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Biohazard 3 Last Escape Original Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

Biohazard 3 Last Escape Original Soundtrack Album Title: Biohazard 3 Last Escape Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Suleputer
Catalog No.: CPCA-1032/3
Release Date: September 22, 1999
Purchase: Buy at Game Music Online


Resident Evil 3 was psychologically a much darker game to Resident Evil 2. It featured gloomy settings, downtrodden protagonists, and unstoppable enemies before concluding with the nuclear downfall of Raccoon City. As a result, its soundtrack was written to be much more morose and barren than its relatively motivating predecessor. Masami Ueda returned to lead the effort, assisted by short-term Capcom employee Saori Maeda. Whereas the Biohazard 2 Original Soundtrack was a one disc best soundtrack, the Biohazard 3 Original Soundtrack is a two disc set documenting everything from the event, setting action, and bonus themes. How did the composers interpret the darker tone of the game? Was the extra material justified? Can this soundtrack really stand up next to its classic predecessor?


A sense of Raccoon City's fate is portrayed in several ways during the soundtrack. One feature is a stern militaristic rhythm on five repeated notes exposed in the reflective opening narrative "Her Determination" and the early event theme "The Great Novelist". It is an effective feature wherever it is used — whether as a brooding electronically distorted force ("Never Give Up the Escape", "Abrupt Gunfire"), a croaking continuous bass line ("Nicholai's Theme", "Valediction"), or a sporadic reference within an otherwise established theme. "The City of Ruin" is an especially evocative track for exploring Raccoon City's uptown; the dusky wails of ethnic woodwinds and chorus portrays the despair of Raccoon City's residents as the bass line testifies their doom. "The City Without Hope" is also important in precluding the destruction of Raccoon City with its cold barren treble and looming aggressive bass. Nonetheless, although the city pieces are effective in context, only "The City of Ruin" and the opening anthem "The Beginning Of Nightmare" are particularly memorable. The nostalgia inspired by the early appearances of two police station themes from Resident Evil 2 might also be bittersweet — providing an indication of the lack of exuberant original pieces in Resident Evil 3.

There is still a bit more novelty within the score. Opening Disc Two on the main soundtrack release, "The Clock Tower" is a refreshing symbol of the departure from the city streets with its novel and perplexing percussive sounds. However, the recurrence of familiar instrumentation and motifs on "Don't Lose Courage" and "No Rest For the Wicked" affirms that the journey is far from over. "The Hospital" and "The Park" features a mixture of new and old elements as well while reaffirming that Ueda really knows how to produce atmospheric stylistic fusions. The final destination, "The Disused Plant", is represented by a surprisingly disappointing track; the minimalist construction of prepared piano, groaning suspensions, and industrial noise creates a certain amount of atmosphere, but the theme simply lacks the sense of direction that made Resident Evil 2's industrial tracks so fascinating. Nevertheless, a decent climax is provided with a series of event themes and action tracks. Especially exciting are Resident Evil 3's trademark final anthems — "Missile Approaching" and "Emergency Level D". These accelerate the pace of the soundtrack with electronic beats and commanding percussion while motivating players with their powerful melodies. The latter is just fantastic.

For the most part, the action themes on this soundtrack are a varied bunch. One of the primary ways of conveying action is using electronic beats. This can be effective supporting the orchestra in cinematic tension tracks such as "Hero Time" and "Minutes Before Treatment", but they usually sound too thin and vapid when representing the heat of the action. The main villain, the deranged mutated creature Nemesis, is portrayed by a combination of pulsating beats and atonal string and brass phrases. While the theme gives a sense of his looming presence and writhing tentacles, something about the combination seems too quirky and silly to evoke fear. Perhaps a bigger problem is the fact that the theme loops after 20 seconds and receives numerous reprises throughout the soundtrack. "Unstoppable Nemesis" is a pretty interesting variation, however, snce it shares elements of Resident Evil 2's antagonist theme perhaps to portray their common origins. Aside the pulsating themes, there are the once again jarring and repetitive hurry themes like "Cold Sweat" or "Zombies Trespassing". There are also a few interesting tracks build on distorted orchestral elements like "Watch Your Back" and "The Grave Digger" too.

There are a range of more emotional themes on the soundtrack to tell Jill's story. Simple piano themes like "Option Screen" set the desperate mood nicely; even the traditionally comforting save room theme "Free From Fear" is filled with melancholy this time. Nevertheless, a warm synth jazz influence enlightens tracks like "Meeting Brad" and "Carlos' Theme" — likely representing the comfort Jill derives from companionship. There are a few lighter tracks like "Well Dressed Up", "Quick and Fast Relief", and "Escape to Ecstasy" that add further interruptions to the score, however. There are, of course, numerous event themes and one-time themes on the score too. They all offer an acceptable accompaniment to the game; relatively few offer much melodically or stylistically to the score and often serve as plain or brief underscore in the game. However, some themes such as "The Great Novelist", "Complete Rest", and "The Great Novelist" provide a emotional draw. The sole ending theme is written in the style of the ballad but features a piano rather than a vocal lead. It is very derivative and lacks in the melodic department — once again far weaker than Resident Evil 2 equivalents.

There were actually several versions of the Resident Evil 3 soundtrack released. The Biohazard 3 Original Soundtrack was the Japanese release of the soundtrack. Ideal for completists, it features all 86 tracks of the soundtrack spread across two discs. However, there are many short cinematic tracks on the release that compound the tiresome effect of the core material. A limited edition version was also available for an extra price, though most of the bonuses were gimmicks — a black background cover, a linen bag to enclose the soundtrack, and even a Nemesis T-shirt! The soundtrack was also printed in Germany and America with new covers and translated liner notes, although the music was the same as the two disc soundtrack. Only the box set version of the soundtrack featured a best collection of tracks analogous to the Biohazard 2 Original Soundtrack. It features 42 tracks across one disc and excludes the majority of the filler tracks. A few decent tracks from the main release, such as "The Great Novelist", "Cold Hearted Soldier", "Complete Rest", and "Don't Lose Courage", are absent. Still, this listen will be sufficient and enjoyable for most listeners prepared to pay the cash to get the rest of the box set too.


The Resident Evil 3 soundtrack is certainly a good game accompaniment. It captures the gloom, desperation, and menace of Raccoon City's human and zombie residents while asserting a sense of the city's martial fate. When listened to as a two disc stand-alone set, however, it's easy to feel frustrated with the consistent soundscapes, hopeless atmosphere, and lack of thematic material. Even the twinges of jazz, electronic, and urban influences aren't enough to make the album more engaging. There are definite highlights of the soundtrack, but the large amount of filler in each section of the soundtrack is disruptive and the collective ordeal can be even more exhaustive. Masami Ueda and Saori Maeda did well to underscore the game throughout this soundtrack. However, they created a functionally excellent in-game soundtrack and an emotionally affecting stand-alone album, not a classic or must-have score. The two disc score is only recommended to big fans of the game's music whereas other listeners would be better advised to check out the one disc soundtrack in the series' audio box set.

Overall Score: 7/10