Front Mission Original Sound Version
Front Mission Original Sound Version
February 25, 1995
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Back in 1995, Square partnered with G-Craft in order to create a futuristic strategy-RPG for the Super Nintendo. Barely a year after composing for Live A Live, Yoko Shimomura returns, but she is accompanied by a newcomer that will soon make herself known to the world, Noriko Matsueda. Both composers worked together on a very tight schedule, but, in the end, both women managed to create one of the most interesting Super Nintendo scores: Front Mission.
One thing to notice is that both composers have their own unique approach at composing. Shimomura had handled most of the battle themes, which were full of intensity and power. A great example is the enjoyable “Take the Offensive,” which starts off similar to Live A Live‘s opening theme. This theme is just as epic, as heroic as they get. One of the faster-paced themes is “Manifold Irons,” which has ‘panic’ written all over it; this was used during enemy movement sequences during the first real battle, and it was fitting, as I was a bit nervous about losing on my first try into this game. The battle theme during your team’s turn, “Holic Shot,” comes armed with drums and trumpets, representing a huge conflict between Wanzers. “Hard Drag,” which is used during the enemy’s turn, is basic techno, but it still manages to get the point across that you need to watch yourself or you’ll end up messing up.
Shimomura has a few more aces up her sleeve, such as the instrumental “Arena,” which gets you pumped up before you choose to practice against a fellow fighter. “Win Back,” the first mission victory theme, is short and simple, but it makes the player feel the satisfaction of victory really well. “Martial Ecologist” starts off with a rapid drumroll, then trumpets, drums, and a bit of synth thrown in for good measure. It makes it one of the more interesting battle themes. Shimomura’s staple organ touch makes an appearance in the gloomy and gripping “Destructive Logic.” The piece couldn’t be any better as you’re fighting against the ultimate evil, probably a political mastermind behind the entire mess, and it must be one heck of a wanzer to deserve such an awesome theme.
Matsueda chose a more modern, jazzy approach with her music. The most obvious example of this is “Shop” — it is mind-numbingly simple yet so catchy. It just gets you in the mood to lay back and take your time to choose your parts and items for your wanzers. It only gets better with “Bar,” a wonderful lounge jazz piece like no other. Right here, Matsueda shows off her mastery of using a piano just right. More piano goodness is found in “Natalie” — it shows off the sweet side of the character, yet it carries hope into the piece as if she is encouraging her companions to hold on a little longer and they will succeed in overthrowing the mastermind behind a lot of chaos.
Matsueda’s crowning achievements, however, are the two ending themes, being “Within Living Memory…” and “Next Resolution.” “Within Living Memory…” is a wonderful arrangement of “Kalen,” the theme of a tragic character. It starts off with wind SFX, then synth choirs come into play. It is almost depressing as you recall a certain tragic event, yet Matsueda turns the tide and makes it one of the most epic ending themes ever created. “Next Resolution” wraps it all up as you’ve managed to end this war between two governments, very similar to her future Bahamut Lagoon score. With these two themes, I think that Matsueda was the most talented of both despite the fact that she handled the less epic tracks.
Overall, this soundtrack is an impressive introduction to the Front Mission series. Yoko Shimomura and Noriko Matsueda gave Front Mission a fitting sound while channeling the melodic magic of Square’s RPG soundtracks. It isn’t quite as dramatic or refined as subsequent titles, but it’s still worthwhile.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Luc Nadeau. Last modified on August 1, 2012.