Shin Sekaiju no MeiQ Millennium no Shoujo Original Soundtrack


Review by · April 29, 2016

Shin Sekaiju no MeiQ, or “Etrian Odyssey Untold” to we Westerners, is the remake of the original Etrian Odyssey. Alongside the move from DS to 3DS, the game offers a character-centered story that better explains the plot and world of EO, as well as two new classes, and most importantly, an entirely new soundtrack recording.

Traditionally, Yuzo Koshiro’s methodology for the Etrian Odyssey music has been as follows: 1) write music in some retro form (FM synth, NES-emulated chiptunes, etc); 2) upgrade the voices or channels from the retro version into the best sequenced audio the current hardware (DS) could handle. Then, when players enjoyed the game, they could listen to either sound source. However, since Koshiro-san already had the original music written, this time he could focus on going bigger. Like, Super Arrange Version bigger.

The audio in EO Untold is not strictly sequenced synthesizer, as it had once been. The “upgrade” version now includes actual musical recordings from great session musicians. Looking at the list of performers, I immediately notice saxophonist Norihiko Hibino and pianist AYAKI (who, together, make up the Gentle Love duo with their Game Music Lullabies albums). There are two violin players, two viola players, two guitarists, jazz flute great Akemi Ohta, and many others. While there are synthesized instruments still present in the new soundtrack, they often exist to provide structure from the original audio for the instrumentalists to build upon.

Since the new version of the game has new content, Yuzo Koshiro did have to write some new songs. How many? If this OST is exhaustive, the answer is probably “eight.” Why do I say that? Well, like all EO games, EO Untold allows gamers to listen to the upgraded sound or the old retro stuff. At the end of disc two, we find FM synth versions of eight songs, all from the new “Gladsheim” area and some new story content. If you want to hear the other songs’ FM versions, you need to pick up the old Etrian Odyssey (Sekaiju no MeiQ) soundtrack. I’m just happy the new songs’ FM versions were included; I was worried they’d go unpublished. They’re actually quite good: check out that sample for “Labyrinth — Gladsheim — Pulse of Time.” It’s every bit as good as the upscale sounds.

Back to those upscale sounds. Sekaiju no MeiQ had a “Super Arrange Version” album, as well as a “Piano & Strings” album. Both of these arrange albums are great. The piano and strings album remains a personal favorite of mine to this day. However, the piano and strings album was a combined arrange album for the first two games in the series, and had to focus on town and labyrinth music, since battle music wouldn’t work in that format. Basically, this OST offers the same professional sound quality and brilliant performance as those albums. However, it doesn’t have improv/ad lib solos. Even the guitar solo parts in the battle themes follow the FM synth parts pretty closely. So you have to accept that there’s a time limit, and that there’s no free-form allowance with these “arrangements.” They take up about the same time and loop around the same time as their FM counterparts.

I could list my favorite songs from the album, but I think that’d be superfluous. The audio samples do the rest of the work. Fans of the series should consider purchasing this album, and fans of old-school Koshiro (Ys, ActRaiser, Streets of Rage) should come to this series and this remake in particular to see what new and amazing music he’s making these days.

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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.