Soul Blader


Review by · September 20, 2005

Editor’s note: A special thank you goes out to “Maou” who translated this tracklist to English. Previously, a completely incorrect tracklist (fabricated by someone who didn’t even attempt to translate the Japanese tracklist) had been the only English translation on the ‘net for years. Thanks Maou!

Quintet! Have you heard of Quintet studios? Back in the day, they developed three action RPGs for Super Famicom during the span of about five years. The first of those three games was Soul Blader, known by Americans as Soul Blazer.

Though they were composed by different people, the music in each of the three Quintet SFC games are similar, because the sound programming and synth options stayed relatively the same. By the time Tenchi Souzou (Terranigma) was released, things had improved a good bit, but if you’re looking for the original, raw sound of Quintet audio, look no further than this soundtrack.

Kooky and quirky to be sure, Soul Blader has music that takes queues from many different styles of music (both within modern genres and in terms of historical categories), but is ultimately unified by the sound of the SFC sound chip. Take a listen to track 2, for example. The Gothic/Baroque sound of an organ ascending and descending various scales in a circle-of-fifths pattern, much like what you’d expect from one of J.S. Bach’s darker pieces.

Then there’s that eccentric and annoying style of music, found on track 6. Nearly every OST known to man has one of these. This one was especially annoying. Mission accomplished, Takekawa-san.

Speaking of the man behind the musical plan, composer Yukihide Takekawa apparently also does vocals on track 21 “Koibito no Inaiyoru” (which we have translated to “A Night Without a Lover”). Obviously, this fully arranged vocal performance was made exclusively for the soundtrack and isn’t found within the game (since it’s a Super Famicom game, and an early one at that). My personal take on this song is that it’s a REALLY good song that should’ve been recorded in 1985. The instruments used in the song are really what impress me, but even the male vocal isn’t half-bad.

One of my favorite tracks is track 15. The funky bass line complements some computerized bleep-blips up high, and some other weird synths carry the melody. This is classic Quintet: it’s the stuff dreams are made of. I demand you enjoy it.

If this album were readily available, I’d give the standard advice of “buy it if you like it; it’s a mixed bag of great tracks and a few really lame tracks.” However, this soundtrack isn’t really available at all. If you enjoy throwing away massive amounts of money β€” say, $150 β€” then get on eBay and get it. It’s frequently there, but it’s so massively overpriced, few people go for it; I don’t blame them. The music isn’t good enough to warrant the price explosion. So, I’d advise you enjoy the samples and consider it an antique in the world of VGM.

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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.