- Atlus
  - Capcom
  - Cave
  - Falcom
  - Irem
  - Konami
  - Microsoft
  - Namco Bandai
  - Nintendo
  - Nippon Ichi
  - Grasshopper
  - Sega
  - Sony
  - Square Enix
  - Western Games

  - Castlevania
  - Chrono
  - Dragon Quest
  - Final Fantasy
  - Kingdom Hearts
  - Mana
  - Mario
  - Megami Tensei
  - Mega Man
  - Metal Gear
  - Resident Evil
  - SaGa
  - Silent Hill
  - Sonic
  - Star Ocean
  - Street Fighter
  - Suikoden
  - Tales
  - Ys
  - Zelda

  - Masashi Hamauzu
  - Norihiko Hibino
  - Kenji Ito
  - Noriyuki Iwadare
  - Koji Kondo
  - Yuzo Koshiro
  - Shoji Meguro
  - Yasunori Mitsuda
  - Manabu Namiki
  - Hitoshi Sakimoto
  - Motoi Sakuraba
  - Tenpei Sato
  - Yoko Shimomura
  - Koichi Sugiyama
  - Masafumi Takada
  - Nobuo Uematsu
  - Michiru Yamane
  - Akira Yamaoka

Home Contact Us Top


Star Ocean The Second Story Fantasy Megamix :: Review by Dave

Star Ocean The Second Story Fantasy Megamix Album Title: Star Ocean The Second Story Fantasy Megamix
Record Label: First Smile Entertainment
Catalog No.: FSCA-10145
Release Date: October 18, 2000
Purchase: Buy at Game Music Online


The Star Ocean Perfect Sound Collection was the first arranged album from the Star Ocean series, and strangely, it came out before the soundtrack, which was released a whole nine years later. Star Ocean The Second Story Fantasy Megamix is the second arranged album in the series, but luckily, it was released at the same time as its original score, so there was no wait here. When I first heard of this album back in 2004, I was told to expect nothing special, but I can assure you that my sources were otherwise misinformed. The variety of genres on this album is excellent, as with a blend of rock, jazz, techno, and orchestral music being the most prominent styles on the album, there is truly something for everybody. This album offers far more than the Star Ocean Perfect Sound Collection, as with the initial melodies being developed with some great mastery, much more variety is added to the album, thus making it an overall success. The arranger for this album is not Sakuraba, but Yoshihiro Ike, whose skills were previously shown on Street Fighter II Alpha Lyla with Yuji Toriyama, where he played the electric guitar and improvised upon a number of themes.

Track-by-Track Reviews

1) Field of Nede

"Field of Nede" is a fusion of orchestral and rock music, and with a strong brass section, strings, and an electric guitar part starting off the track, Ike reveals this straight away. The string section adds an ominous feel to the track at first, but then, as the electric guitar part builds up, other emotions are revealed, too. The first part of the track is powerful and filled with rapturous melodies that conflict with the ominous nature of the bass string lines. The guitar melody that plays over this is just as glorious and it is even more mesmeric later on where it acts as an accompaniment to a bright orchestral section. The best feature of this track is its dynamic contrasts, and this is established as a main feature throughout the rest of the album, too. Ike has a wonderful scope for dynamic range, and so, this track goes from being very soft to being extremely frontal and grand within seconds. On the whole, the diversity of this track in all areas does it justice; Ike never fails to entertain by introducing a number of different sections throughout. This is a great start to an album that was greeted in trepidation by many. (10/10)

2) The Incarnation of Devil

From a rock and orchestral fusion, we now move on to a rock and synth track that seems to be based on Danny Elfman's "Mission: Impossible Theme" at first. Many fans will be surprised with how well this theme develops, as initially it seems to be a mixture of bass notes and the odd underdeveloped melody. This section proves to be a mere introduction, as around the 2:55 mark, the track sets on a path of hope, and with Masanobu Fukuhara's guitar skills coming into play here, what follows is a truly invigorating experience. Every part that features from this section onwards just seems so much more emphatic before, and so, the listener really gets a taste of Ike's musical spices. The most impressive part of the previous track was its dynamic contrasts, and although this rates highly in "The Incarnation of Devil," too, the main feature is the solo at the end of the track. Masanobu Fukuhara masterfully ends the track with a glorious solo that spans every octave that the instrument offers, and although it lasts for a short time, the effect is everlasting. (10/10)

3) At the Crack of Dawn

Many fans will look at the track time for this theme and ponder upon what it can achieve within its short lifespan. This track is great to listen to, and although it may not offer the variety of emotions that a majority of the tracks do, it is certainly amongst the most passionate. The main theme for this track is presented in an orchestral line that evokes emotions of sadness and pride straight away, but it isn't this part that takes the main stage, but something much more passionate: the electric guitar. Fukuhara shows us his guitar mastery in this track when he plays over the orchestra, creating a melody that is meaningful and captivating. The most attractive part of this line comes when he manipulates the sound of the guitar so that it seems almost as if it is roaring and gleaming with pride. A wonderful timbre is offered by this track, and so, it just goes to show that a little can go a long way. As short tracks go, this is one of the best, and it is only rated down because of its length. (8/10)

4) Silent the Universe

This track will come as a surprise to many, as with two powerful themes either side of it, this eerie gem seems dwarfed in comparison. Ike explores a unique timbre throughout this track; combining a female vocalist, an electric guitar, and an orchestra with a drum kit, the instrumentation is diverse and peregrinating. The start of the track features a softly played synth line and a smooth, although slightly inaudible, brass line. A long crescendo offered by a harmonious vocal line brings us into the main section of the track, and this is emphasised further by the addition of a beaty bass line. From here onwards, the theme generally takes a powerful stance, but with Ike also introducing feelings of loneliness and sadness into the track, too, this power is often purposely lessened so that the atmosphere turns lucid. Unlike the other arrangements on this album, there isn't a lot that melodically separates this track from its original theme. Dynamic contrast and instrumentation are the key differences in this arrangement, and Ike manages to turn heads through making this variation heard. The original theme had a lot of potential, and he seems to have fulfilled this, despite the fact that this is very much the same track. (9/10)

5) The Ultimate Terror

The opening part of this track is threatening and typically rock-styled, but then, after a minute or so, comes the most beautiful and awe-inspiring soprano voice that I have ever heard. Yumeko Araki almost screams some of the notes in the successful range testing melody that she has to sing. So, how does this track compare to the original version? Well, there are two key things to consider: atmosphere and timbre. The atmosphere that is given off by this track is superb, and with the singer providing a militaristic spoken accompaniment, too, it sounds almost deathly and concentration camp-esque. The combination of a distorted guitar, an orchestra, and the soprano voice is superb, and with this adding a unique sense of timbre to the track, the album becomes even more original. Around the 2:25 mark, the soprano voice acts as a tension enhancer when a rising scale filled with accents and sforzandos is performed, and although this has been put into practice on many occasions, this is amongst the most effective vocal build-ups that I have heard in the VGM world. The original track pales in comparison to this buoyant and fear enhancing track. (10/10)

6) The Venerable Forest

"The Venerable Forest" is a wonderfully quaint piano and Celtic woodwind track that will mesmerise any listener. The first section of the track starts with a nicely articulated piano part that sombrely plays an earthly melody. Ike introduces the Celtic woodwind at the 0:26 mark, and although I am not a fan of its tone, I have to admit that the melody that it plays is precise. Both of these instruments work in perfect harmony with one another, and the key thing to notice is how each instrument adds its own intricate trills now and then. The second section of this track comes after a build up in dynamics from the piano line, but the unfortunate thing is that we don't hear enough of it. This section yields a sense of action and rising hope through its quicker metre and staccato bass line. This section of the track should have been developed more, as it holds a lot of potential that is otherwise wasted. A beautiful piano melody leads us into a recapulation of these sections, and, after each theme has shed its sorrow, the track ends with a feeling of satisfaction and perfection. All in all, this theme is a pleasing one, and it surpasses the original version easily. (9/10)

7) A Feeling of Oppression

The all so famed melody from "Star Ocean Forever" is the first theme to be heard in this track, and with this being played by vibrant a brass section, we just know that this is going to be a militaristic theme. A crescendo and an addition of a snare drum announce the arrival of a new section in which a string section plays a march-like rhythm. As ever, Fukuhara introduces his electric guitar and performs it with a certain edge that enhances the string melody that it accompanies, and when it plays in the sad section from 1:40 onwards, its presence is even more profound. After this heartfelt section, the track moves on to explore its original atmosphere through a short recapulation that is filled with pride and sophistication. A final electric guitar and brass section ends this track with style. This track is far more effective than its eerie rendition on Star Ocean The Second Story, as with the militaristic feel of the track overpowering the ominous atmosphere offered by the original track, there is nothing left to argue. (10/10)

8) Star Ocean Forever

The soundtrack version of "Star Ocean Forever" could have been an epic track in its own right, but with Sakuraba hardly developing the theme, what was left was a repeated melody with a lack of direction. Ike must have greeted this track with glee; with there being so much undiscovered potential he could tailor it to his own liking. So, with the initial theme being a militaristic victory theme, Ike sets about this track with jazzy intentions. The first thirty seconds of this track are misleading, as with a fast paced drum beat taking centre stage, it almost seems as if it is going to evolve into a techno track. What came next totally surprised me; a wondrous saxophone part comes in around the 0:30 mark, and with it playing the "Star Ocean Forever" theme with a sense of animation, it was a nice surprise, too. Kouji Shiokawa's saxophone performance is brilliant, as with a number of portamentos and trills coming from the saxophone, the melody is given a really pleasing effect. The electric guitar and the saxophone constantly intertwine throughout the whole track, and with each instrument constantly revealing solo lines, Fukuhara and Shiokawa never let the theme rest. (10/10)

9) The Fateful a Moment

This arrangement is an impressive rock track that exposes the soul of the original theme. The start of the track is made up from a tension enhancing drum line and some deathly guitar intrusions. This atmosphere is kept throughout the initial stages of the track, but with Fukuhara potently playing the guitar, this image quickly changes. While the accompaniment blasts out some ominous chords, the electric guitar emits a vigorous sound, so meddlesome and effective in fact, that it is like a whip slashing at the beasts below. The only problem with this track is its length, as with it being the second shortest on the album, there are certain aspects of the track that could have been developed upon. Ike has made the most out of the melodic line but without Fukuhara helping him with the accompaniment, the two parts seem like they belong to two different tracks. The length of this track limits the effect that the bass line can have. All in all, this is a successful track, but with so many chances of development wasted, it could have been a lot more. It would have been nice to hear a bit more from Taiki Oyama, who plays a hidden piano melody in the background. (9/10)

10) Resolution

"Resolution" is a beautiful track that gives the album a sense of justice through its fresh timbre. The first twenty seconds of the track are made up from a quaint guitar line and some organic percussion that give the perfect image of a forest. With the natural atmosphere of the track already enforced through this section, a piano melody comes out of nowhere. This piano line is certainly impressive, as with it going from being tranquil and dreamy to being full of vibrancy and style, it offers a lot of diversity and a great amount of pianistic skill. The album couldn't have ended in a better way, as with this track straying away from the rock, ska, and orchestral fusions explored elsewhere in the album, it offers something unique and satisfying. The best part of the track lies around the 1:20 mark where Taiki Oyama adds a jazzy swing to the melody and manipulates the theme flawlessly. It is always nice to hear such virtuosic piano playing, and with this track coming at the very end of the album, it just seems to heighten the sense of justification given off by the tracks as a collective whole. This track is truly emotional, and it will certainly draw some tears. (10/10)


There isn't a single bad theme on this album, and with each track adopting a different style to one another, Ike offers a wide range of emotions. This is an excellent album from him, and after listening to every track, it would seem like his inspiration never ran dry at all. Without his skills in manipulation, composition, and instrumental knowledge this album would have gone nowhere. Each track has been masterfully composed, and the variation form Sakuraba's original themes is superb. Listening to the Star Ocean The Second Story Original Soundtrack before this album isn't a necessity, in fact, you don't even have to have heard the original themes to resepect this album. Indeed, this album is self sustainable, and with tracks like "The Ultimate Terror," "Star Ocean Forever," "Resolution," and "Field of Nede," this is hardly surprising. So, don't greet this album as you would a mutant shark, or a Janet Jackson album for that matter. Greet it with open arms.

Overall Score: 10/10