Megami Tensei Gaiden -Last Bible III- Soundtrack
Megami Tensei Gaiden -Last Bible III- Soundtrack
October 5, 2011
Buy at Sweep Records
The Last Bible III soundtrack is a release of the Game Music Discovery series released by SuperSweep. The aim of this Discovery series is to publish game music for games that, for the most part, did not see soundtrack releases when the games were released. Composed by Hiroyuki Yanada, it features two discs of music, all of which are present music in its original format as well as a few bonus full version tracks. How does the third game in the Last Bible series compare to the former games in the series, given its more varied soundscapes as a result of being for the Super Nintendo system?
The album opens, fittingly, with “Opening”. This track that starts off with wind effects and footsteps walking in the snow, before moving into a rustic, orchestral theme that seems to capture that “adventurous, new journey” sound. It has a nice atmosphere to it, but doesn’t have a particularly strong melody, like many RPG opening themes of the time.
There are a variety of town related themes on the album. “Hometown” features a rustic atmosphere with a strong woodwind melody that gives off a very relaxing, spaghetti western/jazz vibe. Similarly, “Village” features a strong woodwind and acoustic guitar focus, offering a very relaxing, calm atmosphere. “Brantika” and “Sodom” both feature mysterious, ethereal atmospheres, with the latter featuring some neat bass guitar, but both do come off a bit unengaging melodically. “Megalopolis” is a fun, jovial piece that gives off an adventurous, explorative atmosphere that fits for a big city environment. In contrast, “Mochowa” gives off a a very holy atmosphere is given off, featuring synth choral and organ work. It isn’t extremely engaging though in terms of its melody, which is a bit melancholy.
“Battle Arena” is very tribal in terms of atmosphere. The melody is a bit mysterious and works nicely with the pounding percussion, but it’s not entirely engaging though. The inclusion of cheering sound effects throughout is also a bit of a detriment to the track. Lastly, “Devil City Usher” has a bit of a jazz atmosphere with its catchy rhythms, groovy bass guitar work, and jazz flute offerings. The harmonica melody gives off a bit of a western vibe. Overall, it’s one of the more successful town themes.
As with past soundtracks in the series, there are a few overworld themes as well. The first, “Field I,” is a solemn, relaxing tune with a strong woodwind and acoustic guitar focus, giving it a bit of a wild western sound. It’s very unexpected for an overworld theme. On the other hand, “Field II” is a bit more heroic and typical of a world map theme. The bass guitar rhythm is very entertaining and the brass tones give off that wonderful adventurous vibe. “Lake I” is a mysterious, ethereal theme that really doesn’t do much melodically and isn’t very engaging. Fortunately, “Lake II” is a bit more engaging, due to its focus on melody. It also features a mysterious and ethereal tone and the woodwinds fit well with the watery setting.
As with any RPG, there are dungeons to explore! “Bullton Tower” features a mysterious, jazzy atmosphere featuring bass guitar grooves, ethereal synthesizer, and woodwinds, while “Ekinm Tower” features a mysterious atmosphere with crystalline synth and some odd brass accents and some distortion. It’s not very engaging melodically or pleasing to listen to, as the everpresent synth overstays its welcome. “Felest Tower,” in my opinion, is one of the best themes on the album. It features a mysterious melody with a bit of a sinister undertone and the synth melodies really manage to engage the listener!
“Val Ship” is a very engaging, mysterious theme featuring some nice bass grooves, some great strings work, and a wonderful synthesizer melody while “Shark Ship” is an interesting theme that has a very jazzy/new age feel to it. There is a bit of a tropical vibe to it, with the steel drum samples and the brass, but the accompaniment has a very uplifting atmosphere. Lastly, “Devil Forest” is a very mysterious theme that with a very electronic atmosphere. I really like the bass grooves, the percussion rhythms, and the crystalline accompaniment. The woodwind melody is a bit high pitched but it really works with the piece as it cuts through the deep accompaniment provided.
The battle themes in the first two Last Bible games were highlights, but unfortunately, due to the expanded soundscapes, some of the battle themes end up being a bit unsatisfying here. “Battle I” has a tense opening before moving into some progressive rock that both satisfies and misses. The focus on the woodwind in the A section does not really work for a battle theme, but the B section, which focuses more on the tense tones of the opening really manages to save the track. “Battle II” is a very jovial battle theme that has an ethnic influence. While the A section focuses on some playful, tropical inspired soundscapes, the B section definitely features more of an Egyptian type soundscape, but I don’t think the two work together, nor do either sections sound fitting for battle. “Battle III” features a very mysterious atmosphere with some deep bass grooves and some electronic work, both as accompaniment and as a melody. The B section does manage to sound a bit more battle like, but the majority of the track does not. Aside from this, it still is a strong composition.
One of the more successful battle themes is “Battle IV,” which focuses on tribal percussion, some progressive rock work, especially in the bass guitar and melody. It doesn’t sound super intense, but that battle atmosphere is definitely present. “Battle V” is an arrangement of “Battle” from Last Bible II. Out of all the regular battle themes, this one is definitely the best. It features a strong melody and the progressive rock focus is retained. If only all the battle themes on the album were of this style, they’d be more successful. “Battle with Alec” is a quirky battle theme, compared to the others, but is also one of the best on the album as well. The sinister undertones and industrial beats really manage to make this track succeed, despite the lack of focus on a melody, like many of the other battle themes.
“Final Battle,” compared to the final battle themes from previous entries in the series, is definitely weak. Rather than focus on intense, progressive rock, the focus is shifted to more relaxed, chilled music with plenty of bass grooves and jazzy keyboard work. While not a bad composition, by any means, I think it fails to offer that intense atmosphere usually required for the final showdown. There are a few ending themes as well. “Ending A” is an ethereal, mysterious theme that serves to set up “Ending B,” with its heroic, victorious sound, while “Ending B” is a calming, triumphant soundscape that features a strong focus on woodwinds with some synthesizer harmonies. It really captures the atmosphere present in some of the more rustic pieces. Lastly, “Staff Credit” is an upbeat track with a strong focus on melody. It has a bit of a jazz/pop atmosphere to it, reminiscent of older eras of music. The end of the track is a music box rendition of this theme.
In the end, I think that the transition from the Gameboy to the Super Nintendo, while providing a plethora of styles, really muddled the overall sound of the Last Bible series. Many of the tracks are more experimental, some more successful than others in this regard, but don’t always fit the styles originating in the Gameboy prequels. The lush soundscapes, when they work, really provide much to the soundtrack’s enjoyment, but at the same time, the less developed tracks do bring the overall enjoyment down. While this is a well-presented soundtrack release, I’m not sure it was worth the wait.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on August 1, 2012.