Sengoku Basara X Original Soundtrack
Sengoku Basara X Original Soundtrack
June 25, 2008
Buy at CDJapan
Released in arcades in 2008, Sengoku Basara X is a fighting game based on the Sengoku Basara universe, developed by Guilty Gear’s Arc System Works. Being a spin-off of the franchise, most of the tracks on the Sengoku Basara X Original Soundtrack are arranged versions of older tracks from the series, handled by the mysterious team of T’s Music. How does the soundtrack fare, both compared to the originals and in its own right?
The album opens with the synth heavy “My Own Path,” one of the few original pieces on the soundtrack. Laidback and calming, this track doesn’t try to do much, and serves as a rather weak opening. The rest of the original tracks on the soundtrack tend to be brief jingles and cinematic cues that suffice in context, but are absolutely not worthy of stand-alone listening. The ending theme “For My Longstanding Desires” is at least an extended track and is a rather soothing listen. However, it is relatively disappointing compared to the main scores in the series, due to its lack of a standout melody.
The meat of the soundtrack is the dozen of remixes, which begin with an interpretation fo Suriagehara’s “Joy Ride”. Whereas the original was a jazz fusion, this track is a no frills heavy rock arrangement with extravagant lead guitars and blistering rhythm parts. With stylings closer to Guilty Gear than Sengoku Basara, it certainly fits the fighting gameplay of this spinoff well. However, the stylings are too generic to be particularly remarkable here and the floundering melody also disappoints. It’s certainly nice to listen to, but it doesn’t achieve excellence. With a few exceptions, these features are true for the other remixes on the album, with a focus on straight rock stylings, with the occasional koto or shakuhachi thrown in here and there.
In addition to lack of variety, the remixes of Sengoku Basara X fall down on a number of levels. The interpretations of “Determination of the Right Eye”, “Motochika Chosokabe’s Theme”, and “Hanbei Takenaka’s Theme” do have their melodic quirks and are sufficient shifts from the originals to be of interest. However, only the latter is sufficiently developed and convincingly stylised to make the most of the original melodies. “Tadakatsu Honda’s Theme Cross Ver.” is a rather confusing mix of percussion and a melody that takes half a minute to start, only to arrive at a disappointing conclusion. The focus on sampled instruments rather than band performances ensure tracks like these are a step down from more exuberant rock fighting scores out there. A further disappointment is “Spread Militarism Over the Whole Land Cross Ver.”, which is rather flat and fails to develop into an interesting arrangement.
There is a silver lining to the album: the contributions of Rei Kondoh, while few in number, are a step or two above the rest. His contributions generally have a bit more of an Asian influence, with widespread shakuhachi usage. “Ueda Battle Cross Ver.” lends its uniqueness almost entirely to the aforementioned instrument, though the melody reaches a welcome climax as well. In general, Kondoh’s original melodies are a good deal more refined and developed than his counterparts of T’s Music, and this shows in many of his arrangements. “The Battle of Itsukushima Cross Ver.” sounds eerily similar to some of his work on Okami, with an electric guitar added in, whereas Hideyoshi Toyotomi’s Theme Cross Ver.” is a bit downcast, demonstrating his ability to portray this mood without getting terribly tedious. Another welcome deviation from the norm, the smooth beats and soft piano in “Bishamonten Cross Ver.” demonstrate a whole other side of the composer.
This soundtrack is very short, even before considering its divided quality. Rei Kondoh does not disappoint in the slightest, but he composed less than half of the meatier tracks on a soundtrack also awash in jingles and cues of various natures. There’s nothing wrong with the rest of the tracks per se, but they’re simply uninteresting on every level. The original melodies are simply not strong enough and the arrangements not rich enough to be as impressive as other recent fighting crossover scores, such as for Castlevania, Final Fantasy, and Tales. This is a good album to listen to while performing some menial task, but there’s little depth to be found.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Marc Friedman. Last modified on August 1, 2012.