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Last Bible III Soundtrack

[back cover]
Catalog Number: SRIN-1077
Released On: October 5, 2011
Composed By: Hiroyuki Yanada
Arranged By: N/A
Published By: SuperSweep
Recorded At: N/A
Format: 2 CDs
Tracklist:

Disc One
01 - Opening
02 - Light
03 - Title
04 - Loading
05 - Name Register
06 - Underworld
07 - Music Box
08 - Birds Flying
09 - Event I
10 - Hometown
11 - Yonatan
12 - Relation
13 - Field I
14 - Before The Battle
15 - Battle I
16 - Victory
17 - Level Up
18 - Game Over
19 - Hill
20 - Brantika
21 - Dinner
22 - Jingle
23 - Pumpkin Pom
24 - Dance
25 - Bullton Tower
26 - Battle II
27 - Get Magic
28 - Excite
29 - Harry
30 - Bad Letter
31 - Resurrection
32 - Dragon Fang
33 - Event II
34 - Emergency
35 - Val Ship
36 - Battle III
37 - Senatus
38 - Banipal
39 - Red Owl
40 - Sadness
Total Time:
49'47"

Disc Two
01 - Megalopolis
02 - Synthetic Monsters
03 - Enemy Forces
04 - Ekinm Tower
05 - Lake I
06 - Shark Ship
07 - Mochowa
08 - Benshoha
09 - Song of Mina
10 - Lake II
11 - Gafi Service
12 - Battle Arena
13 - Village
14 - Flara Flower
15 - Escape
16 - Sodom
17 - Sky Wing
18 - Felest Tower
19 - R.I.P. Ciel
20 - Devil City Usher
21 - Devil Forest
22 - Battle IV
23 - Alec
24 - Field II
25 - Battle V
26 - Battle With Alec
27 - Final Battle
28 - Ending A
29 - Ending B
30 - Staff Credit
Bonus Track (FullVersion)
31 - Underworld
32 - Birds Flying
33 - Dance
34 - Sky Wing
35 - Ending A
Total Time:
68'50"

Taking the time-travel trip into the obscure reaches of the Megami Tensei franchise has been a great experience, and I owe it to SuperSweep for publishing these albums. The Game Boy soundtracks for Last Bible I (localized on GBC as "Revelations: The Demon Slayer") and II are some of my personal favorites. Now, we have Hiroyuki Yanada's score for Last Bible III, another Japan-only RPG, but this time for Super Nintendo. And a solid two discs' worth of music at that.

The change in sound font was something for me to adjust to after all that chiptune goodness. And, as an SNES RPG from 1995, I expected the sound quality to be pretty good. However, the sound font is a little on the weak/hackneyed side. These developers didn't have the sound programmers that Square had, that's for sure.

To make up for what I found to be a somewhat weak sound font, Yanada's compositions mimic and refine many of the things I love about 16-bit game music. Consider "Bullton Tower" from the first disc. A nice bossa nova syncopated beat (with all the appropriate percussion), a simple stop-and-go melody, and then a fantastic build for the B section with a pounding bass... reminds me of Chrono Trigger or Tenchi Sozo. In other words, high quality.

Before anyone accuses me of cherry-picking, let me say that not all the tracks are fun to listen to on their own. In the context of the game, I'm sure a quirky track like "Yonatan" is perfect. But on its own, it's something I'd rather skip... particularly because that saxophone synth drives me nuts. And the battle tracks? There are a lot of them, and they're a mixed bag. I love some of them, others I happily skip.

Also, let me say that this is one of the first soundtracks I've heard that's "middle-loaded." Often a soundtrack will be frontloaded (best music up front), and some will be backloaded (wait til the end for the best). But I found the best stuff was right in the meat of the game, between the second half of disc one and the first half of disc two. That's not to say the beginning and end is bad, but some of the best is in the middle. Assuming the soundtrack is laid out in the traditional "order of appearance in-game" structure (and it would seem that is the case), Yanada-san wrote a very balanced score, one that builds a great sense of adventure in a dark and mysterious world.

A note about the "bonus tracks." I don't know why they even exist. You have these early cut-off versions of the same tracks earlier on the soundtrack, and then we get the "full version" (looped, full tune) at the end of the second disc. Why not just give the full version? The short/cut versions are worthless... they just cut off after 45 seconds.

Those among us who associate SMT with Shoji Meguro, I have to say: while he is a great composer, the idea of doing dance/jazz music with a game that has this weird semi-modern demonic setting (LB3 is actually 19th century, but most are "present day") goes back to Yanada, Masuko, and many others before Meguro was part of the Atlus team. And sure enough, soundtracks like this or Majin Tensei do more than serve as a mere history lesson. Amidst some RPG BGM fodder, you'll find a couple of real gems. If you can find a way to order from SuperSweep Records, I'd recommend picking this up before it becomes too hard to find. SMT fans do themselves a dis-service if they ignore this fun little side-series.

Reviewed by: Patrick Gann



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