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Crime Crackers 2 Original Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

Crime Crackers 2 Original Soundtrack Album Title: Crime Crackers 2 Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Ayers
Catalog No.: AYCM-596
Release Date: January 21, 1998
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Media.Vision made a sequel to their action RPG Crime Crackers in 1997, featuring a number of tweaks to make the game more accessible. Once again, Noriyuki Asakura returned to create the soundtrack, though was busy scoring the Rurouni Kenshin television series and video games at the same time. He created the soundtrack in largely the same spirit as the original, mixing together a whole bunch of instruments and styles into an upbeat and enjoyable soundtrack.


Compared with the original Crime Crackers, there is slight increase in the amount of music featured. However, there is concurrently a decrease in the level of the development and elaboration. This is fairly evident in initial tracks such as "Adventure" and "Strategy" that don't have the same multifaceted quality of equivalent themes from Crime Crackers. They don't stray far from their initial focus, in both cases quite catchy riffs. However, they are far from one-dimensional — the former incorporating incorporating a snazzy guitar solo, the latter entering a soft extended interlude. The music might not be quite as exuberant as last time, but it is both functional and enjoyable.

Once again, there is a tonne of diversity featured in the soundtrack. Listeners can expect everything from saxophone-led smooth jazz on "Straying - Nobody Saw Us", spooky ambient soundscaping on "Darkness - Hidden Truth", and hard bass-punctuated rock on "Yell - Clashing Squadron". While these features are integral for ensuring the tracks are effective in context, they are not the sole things they are defined by... Ever the master of fusions, Asakura once again peppers rock-focused tracks with brassy melodies or string interludes, and gets that live saxophone out in unexpected places on orchestral overtures. It all results in a much more entertaining stand-alone listen.

Like on the last soundtrack, the most fulfilling moments on the entire soundtrack are when Asakura brings his own lavish piano performances to the picture. "Ambition" is a particularly enjoyable recurring theme in the game, simultaneously creating a sense of excitement and danger with heroic brass melodies, hard drum beats, and, of course, those romantic piano decorations. "Ruin", on the other hand, is a stunning addition at the climax of the game. The orchestration is much thicker and darker here, while the piano interludess serve to magnify the intensity. The subtitle "it's unfinished, therefore beautiful" seems to sum this one up well.

Of all the more sentimental additions on the soundtrack, "Memory - These Hands Will Not Be Separated" is the biggest highlight. This is perhaps because it captures a sense of reflection of the preceding soundtrack. There is also a piano solo at the end of the soundtrack to represent unhealed pain. It is based on the opening vocal theme for the game, "Lady First", which is a little more multifaceted than the stereotypical equivalent on the preceding game. The other vocal track "City of Silver" is a fairly typical mellow ending theme, but it has a more modest vibe than its schmaltzy predecessor and features some pleasant instrumental sections too. Neither are obvious favourites, but both composer Asakura and vocalist Junko Iwao do a decent job.


There are surprisingly no clear developments or improvements between the soundtracks for the original Crime Crackers and its sequel. If anything, the Crime Crackers 2 soundtrack is a little watered-down and slightly more focused. Thankfully, the foundations of the original were so impressive both stylistically and technologically that a score written in its spirit is a welcome one. This album is almost as enjoyable as its predecessor.

Overall Score: 7/10