Mega Man Star Force 1 & 2 Original Soundtrack
Mega Man Star Force 1 & 2 Original Soundtrack
January 16, 2008
Buy at CDJapan
Known as Mega Man Shooting Star in Japan, the Mega Man Star Force 1 & 2 Original Soundtrack features soundtracks to the first two games in the series. Primarily composed by Yoshino Aoki, she is joined by Mitsuhiko Takano for the first game and Marika Suzuki for the second. How does this soundtrack fare overall?
The first half of the soundtrack features the music from Mega Man Star Force. “Star Force,” the main theme of the series, is a bubbly electronic theme with a fantastic melody, a great beat, and a particularly catchy B section. I also love the crystalline synth use. I think Yoshino Aoki did a fantastic job at creating an invigorating and enticing main theme. It’s also featured in a few other themes. “ROCKET SHOOTER,” for example, both integrates the main melody and certain harmonies during the original parts of the music. It’s a fantastic theme that really manages to impress. I really enjoy the accompanying “drum beats” in this one as well as the layering. “The Place You Must Return To…” has a bit of an R&B/jazz vibe going on. It’s quite a lovely theme and I really like how it mellows out the main theme by slowing the tempo and adding a variety of organic instruments, although clearly synthesized versions thereof, to give it a nice variety. As the theme progresses, a more electronic based version of the main theme is added, in the capacity of a bridge, and manages to add a bit of flair to the theme.
Moving to the core of the soundtrack, “Hometown” and “Homeroom” are both bubbly themes. The former has a nice beat and a bit of groove in the B section, but I don’t find the melody too engaging. It’s not a bad theme though. The latter, on the other hand, is much more enjoyable, especially in terms of melody. The beat employed is also very fun in nature. “Dream Island” mixes a nice electronic soundscape with a bit of an island vibe. It’s not the strongest of vibes, but you can still hear the influence. At the same time, the theme also carries a mysterious atmosphere with it. It’s a pretty decent theme in terms of creating soundscape, but the melody, to me, isn’t the best. “Space Station,” as one might expect, has a spacey feel to it, but mainly due to the accompaniment. The overall soundscape, to me, has some interesting effects, but comes on to brash. In particularly, the droning accompaniment at times is really overbearing and overpowers the more melodic sections.
“Wave World” is quite bubbly and, to me, gives off a vibe that one might be on a beach. I highly doubt “Wave World” in the game is a beach environment, but it’s at least nice for me to imagine. The futuristic soundscapes are nice and although I find some of the accompanying layers to be a bit offputting, the overall end product is rather pleasing, especially when it comes to the melody. “Wave Battle,” one of the battle themes for the game, focuses on a tense atmosphere, but at the sacrifice of an engaging melody. The accompanying elements to the soundtrack seem to overpower much of the melody line and although there are some interesting parts in the melody, the overall theme isn’t the greatest.
Although Yoshino Aoki is the lead composer for the game, she is joined by Mitsuhiko Takano for a few incidental themes. “Cyber World, although short, sports a nice beat and some interesting layering. The melody isn’t quite strong, but I do enjoy the atmosphere. “Studying!” is much better than “Cyber World.” The beats are pretty intricate, the industrial flair heard at times is refreshing, and the heroic atmosphere in the melody makes for a great tune.
Moving to some of the darker additions to the scoe, “Dust Crash” features a electronic/rock influence and harbors a ominous atmosphere at times. At the same time, there is also a hint of mystery heard in the soundscape. The melody is pretty strong as well, but I really like the beats the most. “Space!?” also features a futuristic and spacey soundscape. The melody is quite invigorating, but at the same time, some of the instruments used at various points throughout don’t really seem to fit with the accompaniment. It’s a decent theme, but one that I don’t revisit too often. “Last Battlefield” is an electronic theme that has a very futuristic sound. I really enjoy the harmony between the various layers and the extremely strong melody. The accompanying rhythm is also entertaining. It is one of Aoki’s strongest themes on the first soundtrack for sure. Lastly, “Last Battle “definitely features a more intense atmosphere than “Wave Battle” and I think this theme, on the other hand, is quite successful. The melody harbors that element of urgency, is pretty interesting, and the accompanying beats add to the atmosphere.
Similar to the first game, Yoshino Aoki is the lead composer for Mega Man Star Force 2 too, but rather than have Takano reprise his role, Aoki is joined by Marika Suzuki for a few themes. “Star Force (Ver. RR2),” the sequel’s version of Yoshino Aoki’s “Star Force” main theme, is arranged by Marika Suzuki. It is a more upbeat version and features some excellent accompanying harmonies. Overall, it’s hard to say which version I like more, but this one definitely manages to stand out from the original. “Wave Battle,” composed by Marika Suzuki, is also a big improvement over the “Wave Battle” from the first game. The melody is engaging, has a nice futuristic touch, features some heroic soundscapes, but still manages to feature a tense atmosphere overall.
Yoshino Aoki’s themes, on the other hand, aren’t as strong overall as her first score. “Roppondou Hills” is quite bouncy and happy in nature. I really like the beat and the tone of the synth in the melody line. It’s not Aoki’s strongest Mega Man contribution, but it’s still pretty decent. “Yaeba Resort” definitely has a Calypso vibe going on for it. Although electronic in nature, the melody is clearly inspired by a beach resort. The beat accompaniment is pretty fun and the melody is fairly decent. “Donburaa Lake” has a very carnival-like atmosphere to it, although at a much slower tempo. There is a definitely playfulness in the soundscape of this piece. The melody, on the other hand, manages to be one of the bigger drawbacks in this theme, although some of the instrument choices, like the accordion synth, may not have been the best decision.
Unfortunately, “Nansca Village,” while quiet upbeat, is entirely obnoxious, in my opinion. The melody is quite annoying to me, especially through the over reliance of the woodwinds to create this feeling of pep. It’s a shame that even the accompaniment seems marred by this. There isn’t a single thing I enjoy about this one, unfortunately. “Wave World,” compared to the one from the first soundtrack, is the weaker version. There are some nice electronic elements to go with the futuristic synth, but the melody isn’t nearly as engaging. The layering is nice and I do enjoy the beats though.
“Snowstorm” features a mysterious, yet action-oriented, melody. The melody itself is pretty strong and manages to make the theme what it is. Some of the accompaniment, unfortunately, seems to counter this effect, but on the whole, it’s still a decent theme. On the other hand, “Lakebed Search,” features a fantastic atmosphere. I love the melody of this one and the accompaniment, in particular the beats and the addition of some sound effects to simulate the sound of water dropping, really go well together. This is definitely one of the stronger themes on this soundtrack. “Patterns on Desolate Ground” is one of the themes that features a tense atmosphere. The accompaniment harbors a very sinister nature, but I don’t think it goes extremely well with the melodic instrumentation at times. For example, I really enjoy the synth sections, as they help to increase the sinister nature heard in the piece, but the woodwind synth tries to create a dark sound, but ultimately fails. “Bermuda Labyrinth” is quite mysterious and sinister in nature. It’s an extremely fitting theme for the nature of the Bermuda Triangle, presumably what this theme/labyrinth was inspired by. It doesn’t feature the most engaging melody, but the atmosphere is quite strong.
“Destroy the Requiem” features a melancholy, but at times mysterious and sinister, atmosphere. I really enjoy the use of woodwinds to convey this effect. The accompaniment also helps to reinforce this atmosphere, but also manages to give it a slight heroic touch. With “Face of God,” presumably the final battle theme for the game, Aoki succeeds once again. It’s an intense theme with some great accompanying beats, a sinister and engaging melody, and a fantastic sense of tension. “Road to Victory,” on the other hand, is quite upbeat, features some fantastic accompanying electronica, and a strong melody. It hints at “Star Force” at times, but never really goes into the theme. It’s definitely got a heroic sound to it though. Lastly, “Our Carved Memory,” is quite mellow in nature. It features some great beats, an awesome melody, and some nice layering as well. The woodwind choice for the original melody line is quite successful and mixed with the electronic based melody for the “Star Force” aspect of this theme, manages to create an exquisite soundscape. <
On the whole, this set of soundtracks is decent at best. Although there are some great themes, many of them are mediocre or downright boring. I much prefer the Mega Man Star Force 3 score, by Yoshino Aoki and Akari Kaida, but sadly that has not yet received a physical CD release. Yoshino Aoki does manage to craft her own atmosphere for the Mega Man series, sometimes succeeding, other times not, but I find her strength to be in more classical and exotic instrumentation rather than electronic instrumentation. It’s not a bad set if you are a fan of the series, but I didn’t find too much enjoyment out of it.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on August 1, 2012.