Game Music, Reviews

Welcome Back to the Stage of Destiny: Best of Soul Calibur Soundtrack (Review)

September 28, 2009 | | 1 Comment Share thison Facebook Welcome Back to the Stage of Destiny: Best of Soul Calibur Soundtrack (Review)on Twitter

I’ve always been a huge fan of the music from the Soul Calibur series despite never really getting into the game aside from the amazing arcade title, Soul Edge (Siegfried is my character, by the way). Well, with the recent release of Soul Calibur Broken Destiny for the PSP, Namco Bandai has surprised fans by including a little CD tucked away in the back sleeve of the “Art of Soul Calibur Broken Destiny” booklet that was included as a pre-order bonus for the game.

“Best of” is a big title, so you’re likely wondering what’s on it. Well, there are 25 tracks, 10 of which are from Broken Destiny, of the rest of which are distributed evenly with three tracks each from Soul Edge, Soul Calibur, Soul Calibur II, Soul Calibur III, and Soul Calibur IV. It’s really a great collection, and amazing how well all the music fits together despite the age and number of titles between them.

Find out the details in our review of the CD after the jump.

I’ll start by saying Broken Destiny is damn awesome for a PSP title. Although it gets most play time on this CD, since it is titled “Best of Soul Calibur,” I suppose I should start with the track list so you know what Namco Bandai, and more specifically the album’s producer and Sound Director Junichi Nakatsuru thinks are the best tracks from the series. The track list and game breakdown is as follows:

Soul Calibur Broken Destiny

01. Broken Destiny

02. Battle Cry

03. One’s Mark in History

04. Afterglow – A Silent Prayer

05. To the Wind

06. Destiny Will Tell

07. Innocent Vision

08. Halcyon Harbor

09. Midnight Mystique

10. Who’s Stepped On Her Tail?

Soul Edge

11. Dragon’s Call

12. Recollect Continent

13. The Gears of Madness

Soul Calibur

14. Duelists

15. In the Name of Father

16. Chasing Downstream

Soul Calibur II

17. Unwavering Resolve

18. If There Were Any Other Way

19. Hellfire

Soul Calibur III

20. Call of the Ancients

21. Sail Over the Storm

22. Endless Warfare

Soul Calibur IV

23. Phantasmagoria

24. Twilight Dwellers

25. Path of Destiny

The album opens with the title track, “Broken Destiny,” which is an epic, pounding orchestral track that I can’t believe doesn’t feature live orchestra. It sounds great, and it’s seriously some heavy stuff. From there, “Battle Cry” is rather mellow with its contemplative string melody, steady drum beat, and measured string stabs. It’s a nice contrast before the actual battle begins.

“One’s Mark in History” and “Destiny Will Tell” are two amazingly catchy tracks with strong melodies and titles that fit perfectly, as each progresses with purpose. The ascending string melody and brass counter point of the former and the deliberate string stabs and marching snare of the latter create really captivating sounds. “Afterglow – A Silent Prayer” sports a similarly epic flair, like most of the tracks throughout the series, but has a hint of desperation with its slower pace and distant and high-pitched string melody.

Wind seems to be a common theme throughout the series, as “Guided by Wind” is my favorite track from Soul Calibur II, and probably the series. Wind appears here in the form of “To the Wind,” another contemplative piece with some nice harps and chromatic bells to lend the track a nice airy sound. “Halcyon Harbor” similarly progresses at a measured pace, with a sweeping string melody that is absolutely lovely.

Interestingly, the next track, “Innocent Vision” opens with a distinctly Asian sound with woodwinds and ethnic percussion. It’s the only track here that sports this Eastern sound. Taking off in another direction, “Midnight Mystique” works in accordion and fast-paced flamenco-like percussion, layering these elements over the epic strings and brass that are more in line with the other tracks, creating a unique fusion that I enjoyed a lot. The last track, “Who’s Stepped On Her Tail?” is a comedic track with a Looney Toons-esque vibe, complete with laugh-like string embellishments and lots of timpani. Interesting track to say the least! Wonder how this fits into the game.

Well, that’s it from Broken Destiny. Great stuff. Moving on, I’ll briefly glaze over the tracks from each of the classic Soul series titles. The music from Soul Edge still sounds surprisingly good in terms of sound quality. The melody in “Dragon’s Call” rings out across the land with a sense of longing. The notes are drawn out, and the mood is overly positive, recalling an image of a simpler time in the series. “Recollect Continent” is a powerful track with lots of crash cymbals and lots of stabs that eventually give way to an amazing melody. “The Gears of Madness,” on the other hand, doesn’t really meet the “best of” mark in my book, and the title keeps making me think Castlevania.

The Soul Calibur contributions sport the most dated sound of the set. “In the Name of Father” is a particularly amazing piece of music with its determined sound. I love the choral pads that come in half way through along with a beautiful descending melody that really scream “destiny!” The Soul Calibur II tracks unfortunately don’t include “Guided by Wind,” but “Hellfire” has always been another favorite of mine with its dark organs and choral pads that eventually give way to these lightning fast string lines that are absolutely amazing. “If There Were Any Other Way” is also interesting in that it works in electric guitars, although they stay rather subdued throughout.

Soul Calibur III opens with more ethnic goodness in “Call of the Ancients.” It sounds like some stereotypical desert-esque stuff, but it’s cool. “Sail Over The Storm” is another one that gets your blood pumping with its skipping pace, intense strings, and powerful percussion. There are also brief interludes of beauty. I guess sailing is quite nice, but the storm is always lurking nearby!

Finally, Soul Calibur IV. “Phantasmagoria” and “Path of Destiny” both feature our friends over at the Eminence Symphony Orchestra, which is noted here in the generous credit list, which lists each track by composer as well. “Phantasmagoria” is a bit slower and more sorrowful than the others, while “Path of Destiny” is a 6-minute plus epic, brimming with epic happiness. It’s super upbeat, which is a change of pace for this album and for the series, but of course it sounds beautiful, especially given that it’s live.

Well, I’m sure there will be a lot of debate as to whether this really is the “Best of Soul Calibur,” but it’s still a nice gesture from Namco Bandai to put this CD out there with not only music from Broken Destiny, but the rest of the series as well. I think the new material is awesome, and if you’re a fan of the music of the Soul series, you should definitely try to hunt down this art book. It’s also great that Namco Bandai was so generous with the credits, listing the individual composers and the tracks that the Eminence Symphony Orchestra worked on. The art book itself is quite nice, and features images of all 28 characters from the game, including God of War’s Kratos, which is a nice bonus. I suggest picking this one up if you see it.

Are you a fan of the music from the Soul Calibur series? Do you have your own picks for the “Best Of” the Soul Calibur series?

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