Megami Tensei: Megaten World / Goddess World
Megaten World / Goddess World
April 11, 1994
Buy Used Copy
Megaten World ~ Goddess World is an arranged album that features pieces taken from various early titles in the Megami Tensei series. It includes stylistically diverse music from Shin Megami Tensei, Shin Megami Tensei II, Last Bible, Last Bible II, and Majin Tensei. Arranger Hideyuki Tsunoda ensures that he stays true to the original melodies despite this diversity and keeps the gothic flavour of the series strong. From rockin’ melodies to Gothic organs, this album certainly has it all, but does it create a cohesive overall experiece?
Megaten World ~ Goddess World opens up with a brilliant pipe organ piece called “Heretic Mansion” from Shin Megami Tensei II. While relying only on the pipe organ, this piece still manages to impress. By changing the tempo and timbre of the organ, plenty of contrasts are created with sinister and celestial auras both created. It definitely gives off the feeling of heresy and being within a haunted manor. While this track is fairly simple, it isn’t a harbinger of what is to come on the album; it’s simply an impressive introduction to a very diverse album. “Cathedral” is an interesting composition. Instead of receiving something that describes its name, we are treated to the exact opposite. This track relies heavily on some nice percussion and electronic beats to really get a rhythm going. The electric guitar is used to add some development, and while it doesn’t really carry a melody, it is the closest thing this track has to one. The guitar riffs themselves aren’t particularly complicated, but they blend so well with the electronic bass line that the listener is sucked into the piece. By focusing mainly on rhythm rather than melody, this track creates a very different but welcome sound on the album.
“Ginza” is another of the best rock tracks on the album. The blend of electric guitar and synth sounds fantastic and both forces are used in an interesting way. The guitar plays the melody sporadically, between the keyboard parts, but is more suited for the rhythmic riffs used to accompany the synth sound. Of course, what electric guitar piece would be complete without a guitar solo? The solo in this piece, while short, is a very powerful and atmospheric one. This is definitely one of my favorites on the entire soundtrack. Tsukasa Masuko’s last theme to be arranged on the album is certainly the most touching of Tsunoda’s arrangements. In essence, “Ending” is a theme of two halves — a relaxing and moving first half, followed by a mesmeric and touching second half. Each section, of course, uses different instrumentation and it is their blend within and between the sections which really makes the track work. It’s funny how repetition can often be a good thing, just like in this case, where revisiting the same motif can add an emphasis to the overall meaning of the theme.
Moving to the Game Boy titles, “Last Bible” is quite an ear-opener. Utilizing many different sounds and harmonies, it blends some Japanese culture along with a bit of Chinese influence. The use of the Taiko drums gives this track an epic feel while introducing the Japanese flavor. The opening scalar bass motif in “Paro’s Rocky Mountain” is simply captivating. As for the rest of the track, it stays true to its roots by remaining charming and touching throughout. The main melody is played on panpipes and, as the theme develops, there is a greater ethnic feel created by various traditional percussive insrtruments and the pinnacle comes when strings heavily accentuate the melody. “Gaia” stands out amongst the others in that it is a fusion between acoustic music melodies and electronic beats. This is certainly an interesting blend that heightens all elements and the overall atmosphere of the track. That said, “Gaia” lies amongst the least developed themes on this album and hence perhaps isn’t as effective as the likes of “Ginza” or “Ending”.
“Noah’s Ark” is quite an interesting piece. It starts out, not surprisingly, with the soothing sound of waves crashing on a beach. Over these waves, a music box can be heard and gives the first hint of the main melody. Soon after, the track quickly hasten and becomes a very playful tune. It adopts the form of a calypso style and the instrumentation is a wonder; xylophones and drums give off the tropical feel, while the synth used makes for a very chirpy experience. “Together With the Force” features an interesting blend of instruments to create a laidback and relaxing theme too. Unlike most of the other themes on the album, it doesn’t really offer anything special, and simply remains just nice to listen to. The melody is the key part to the theme and has to sustain itself against the sterile harmony. Tsunoda does a great job making something out of nothing here, but there’s definitely something missing with respect to the development. It could have turned into something amazing if new instruments were added throughout, but instead it just remains on the same set of airy instruments.
Moving to the Majin Tensei section, “Devil Dance” features one of my favourite melodies on the album thanks to its peculiar development. The melody is initially played on high-pitched keyboard and, soon enough, an electric guitar is added in a powerful manner. From hereon, the theme becomes brilliant to listen to since everything just fits together perfectly. Taking on a heavy metal style, “Chaotic Law” is probably the most aggressive theme on the album. The development is fairly minimal and surprisingly it is carried mostly by the bass line. There is excessive use of guitars and an impacting drum beat to create a really powerful feel. Despite this, the track remains surprisingly slow, which in essence destroys the effect that Tsunoda was trying to create. “Frame Up Fragment” surely starts off promising with its ominous string use, but quickly falls apart as it enters a funk section. While this isn’t necessarily a horrible decision, I personally think that it hurts the track overall. Another note is that, as the track progresses, there is very little development and, for some strange reason, the loop section is oddly placed.
Moving to the closure, “Scene of Carnage” is quite an interesting blend of ideas. A dance beat creates an ominous aura, but manages to keep the musical ideas in place unlike its predecessor. Another noteworthy aspect of this track is the instrumentation. The most important addition to this piece is the electric guitar. It helps to add some contrast and development to the electronic beat provided. The melody itself is quite alluring and also manages to create some of the carnage. The album is led out effectively with a relaxing and light-hearted funk theme to lead out such a comprehensive arranged album. Much like the other pieces on the album, “Pallid Tears” is diverse in its instrumentation, and most of the development is down to the introduction of new instruments. This track can’t really be related to any track on the album since it’s so different. The development, the instrumentation, floating melodies, and funky rhythms are almost identical to something which Koshiro would produce. In terms of how well this track works at leading out the album, I’d say that it does a very good job, though it might not be the best theme here.
Megaten World ~ Goddess World is an extremely diverse album. Tracks ranging from pipe organ performances to dance beats to rock arrangements to multicultural references help to form an album that is quite a noteworthy experience. Although the tracks featured were composed by different Megami Tensei composers, Hideyuki Tsunoda manages to breathe some life into some of the less than stellar original pieces. It doesn’t form a particularly cohesive whole, but is still an interesting listen from start to finish. This album is recommended to anyone who is a fan of the series or those who are looking into exploring many types of musical styles on one album.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on January 19, 2016.