen or so event themes.

The ending track is a blaring mixture of horns and electric guitar, and is not a half-bad track, if you’re in the mood for it. Be sure to listen to the sample of this track.

What really does the soundtrack in, if you ask me, is the vocal theme song “Magic Goku.” Sweet mother of mercy, this song should never have existed. Much like the American “Dragon Ball Z” opening theme, this song excels in being extremely repetitive and bland (note the coincidence that both of these songs refer to the tale of Goku). The male vocalist sounds kind of cool, but hearing him belt out “Magic San Goku” over and over gets boring.

So it looks like this soundtrack isn’t the worst soundtrack in the world after all. However, it certainly isn’t that great either. “Masa” did a decent job making a soundtrack for a PS1 RPG, and that’s about sums it up. Don’t bother trying to find this one unless for some reason you were a huge fan of the game (which most people weren’t).

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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.