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Soul Calibur II Limited Edition Soundtrack (US) :: Review by Pandemonium

Soul Calibur II Limited Edition Strategy Guide Soundtrack (US) Album Title: Soul Calibur II Limited Edition Strategy Guide Soundtrack (US)
Record Label: BradyGames
Catalog No.: 0744003067
Release Date: August 21, 2003
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Since Soul Calibur II, BradyGames have released one disc soundtracks for the series' music within their Limited Edition Strategy Guides. The Soul Calibur II Limited Edition Strategy Guide Soundtrack is arguably the most successful in the line of albums since there were fewer themes to compile from the Soul Calibur II Original Soundtrack. In fact, they succeed in compiling all but two of the notable themes from the main soundtrack. Under Junichi Nakatsuru, the soundtrack maintains the style of Soul Calibur but exploits the higher sound quality to full effect in order to obtain a more realistic and potent orchestral sound.


Nakatsuru is the main contributor to the soundtrack yet manages to maintain consistency in the quality of his pieces throughout. After a bit of a wobbly start with the slightly dull "History Unfolds", he produces a string of high quality tracks such as "Unwavering Resolve". The famous "Hubris" borrows from Soul Calibur's "Bloom and Harvest", although is at a slower pace. The epic "Maze of the Blade" slowly ups the tempo, adds new instruments, and introduces new motives to the mix as the track spirals towards its conclusion. It is definitely the highlight of the soundtrack and makes a welcome change to the underdeveloped tracks that plagued the Soul Calibur soundtrack. here is also a long version of "Path of Destiny" featuring essentially the same melody as "Going to Where the Wind Blows" from Soul Calibur. However, it is given more time to build intensity and grandeur as the heroic soars in its opulent orchestration, the improved sound quality also makes the track noticeably more enjoyable. Note that Nakatsuru's "Into the Whirlwind" is the only full composition not to be included here.

Yoshihito Yano only contributes four tracks this time around and they are of mixed quality. The stand out track is "Brave Sword, Braver Soul", which has a brilliant driving percussion part and a potent oriental-inspired melody creating a very heroic atmosphere. However, "Evil Reborn" is not so inspirational, it has intensity but lacks any real melody, being based predominantly on orchestral hits and urgent string passages. Asuka Sakai also contributes four tracks to the album, although most of his efforts were a little insubstantial in comparison to the other composers. Her main contribution is "Labyrinth of the Moonlight", which is another longer and more developed track similar to "Maze of the Blade". There a large array of interesting percussion which gives the track a unique atmosphere. "Ordinary Pain" and "Windshadow" have noticeably weaker sound quality which makes them stand out in the soundtrack. However, the fact that they have little memorable to them makes them some of the weakest contributions to the soundtrack.

Rio Hamamoto only contributes three tracks, but they are all of good quality if perhaps not up to the stellar quality of some of Nakatsuru's contributions. "Guided by Wind" is an enjoyable track with a notable melody and a good amount of development adding some nice touches towards the end. "No Turning Back" opens with a quite charming harpsichord and organ melody. It maintains a calmer atmosphere than most of the tracks on the soundtrack yet has a quiet anxiety. "Sword of the Patriot" is graced with a wonderful piccolo part that dances over the top of the orchestra with its playful runs. Ryuichi Takada's "Nothing to Lose" is a decent effort from the composer with some interesting orchestral touches. There is a very contrasting and mellow B-section section that interestingly combines Uilean pipes and piano. This time, however, Junichi Takagi's short but brilliant guitar solo "The Noble Blade" did not make it. It is one of two notable absences from the soundtrack.


The Soul Calibur II soundtrack is certainly an improvement on its predecessor, thanks to higher production values, more musical experimentation, and a large number of well-developed highlights. Compared to the full soundtrack, there is very little missing in the promotional release. A handful of short event and scenario themes at the end of each disc of the two disc soundtrack weren't included, but they're no loss, and the only significant absences are "Into the Whirlwind" and "The Noble Blade". That said, most tracks are shortened by about a minute compared to the full release and, although all the music is still here, this may bother those who prefer full loops. This BradyGames soundtrack is nevertheless ideal for the majority of people out there and only completists will find it insufficient.

Overall Score: 8/10