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Cyber Troopers Virtual-On Oratorio Tangram Official Sound Data :: Review by Chris

Cyber Troopers Virtual-On Oratorio Tangram Official Sound Data Album Title: Cyber Troopers Virtual-On Oratorio Tangram Official Sound Data
Record Label: Marvelous Entertainment
Catalog No.: MJCG-80016/7
Release Date: December 22, 1999
Purchase: Buy at eBay

Overview

Cyber Troopers Virtual-On: Oratorio Tangram is the lengthily titled second instalment of Sega's mecha fighting series. Its score by Kentaro Kobayashi built on the foundations of its predecessor to offer a wide range of light-hearted pop and rock themes, influenced simultaneously anime culture and the conventions of the mainstream J-Music industry. The score was released in several incarnations — a 'DNA Side' first volume, an 'RNA Side' second volume, and a two disc compilation — of which the latter is the most recommended item to pursue. Time for a closer look...

Body

The biggest change in Oratorio Tangram compared with the original Virtual-On is the volume of music. The soundtrack offers a whole 70 tracks this time, spanning two discs of music. The discs are labelled 'DNA Side' and 'RNA Side' respectively, thereby representing the foundations of molecular biology. Prior to the release of the double disc soundtrack, each disc was also separately released with some tweaks and omissions, though the full soundtrack offers better value-for-money. That said, not all the tracks in the game are worthwhile and, like its predecessor, there are a large number of short uninteresting tracks used for cinematic purposes or menu screens. A lot are also once again disrupted by use of robotic voice samples.

Despite the change of presentation, the music itself will have a familiar sound for those who have listened to the Cyber Troopers Virtual-On soundtrack. Kentaro Kobayashi retained a light technopop approach, used a similar dated sample library, and even reprised a number of themes. While "In the Blue Sky" isn't reprised directly, there are plenty of tracks with a similar jubilant tone, such as "Soldier Blue", "Movin' Melodies", and "High On Hope"; once again, Kobayashi shows a flair for creating memorable synth melodies and frivolous poppy soundscapes. He also introduces some novel tropical components to the soundtrack with themes such as "Coral Flanger", "Sunshine Generator", and "Ocean Whispers", all of which are superficially likeable and reminiscent of the type of music featured in Mario Kart.

Thankfully, there are a number of more dramatic tracks on the score for the game, particularly on the 'RNA Side'. The more ambient feel of Cyber Troopers Virtual-On's cinematic and action tracks have gone in favour of more direct tracks. These offerings range from thrashing rock tracks such as "Burning Inside" and "Earth Light" to electrifying trance themes such as "Free Radical" and "Zodiac Empathy" through to even a few climactic orchestral cues, namely "Amongfields of Crystal" and "Encodet Final". There is also an arrangement of the action theme, "Fade to Black", and the similarly styled original compositions, "Bloody Sorrow" and "Into the Crimson"; both are adorable for the way they blends the soundtrack's characteristic light-hearted lyricism with a heavier 80s-inspired rock texture.

Summary

Overall, the score for Cyber Troopers Virtual-On: Oratorio Tangram is bigger and better than its predecessor. Kentaro Kobayashi has built on the foundations of the previous soundtrack to offer numerous excellent stage themes, ranging from the intense to the frivolous, that collectively define a peppy, retro anime-influenced tone for the game. That said, this album is let down by its presentation and there are far too many short tracks and voice samples that detract from the experience, and really 20 tracks rather than 70 would have sufficed here. While the 'RNA Side' is slightly more diverse and dramatic experience than the 'DNA Side', those wanting a truly wholesome experience would be best listening to the full two disc soundtrack, rather than each or both of the separate disc releases.

Overall Score: 7/10