Vagrant Story Original Soundtrack
Vagrant Story Original Soundtrack
DigiCube (1st Edition); Square Enix (2nd Edition)
March 8, 2000; March 24, 2006
Buy Used Copy
Hitoshi Sakimoto — one of the biggest names in VGM history — is chosen to write music for a very dark game, none other than Vagrant Story. Sakimoto is mostly recognised for his previous works on the Ogre Battle series (with Masaharu Iwata and Hayato Matsuo) and the breathtaking Final Fantasy Tactics (with Masaharu Iwata). However, Sakimoto chose to go solo in Vagrant Story and the results are equally breathtaking. Sakimoto is also reputed to be well-trained in a classical-orchestral style that probably even Koichi Sugiyama of Dragon Quest fame would envy him for. Furthermore, all of his works so far prove this reputation to be true. That’s enough about the genius, now on to the music.
Disc One starts with “Opening Movie.” Even at the very start, a wide assortment of instruments are used, such as a violins, ‘cellos, trumpets, bells, and some well placed percussion instruments. “Climax of the Graylands Incident” is the very epic track played in the opening scene. It starts off slowly, but then builds up into an orchestral masterpiece. This was the track that got me hooked on the Original Soundtrack. One of the early eerie tracks is “Closed Leá Monde.” It starts off with some eerie chorus-like chants, then the drums and trumpets make their way, accompanied by a violin and harp. Later on, the drums fall quiet and let the trumpets and harp take the lead role, till the violin and voices suddenly clash at the end.
“Minotaur,” being the first boss track, starts off with violins and trumpets backed up by ‘cellos and percussion. After a while, the ‘cellos fall quietly while the trumpets and drums take the lead and the percussion ensues, till the track cycles for another round. “Reminiscence” is one of the tracks that isn’t dark, but rather light, happy, and beautiful. “Catacombs” is one of the better ambient tracks — it’s gripping and very eerie. With it’s slow rhythm, it sounds more like something you’d hear in a Resident Evil game. “Dullahan” is the second boss theme in the set, but, unlike “Minotaur,” it relies mainly on percussion and the harp to bring in the sense of danger, which is fitting while fighting the headless knight.
“A False Memory” starts off with weird chants, then we get an eerie melody backed up by bells. Later on, a beautiful melodic interlude takes place, which sounds a lot quieter compared to the very fearful melody before it. Gradually, however, drums and percussion make their way back into the theme, clashing every now and then, and the harp reintroduces itself, followed by those eerie chants. Very scary. “Sanctum” is a brillant choral piece and it hints mystery and uncertainty all the way through. “Golem” stands out from the other boss themes, as it sounds out of place due to it electronic sounds. However, soon the percussion take its place and it becomes yet another winner boss track. “Abandoned Mines Level 1” definitely sounds foreboding thanks to the ‘Ahhs’ heard from the voices. The drums and percussion soon take a more prominent role, which creates an even more foreboding atmosphere before the voices come in again.
“Crimson Blades” starts off with a violin, then the trumpets and horns lead the way, until the percussion and strings continue to the end of the track. It all sounds quite sinister. “Wyvern” is one of the more slower boss tracks, all done with trumpets and horns, which represent the massive Grand Dragon all too well. “Snowfly Forest” sounds quite light-hearted yet somewhat mysterious with it’s violin and harp use. It’s also one of the more beautiful tracks on the Original Soundtrack. “Brainwashing” sounds like something out of a movie score. I can imagine Sydney taking his poor victims and filling them with dark thoughts as this music plays. Very good. “Rosencrantz” sounds very eerie, as it starts off slowly, then builds up with the percussions and trumpets. Halfway through, we hear something like a haunting wind that flows by. It’s very well-executed. That’s pretty much it for Disc One.
In my opinion, Disc Two had some filler tracks, so I’ll only comment about the ones I enjoyed, starting with “Abandoned Mines Level 2.” This track sounds very good, as it starts off with a chorus, followed by percussion and harp, and then chants are added. “Iron Crab” starts off with a slow rhythm, then the percussions, drums and trumpets all join in to add an element of danger to the music. I especially like the part in which a drumbeat is rapidly played by the end of the loop; very interesting.
“Dark Element” is yet another boss theme. Some evil chants are introduced as they get louder and louder, then a bit of drum and percussions are introduced, followed by more eerie chants. “Ogre” starts off with a violin and percussions, then the drumbeat creeps in as the violin still gives off the sinister feel to the music, and a bit of trumpet is present before the track repeats. “Grand Cathedral” starts off with a lot of percussions and keeps the infectious beat till the end, not more comes to mind with this track, but I like it.
“Ifreet” is big badass of the boss tracks, it’s simply packed with power, the violin and drums blend in so perfectly as it progresses then the trumpets and violins take the center role. It’s very epic, it’s the very best out of Sakimoto. (IMHO) “Fanfare” is equally awesome, the loud trumpets give in to the lovely harp solo at the end. “Truth” is simply mysterious but has a small hint of evil into it, I cannot describe it more than that, but it is very beautiful.
“Deformed Person” is the final boss theme, it’s quite invigorating for a finall boss theme, but still, it’s not quite up to par to “Ultima The Nice Body” and “Ultema The Perfect Body!” from Final Fantasy Tactics, yet, it still finds a place among the other winner Final Boss Tracks of its time. “Staff Roll” is the lovely ending theme, and if you enjoyed FFT Ending, you’ll go nuts about this one; a lovely 7 minute orchestral piece of beauty and originality.
Well, that’s pretty much it. Now comes the question “Should you buy it?” Well… If you’re a fan of the game and love Sakimoto’s works, the answer is yes. If not, you might not enjoy the more ambient dungeon tracks of the set. This soundtrack is regarded as a masterpiece by many and is certainly one of Sakimoto’s most progressive works.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on August 1, 2012 by Luc Nadeau. Last modified on January 16, 2016.