Etrian Mystery Dungeon 2 Original Soundtrack
Etrian Mystery Dungeon 2 Original Soundtrack
September 20, 2017
Buy at CDJapan
The sequel to the first Etrian Mystery Dungeon brings with it more original music and arrangements of previous Etrian Odyssey games by Yuzo Koshiro, as well as arrangements by Takeshi Yanagawa, Nijuhachi Haneda, and Noriyuki Kamikura. The arrangements span the first four games in the series while the original music falls closely in line with the style of the dungeon crawler games themselves. How does this effort compare to the first one?
The album opens with “Those Who Have Been Invited,” the title screen music for the game, and it keeps in fashion with Etrian Odyssey IV and V‘s orchestral focus with its woodwinds and strings melody. Similarly, “The Curtain Rises on the Legend” has a typical militaristic sound present throughout the series and sports a nice melody as well. The overall town theme, “Lakeshore Village Allberwhe” is definitely done in the typical modern Etrian Odyssey fashion with its jazz fare, focusing on brass, and features an upbeat and jovial sound to it, but does border a bit on muzak. “Time of Peace is an arrangement of “Until the Journey Begins Anew” from Etrian Odyssey III and features strings/woodwinds doing the original justice with its beautiful soundscape. Another arrangement is “Hot Spring Hotel Komorebi,” a jazzy piano rendition of “A Brief Respite” from Etrian Odyssey IV. It is enjoyable and not as obtrusive as the more saxophone heavy town themes. Likewise, “And So, The Adventure Concludes” is the celebratory ending theme. Incorporating the melody of the title screen, it is a beautiful piece similar in line with the other ending themes in the more updated games in the series.
“Woodland Ruins” is reminiscent structurally to Etrian Odyssey IV‘s “Windy Plains.” It’s very airy and, unsurprisingly, woodwind focused with support from the piano and a strings backing. It’s an extremely beautiful piece that may share its name with the first dungeon in the second game, but I had trouble picking out any semblance of that melody. “Emerald Woodlands,” on the other hand, takes a very similar approach to the version in Etrian Odyssey Untold, stylistically, although there is a bit more focus on the harmonies which help to differentiate from that version. “Brilliant Cavern,” originally from the third game, takes a jazzy rock approach with the brass complementing the rock elements quite well. Another arrangement similar to its Etrian Odyssey Untold version is “The Millenial Azure Woods,” focusing on strings. It still manages to capture the same mysterious air of the original, but has a bit more jazz influence in the piano.
Another arrangement from the third game is “Deep Ocean Ritual Temple,” which features exotic vocal sampling, giving it a bit of a desert flair. There is also a lot of exotic percussion that helps to complement the strings melody quite nicely. The second game’s “Woodlands of Frozen Flowers” takes the same stylistic approach as its Etrian Odyssey Untold 2 counterpart. However, the bass guitar in this version helps to emulate the original’s FM synth while the main melody is focused on more acoustic guitar. It’s an exquisite rendition. The extra dungeon theme from the first game, “Claret Caverns,” as with the other themes, takes a similar approach to the Untold version. It manages to still be dark and haunting with the bass adding an ominous touch overall. The last dungeon theme from previous games is “Misty Ravine,” from Etrian Odyssey IV. The instrumentation here is certainly more Japanese inspired and does justice to the melody of the original.
There are a couple of original themes that act as dungeon themes as well. “Pulsing Flow of Antiquity” has a cinematic orchestral tone with a strong brass focus, tense electronic sounds, and plenty of percussion hits before progressing to a calmer piece with vocal samples and acoustic elements dominating the spotlight. The melody and overall tone has an inherent mystery to it that lends well to the progression and structure of the piece. “Creeping Decay” is also a mysterious tune featuring vocal chants and a piano that gives off an extremely unsettling sound, akin to that of a haunted carnival or amusement park. It’s one of my favorites on the soundtrack.
In addition to the dungeon theme, there are also some more action oriented tunes. Three tunes, all done in a style I’d attribute to Noriyuki Kamikura, come from unused tunes from the first three games in the series. The first, “Unseen Signs of the Enemy” is a synth rock tune that is a faithful recreation, but fails to stand out. Similarly, “Phantom Decisive Battle” is more rock focused but does feature synth and guitar solos. Once again, it’s a take that remains faithful to the original, but doesn’t really elevate it either. Lastly, “Bloodstained Sword” is more orchestral rock in focus with choral samples, but continues the trend of being merely a faithful recreation with nothing to put it in the spotlight. The other action oriented tune is an original piece, “Those of the Defiled Gods.” Orchestral in nature, it features haunting choral tones and a stunning piano line. I feel it would fit right into a game in the Castlevania series. It’s a beautiful, yet menacing, piece that stands as one of the highlights on the soundtrack.
In the end, the Etrian Mystery Dungeon 2 soundtrack doesn’t live up to its predecessor. While a lot of the arrangements are more original, some of the rehashed tunes are mere reworks of the arranged versions in the previous games, as opposed to some of the more unique takes that were found on the previous game. In addition, the majority of the action oriented pieces are nothing spectacular. Overall, I would say it fits with the game and its predecessor, but definitely lacks some of the same magic. Fans of the series will certainly find something to enjoy, but I wouldn’t going in expecting the same listening experience as much of the Etrian universe.
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Posted on February 13, 2018 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on February 13, 2018.