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Gran Turismo 2 Original Game Soundtrack :: Review by Dave

Gran Turismo 2 Original Game Soundtrack Album Title: Gran Turismo 2 Original Game Soundtrack
Record Label: Village Records
Catalog No.: VRCH-5003 (1st Edition); VRCH-4005 (Reprint)
Release Date: March 23, 2000; February 7, 2001
Purchase: Buy at Play-Asia


Gran Turismo is a successful racing game franchise which has sold over 50 million games since its first entry in late 1997 on the PlayStation. Released in 1999, Gran Turismo 2 is the second game in the series, and features over three times as many cars as the original Gran Turismo game. In regard to the music from the game, though, one thing has stayed the same in that both series composers Masahiro Andoh and Isamu Ohira are present, alongside some popular artists. The Gran Turismo 2 Original Game Soundtrack features music wholly from Andoh, Ohira, and arranger Keiji Matsumoto, with the other in-game music published on the equally worthwhile Gran Turismo 2 Music at the Speed of Sound album.

With the music from Gran Turismo receiving praise mostly for Andoh's contributions, many of you may be interested to see if such musical success will also continue onto this album. The good news is that Andoh is as prevalent as ever, and Ohira has also picked up tremendously on his compositional skills. The result of this is an album which is both easy and enjoyable to listen to. Please read on as I review Andoh and Ohira's contributions to the album in turn.


Masahiro Andoh's contributions to the soundtrack start, and end, with variations of his infamous "Moon Over the Castle" theme from the Gran Turismo Original Game Soundtrack. The first rendition, "Moon Over the Castle (The Theme Of Gran Turismo 2)" is introduced with a quaint piano solo line. The main motif is played grandly and clearly on the ivories before synth strings are added and, ultimately, we are faced with the theme's familiar rock segment, which doesn't seem to have changed at all from the original. In regard to the other arrangement of the track on the album, "Moon Over the Castle (Type-R]" (which I can only assume stands for type-Reprehensible) is much the same as the original track, but is ultimately scarred by an awful synth brass introduction. It may be the worst arrangement of the theme in the series, but also note that "Moon Over the Castle (The Theme of Gran Turismo 2)" isn't the best arrangement either. We are blessed with the better arrangements later in the series!

The next track on the album in Andoh's segment is "Blue Line," a soppy vocal track, much the same as "Second Chance" and "Like the Wind" from the Gran Turismo Original Game Soundtrack. Though the vocals are much better and the track is musically accomplished, it seems out of place on the album and torments my ears. It is far too 'lovey-dovey' when the tracks which surround it are rock tracks. On a side note, the instrumental version of "Blue Line" which features an alto saxophone actually sounds better than the vocal version: probably because we don't hear lyrics such as "trying to blue line" thrown in, in an attempt to match syllables to the melody ("trying to flat line" probably describes the vocalists main intentions a little better).

Despite this, Andoh does actually impress with his other themes on the album. "Never Let Me Down," for example, is a great rock theme with his trademark strong drum line and bass development. The track features a memorable melody which is enjoyable to listen to whilst speeding round the corners on the game's courses. Alongside this, there is also "Blade," which features some screaming guitar lines and the signature Andoh strong bass line and drum structure once more. Though this track seems to lack the power of some of his other themes, it still features some great development during its four minute playing time. The highlight is a rock organ segment which comes in around 1:58 and adds some extra flavour to the otherwise wholly electric guitar-led theme.

Andoh's other contributions on the album are three fast-paced rock themes: "Get into It," "Call of the Wild," and "Blowing Away." These are three very enjoyable tracks, which act as a great addition to the album (and game), which I can imagine comes in handy when you're on a long circuit and are sick of listening to the same slower paced themes the whole time! Furthermore, "Blowing Away" is actually one of the more enjoyable themes on the album, and I feel that its pace contributes to this. The piece also stands out due to an amazing development around the 2:01 mark, where it almost seems to become a different track. It brings a sense of uncertainty to the direction of the track, which I find a breath of fresh air. Ultimately, we can conclude that Andoh has once more provided us with some excellent themes which Isamu Ohira will struggle to match.

Unlike in the Gran Turismo Original Game Soundtrack, I feel that Ohira's contributions benefit the score and add something new and worthwhile to this album. It really is quite amazing to see how far his musical abilities have developed. The perfect portrayal of this comes in his arrangements of his previous themes on the album. The first of which, "Welcome Back G.T.," is an arrangement of "Toward the G.T," and though we initially have to listen to 25 seconds of sound effects, the track now seems to serve more of a purpose and has more direction also. I sould also mention that its funkiness is particularly entertaining. Similarly, "The 'Real' Motorious City" (an arrangement of "The Motorious City") has evolved into a much stronger and more enjoyable theme. The best arrangement though is "The Drift of Air v.2," a much more musically advanced rendition of "The Drift of Air." This is by far my favourite track on the album, not only because of its musicality, but for the fact that you can really hear passion being injected into the track by Ohira. The jazzy piano line is amazing, imaginative, and acts as the engine for the whole piece, with the gas provided by a similarly inventive double bass line.

The majority of Ohira's other contributions on the album are shorter pieces used in the menu sequences within the game. "Windroad," "Get Ready," and "You Made It!" are three similar fast-paced tracks. Within their short playing time, the pieces explore every bit of their simple melodies and complex accompaniments. Although you can argue that they don't touch on the musical accomplishments which Andoh's achieves, for short menu pieces, Ohira has done a good job. His best original track for the album "From the East" explores a different style to his other shorter pieces. The success of this track comes from the fact that it is much more relaxed and less complicated. It is much easier to appreciate the theme and its developments than a track such as "Get Ready," which is very in your face from the start. Though short-lived, the Ohira's themes are a worthwhile listen, and as I said previously, a good addition to the album. As of this album though, he still hasn't matched the power or dominance of Andoh's track.


Overall, this is a very enjoyable album with great tracks put forward by both Andoh and Ohira. Though Ohira's best themes are rearrangements of tracks we had originally heard in the Gran Turismo Original Game Soundtrack, he provides great promise for his future contributions to the series. Once more, Andoh also impresses with a group of strong tracks, but you might be disappointed to hear that for Gran Turismo 3 there are no new tracks for him (though he does return for the fourth instalment of the series). Ohira's tracks could do with being a little longer, and Andoh could do with introducing some diversity to his compositions (not in the form of vocal themes!), but collectively, this is a sound album.

Overall score: 8/10