Shining Force NEO Music Collection


Review by · July 3, 2005

I missed the “Shining Force” boat when I was a kid. When all the “underground” gamers were having a good time with their Sega Genesis in ’93, I was playin’ Secret of Mana and Legend of Zelda for Super Nintendo. I regret not having access to a Sega Genesis, or Sega Saturn, in my formative years. Shining Force, as a series, is one of the reasons I lament.

Today, the lamentation has reversed. The last few “Shining” games to be released in this new millenium have been met with criticism, loathing, and a general tone of disappointment. The most recent Shining game released (as of the time of this review’s being written) is Shining Force Neo. People said the gameplay was mediocre, and the music was nothing to cheer about.

Yet, the composer is a somewhat recognizable name, at least to me: Shiro Sagisu, among other compositions, is also the composer for the 26-episode anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion. A classic anime with an equally classic soundtrack: who could resist such a composer? Not me.

That was my reason for purchasing the soundtrack. However, after listening through a few times, I had to admit that the music was not the sort of thing to be getting excited about. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its good moments: this fully-synthesized soundtrack contains some beautiful ambient tunes, a balanced use of interesting percussions (which I am finding to be more and more important), and one or two really memorable melodies (see “Warriors of the Force”, which contains a melody similar to the opening theme of Nausicaä). “Our World”, track 41, is the grandest and most epic song on the album; it does a good job bringing out the sound you want to hear, and then reprises with the same main melody found in track 37 (and a few other places on the album).

I have definitely sampled all of my favorite tracks from the soundtrack: in other words, there is a lot of bland filler music on this 42-track, 58-minute CD. It’s an enjoyable listen, but I wasn’t impressed very much at all. I’m sure the music works well with the game, but outside of the context of the game, who would want it? This may explain why the soundtrack is semi-promotional, available only through “Sega Direct”, though CocoEbiz did have a few copies of it in stock.

Be sure to listen to all the samples (especially track 7, which features some of the best sounds one can use in videogame music). After that, if you see it for a cheap price, and you are still a devoted “Shining” fan, get it. Otherwise, don’t waste your time or money.

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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.