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Armored Core Original Music Files :: Review by Chris

Armored Core Original Music Files Album Title: Armored Core Original Music Files
Record Label: From Software
Catalog No.: FSF-ST001
Release Date: December 4, 1997
Purchase: Buy at eBay


The PlayStation's Armored Core was a post-apocalyptic mecha combat game that set the foundations for From Software's most successful franchise. The music for the game was quite distinct from other mecha titles in the game and, rather than offer military orchestrations like Front Mission or anime-styled tunes like Super Robot Taisen, Keiichiro Segawa created an experimental electronic score for the title. While the compositions are sparsely used within the main gameplay, they are important for setting the tone for the game and preparing players for the various missions.


"High Fever" is highly representative of the sound that Keiichiro Segawa developed for Armored Core. It combines a blend of mechanical electronic beats with more soothing synthpads and various treble frills. The result offers a certain sense of energy and immediacy, which is appropriate for an action game, though is also quite understated and downbeat to reflect the greater ambience of the game's visuals. The implementation of this piece and others is certainly superior to most game music released in 1997, transcending even the likes of Rage Racer and Einhänder in terms of the realism and fluidity of the soundscape created. Overall, it's a very competent effort that is simultaneously effective in the game and enjoyable on its own.

With elating beats, ethereal soundscapes, and epic interludes, "Circulation" is clearly inspired by anthemic trance music. However, Segawa still expresses his unique voice throughout and ensures that the track is sufficiently dark and mature to fit the game. The final result manages to be easy on the ears while also being surprisingly deep too. "Main Drag" meanwhile is much more hostile and aseptic in line with the darker parts of the game. In part due to its high production values, it would actually fit in an underground techno club. These tracks are among those have been modified for the purpose of the album to offer a richer sound and more elaborate development, though still stay true to the concept of the original versions.

Although the rest of the tracks are generally shorter on the album, they're stylistically as accomplished as the three aforementioned tracks. Particular highlights include "Junk Mail" with its relentless industrial polyrhythms, "P.O. Box" with its off-the-wall synthesis, and "Integrity" with its gorgeous piano infusions. Though all the tracks are accomplished and effective in their own right, their value is nevertheless collectively reduced by their often similar approaches and mainstream leanings. Many will find that the relentless warped electronic beats grow tiresome on a stand-alone experience and may prefer to focus on the more accomplished track book-ending the album instead or pursue the more varied soundtracks for later Armored Core titles.

Note that a few of the tracks featured on the Armored Core Original Music Files are actually taken from Armored Core: Project Phantasma, an expansion to the original game. The most prominent of these is "Grip", which offers a number of innovations on the music for the original Armored Core: the synthesis is tighter here, the stylings are more in line with psychadelic trance, the development is much more comprehensive, and there are novel elements such as the various vocal samples. It offers exactly what is missing in the somewhat samey tracks in the middle of the release. Note that this track is also featured in the Armored Core Original Best Track along many great exclusives.


The soundtrack for the Armored Core is impressive for its stylistic innovations, cutting-edge synthesis, and, above all else, functionality within the game. The featured tracks are generally enjoyable on a stand-alone basis too, but lack considerably in terms of diversity and uniqueness, in contrast to later entries in the series. The Armored Core Original Music Files are actually rather difficult to purchase, since the album was only given a limited edition run. Series' veterans will nevertheless find themselves satisfied if they manage to find a copy, whereas series' newcomers are better off sticking to the even better albums for subsequent titles.

Overall Score: 7/10