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Shining Force NEO Music Collection

[back cover]
Catalog Number: WM-0501
Released On: March 30, 2005
Composed By: Shiro Sagisu
Arranged By: Shiro Sagisu
Published By: Wave Master
Recorded At: tactmix
Format: 1 CD
Tracklist:

01 - Holy City Greensleeves
02 - Rakyle Fortress
03 - Kyantor Town
04 - Quinshinne, the City of Ice
05 - Santobanz Harbor
06 - Holy City Hyatt
07 - Holy Land of Lightning
08 - Holy Land of Light
09 - Forest Wandering
10 - Forest Wandering Battle
11 - Grassland
12 - Grassland Battle
13 - North Cave Battle
14 - Great Snow Field
15 - Great Snow Field Battle
16 - Cascade Fortress
17 - Permafrost
18 - Ruins of Oblivion
19 - Ruins of Oblivion Battle
20 - Dragon Shrine
21 - Dark Castle
22 - Dark Castle Battle
23 - Legion Invasion
24 - Hope
25 - Happiness
26 - Tension
27 - Sadness
28 - Fury
29 - Anxiety
30 - Let's Go!
31 - Reversal of Fortune
32 - Tactics
33 - Time Just For the Two of Them
34 - Love
35 - Crisis
36 - Reminiscence
37 - Warriors of the Force
38 - Respite
39 - Summoning
40 - The Masked Man
41 - Our World
42 - Max!
Total Time:
58'26"

I missed the "Shining Force" boat when I was a kid. When all the "underground" gamers were having a good time with their Sega Genesis in '93, I was playin' Secret of Mana and Legend of Zelda for Super Nintendo. I regret not having access to a Sega Genesis, or Sega Saturn, in my formative years. Shining Force, as a series, is one of the reasons I lament.

Today, the lamentation has reversed. The last few "Shining" games to be released in this new millenium have been met with criticism, loathing, and a general tone of disappointment. The most recent Shining game released (as of the time of this review's being written) is Shining Force Neo. People said the gameplay was mediocre, and the music was nothing to cheer about.

Yet, the composer is a somewhat recognizable name, at least to me: Shiro Sagisu, among other compositions, is also the composer for the 26-episode anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion. A classic anime with an equally classic soundtrack: who could resist such a composer? Not me.

That was my reason for purchasing the soundtrack. However, after listening through a few times, I had to admit that the music was not the sort of thing to be getting excited about. That's not to say it doesn't have its good moments: this fully-synthesized soundtrack contains some beautiful ambient tunes, a balanced use of interesting percussions (which I am finding to be more and more important), and one or two really memorable melodies (see "Warriors of the Force", which contains a melody similar to the opening theme of Nausicaä). "Our World", track 41, is the grandest and most epic song on the album; it does a good job bringing out the sound you want to hear, and then reprises with the same main melody found in track 37 (and a few other places on the album).

I have definitely sampled all of my favorite tracks from the soundtrack: in other words, there is a lot of bland filler music on this 42-track, 58-minute CD. It's an enjoyable listen, but I wasn't impressed very much at all. I'm sure the music works well with the game, but outside of the context of the game, who would want it? This may explain why the soundtrack is semi-promotional, available only through "Sega Direct", though CocoEbiz did have a few copies of it in stock.

Be sure to listen to all the samples (especially track 7, which features some of the best sounds one can use in videogame music). After that, if you see it for a cheap price, and you are still a devoted "Shining" fan, get it. Otherwise, don't waste your time or money.

Reviewed by: Patrick Gann



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