Game Music

Soundtrack of the Month 09/2008: Breath of Fire III Original Sound Track

September 1, 2008 | | 4 Comments Share thison Facebook Soundtrack of the Month 09/2008: Breath of Fire III Original Sound Trackon Twitter

Let me start by saying I am completely in love with Akari Kaida. While she has been involved with titles such as Dino Crisis, Luminous Arc, Okami, and of course Breath of Fire III, we haven’t heard nearly enough from this amazing jazz composer. With Kaida teaming up once again with Breath of Fire III co-composer Yoshino Aoki on Luminous Arc 2 (due out later this year), I thought it was as good a time as any to revisit this memorable soundtrack.

Breath of Fire III features a lot of jazz. Most of it is upbeat, but some of it is down and moody. Some rock influences enter through the surprisngly catchy battle themes. There’s an epic opening theme, a J-pop vocal track during the credits, and even some arranged versions of some of the tracks tucked away on this album. The only complaint that I have is that the 1-disc soundtrack doesn’t house all the game’s awesome music!

So, let’s find out why this soundtrack deserves our soundtrack of the month pick for September after the jump.

About that epic opening track, appropriately titled “Opening.” It’s somewhat similar to Kikuta’s “Angel’s Fear” from Secret of Mana in style, but it’s not quite on the same scale, stopping at only 30 seconds. I would have loved to have seen what they could have made of it as a full-length track.

From here, the upbeat jazz comes in. “These Little Things” is a funky track with a groovy bassline and jumpin’ xylophone melody. “Casuality,” on the other hand, sports some electric guitar accents with an ascending xylophone melody that creates an image of a perfect sunny day. One of my favorite things about this score is that it’s not afraid to let the music be more than just background music. Brass, piano, and xylophone solos abound all over the place, almost showing off, which is absolutely great for people like you and me who appreciate the music outside of the gaming experience.

“Take it and Run” is a bit more mischievous with only hats for percussion, a sprase bassline, and an energetic brass melody. I have to take time to mention “Flight,” which enjoys a more cinematic arrangement at the end of the album. It’s a tense track with a piano that doubles up on octaves to create a rich bass sound. Interestingly enough, the melody from this track also made its way into Kaida’s score for Luminous Arc.

How about those battle themes? “Fight!” is a jazz fusion track with an upbeat melody alongside chugging guitars and bass, coming off surprisingly casual despite its purpose, which makes sense given it’s the regular battle track. “Fighting Man,” on the other hand, along with the accompanying remix at the tail end of the album, is an epic affair, complete with powerful orchestral hits and a foreboding arpeggio. This track plays during one of the most tense moments in the game, and really has a huge nostalgia factor. “Donden” is another special battle track that packs quite a punch, especially during the end of the track when all the instruments drop out of the mix except for the trailing strings section. Unfortunately, “Everyday Battle” (which is actually the boss music) is ruined by sound effects, and the last boss theme, which was equally awesome, is completely absent.

I’ve already rambled on about this score longer than I had hoped, so I’ll just mention a few more. “Eden” is a beautiful smooth jazz piece that also accompanies a pivotal moment in the game. The droning pads, sweet melody, and the soothing chirps and tweets of birds make it a unique listening experience. Playful in nature, “My Favorite Trick” makes use of organ, marimba, and slap bass, while “Neverending Game” features a boogie-woogie style. The final dungeon, “Castle in the Sky,” comes with a groovy bassline, a belltone melody, and ominous piano chords. Finally, “Pure Again” the vocal track that plays alongside the credits, features the voices of Kaida and Aoki themselves, taking on a jazzy J-pop style with string stabs and live electric guitars. The piece is actually somewhat melancholy despite it celebrating the end of the game.

I hope you’re interested in this album and take the time to search it out if you haven’t already heard it. It comes in a tidy cardboard digipak case, complete with extensive liner notes, credits in English, and a nifty sticker.  The artwork on the back of the album depicts the final castle in the sky off in the distance, and is a sight to behold. I can’t recommend this one enough.

Anyone of you as obsessed with Akari Kaida as I am? It would be nice to know which composer was responsible for the individual tracks on the album, but I think enjoying the game’s awesome score is what’s important.

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