The Spirit Engine Original Soundtrack


Review by · December 9, 2008

Josh Whelchel’s soundtrack for “The Spirit Engine” is beautiful, if rudimentary. Like the game itself, this first soundtrack was an experiment, or even a prototype, for what would come later.

This soundtrack doesn’t have any fadeouts, endings, or proper loopings for each song. They just stop, and then you are on to the next track. In this way, it feels more like an in-game sound test than a properly formatted soundtrack. More care is required in these matters to make a soundtrack palatable to the listener.With this complaint aside, it’s time to focus on the music. And man, is it good! Talk about oldschool. The synth reminds me of the 8-bit and 16-bit days, but in a way that beautifully mixes the various synths of those days. The music you may remember from early Nintendo or Sega titles mixes here with the sounds of the MSX, PC-Engine, and other early game consoles’ chips. Mix in a bit of wonky MIDI synth, and you got a good base for a soundtrack.

Whelchel’s got a good feeling for silly music, “funk” (which he aptly describes many tracks on the album), and the occasional touch of epic orchestral work. I found myself appreciating even the five-second jingle tracks, such as the battle victory music, for being as bright and memorable as the earliest RPGs I’d ever played (that is, Final Fantasy 1).

This printed CD version of the OST was extended in a digital release that tacked on a lot of extra tracks, including some bonus arrangements. Regardless of whether you get the printed CD or digital release, you will likely find yourself enjoying this music, especially if you like the “oldschool” VGM scene.

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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.