Moonlight Destiny Original Soundtrack
Moonlight Destiny Original Soundtrack
March 27, 2003
Buy Used Copy
Developed by Season Software and published by Falcom, Moonlight Destiny is relatively obscure action RPG set in China. Luo Xiaoyin’s soundtrack complemented the game’s setting by focusing on traditional Japanese flutes, lutes, and percussion. He nevertheless intended to build a relatively well-rounded soundtrack too and therefore adopts some interesting oriental variations on well-established RPG formats. The Moonlight Destiny Original Soundtrack was a bonus that could be obtained by ordering the game from Falcom’s official site. Unfortunately, it’s quickly clear that, while the soundtrack is sufficient in the game, it doesn’t fare well as a stand-alone musical experience.
The album is introduced by the uplifting Chinese ballad “Love Relic”. Blending Yujing’s soothing vocals with soft traditional Chinese instrumentation, it is a lovely listen and sets the tone of the soundtrack nicely. Many of the instrumental themes on the soundtrack try to relax and inspire listeners with beautiful sounds, though very few succeed in being truly rounded compositions. While the initial soundscaping is effective, “Serenity” quickly loses interest by constantly repeating percussion figures and adding gloss on top. Other themes such as “Moonspring” attempt to create soft relaxing timbres, but are built on such amateurish and derivative features that they feel insincere. Flute solos in “The Sky and the Mountains” and “Hiding” rescue otherwise dull compositions and bring some much-needed humanity to the soundtrack. The use of the instrument is one of the saving graces of the album; while just a minute long flute solo, “Added Thought” is actually more poignant than most tracks on the soundtrack, although that doesn’t say much.
The major dungeon themes tend to be accompanied by slightly more dense music. For example, “Mountains Longing For Rain” is effective for the way it offers a hopeful trumpet melody against simple but dense string and percussion lines. “Small Path” takes a more Asian approach with its minimalistic combination of Chinese flutes, lutes, and percussion. Although it brings little novel to the soundtrack, “Return At Sunset” is another decent oriental twists on the well-established journeyman RPG theme. There are also a few themes to lighten the mood, though they’re not major highlights either. “Times of Joy” and “Fumiharu” both feature relatively engaging bamboo flute melodies, although the eccentric accompaniment will be a select taste. In contrast, “Playfulness” seems to be very stereotypical with its use of pentatonic progressions, while “Having Fun” is an uninspired theme based entirely on percussion. It’s ever clear that the soundtrack fits the game sufficiently, but really lacks out of context.
The ambient themes from the soundtrack also tend to be a mixed bag. When compared with the likes of Junya Nakano’s work, it’s clear that “Deceiving Shadow” is a very weak scene-setter; the backbone of the theme are some endlessly repeating xylophone notes and dabs of other percussion while other elements are used transiently and sparingly to never really offer any sense of direction or drama. “Nightmare” is a little better with its evocative flute wails and eerie backing tracks, although the sample use often feels indiscriminate. Moving towards the soundtrack, there are numerous darker themes that creatively hybridise elements, notably “Assassination”, “Lost Memories”, and “Mundane Thoughts”. The string of battle themes are also well done. “Decisive Battle” takes a minimalistic approach, yet is ultimately engaging with its desperate flute melodies and slow-building percussive backing. In contrast, “Violent Murder” and “Raging Murder” surprisingly homage Falcom’s pop and rock styles to punchy effect, while keeping the Chinese spirit alive.
The Moonlight Destiny does a good job enhancing the Chinese feel to the game and complementing a range of scenarios. However, it is a largely an uninspiring stand-alone effort. The use of Chinese instrumentation and styles feels very clichéd and functional throughout, so the soundtrack will not appeal to those who enjoy authentic Chinese music. Furthermore, there is an absence of melodic or emotional highlights due to the largely counterproductive minimalistic approach of the soundtrack. There are occasional moments of brilliance, such as the opening song, several flute-based instrumentals, and some haunting ambient themes. However, they are not really enough to redeem the soundtrack and most can safely skip it in favour of original albums or several better soundtracks.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.