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Biohazard Code Veronica Original Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

Biohazard Code Veronica Original Soundtrack Album Title: Biohazard Code Veronica Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Suleputer
Catalog No.: CPCA-1037
Release Date: February 19, 2000
Purchase: Buy at Game Music Online


Resident Evil: Code Veronica was a Dreamcast turned PlayStation 2 title that successfully elaborated on the approach taken on Resident Evil 2. The game was externally developed for the first time in the series, so non-Capcom employees Takeshi Miura, Hijiri Anze, and Sanae Kasahara were responsible for the soundtrack. Rather than take the audio in a new direction, they decided to develop the approach adopted in the highly successful Resident Evil 2 soundtrack. For the most part, they enhanced the Resident Evil musical experience by taking the ambience, action, and emotion to a higher level. The score was released in multiple editions, however, so it can be a little difficult to decide which is the best one to go for. Let's take a closer look at arguably the finest score in the series...


The biggest highlights of the soundtrack are the various disturbing setting themes. Intrinsically at least, "The Palace of Insane" is a simple tension piece built around the horror movie clichés of atonal piano figures and suspended strings. However, Takeshi Miura demonstrates such mastery over both forces that they hardly feel derivative and the six note piano motif is ingeniously constructed. What really makes the piece so compelling, however, are the deliciously sinister developments such as distortions of pitch and tempo. In many regards, this theme is a fantastic elaboration on the stylistic ideas of Resident Evil 2's police department themes. Also used early in the game, "Induction" provides a sense of zombies lurking around every corner with its slimy chromatic progressions and sighing oboe countermelodies. Small additions such as an eventual militaristic drum roll nevertheless make a significant contribution to its individuality and enigmatic flavour. "Death Siege" is also among the early highlights, taking the important role of introducing Rockfort Island in an increasingly daunting way.

Perhaps the most memorable theme on the soundtrack is "The Suspended Doll". The journey to the villains' hidden private residence was probably the scariest part of the game and at least half of the tension was created by this particularly disturbing theme. The composition is dominated by obsessive repetition of short piano and organ fragments that depict Alfred and Alexia's playful menace. The fascinating composition is rounded off by morose string countermelodies, sporadic thunderous roars, and dabs of Alexia's increasingly significant theme. There are a handful of other highly effective themes built around eerie repetition and soundscaping such as "Pandora's Box", "Deja Vu", and "Rasen". Moving to the second half of the game, there are two themes used for an Antarctic facility, "Blanc" and "Subzero". Parallels can again be drawn with Resident Evil 2's later setting themes with their use of moody industrial drones. Used immediately prior to the final encounter, "The Code is Veronica" provides a rare motivating theme written in the style of a militaristic anthem.

The soundtrack promises to be an action-packed ride right from the exhilarating "Opening ~ Claire Version" and it doesn't disappoint. Plenty of themes reflect the martial influence of the score such as "The Ending of the Beginning" and "The Opening ~ Chris Version". There are also several relentless and racing cues like "Not Steve" and "Pulsating Right Arm". Nevertheless, "Incoming" and "Hot Rescue" are pretty jarring and repetitive panic themes that are only slightly better out of context than their Resident Evil 2's equivalents. However, the best action tracks are found at the end of each of the main halves of the game. "State of Emergency" and the two themes for Tyrant 3 are climactic militaristic themes featuring fantastic interlinked melodies and punchy chord progressions. "The Theme of Nosterafu" is a bizarre sort of highlight too and gives a good image of a pulsating mutated beast. The two encounters with the transformed Alexia are inspired by Resident Evil 2's final boss themes with a mixture of operatic vocals and orchestra. While the melody is merely good here, these themes are more effective given the feminine nature of the villain and the particularly powerful orchestration.

Event themes are abundant in this soundtrack and range from short clips to spectacular cues. The highlights range from the strained and tragic "Prologue" to the rhythmically curious and lushly piano-decorated "Through the Scope" to the rare comforting orchestration "Silence of the Air". "Love" is one of the few convincing and emotional elements used in a death scene; following an explosive orchestral passage, it moves into a an intimate piano passage later embellished by tragic strings. Other emotional highlights are provided by the piano-based tracks "As You Wish" and "Lachrymal" and the feathery save room theme "A Moment of Relief". A secondary theme is a lullaby used to represent Alfred and Alexia's twisted menace; it is introduced on music box in "Infants" for a cruel flashback and elaborated upon with slightly strained female vocals on "The End of the Beginning" and "Berceuse". "Murderous Eyes" accompanies the transformation of Alexia as the soundtrack approaches its spectacular aforementioned climax; she is portrayed as a divine, sexual, but ultimately malevolent being with a dazzling combination of choir and organ.

There are actually multiple versions of the Code Veronica soundtrack each with different merits. The Biohazard Code Veronica Original Soundtrack is the Japanese version of the Dreamcast soundtrack; it crams 70 tracks into one disc and also includes a somewhat pointless sound effects and voice collection mini-disc. The Biohazard Code Veronica X Complete Version Original Soundtrack is a far better purchase given it allows tracks to breathe across two full discs. It also includes the tracks made specifically for the PlayStation 2's Biohazard Code Veronica X enhanced port such as the four themes used to accompany the encounter between Chris and Wesker at the end of the game, most notably "Awesome Powers". A new end credits medley was also created for the title featuring arrangements of the best themes from the soundtrack. Though it could be more cohesive, it is far better than the cheesy and dated Dreamcast end credits theme relegated to the bonus tracks. The main advantage of the domestic release and box set version is that they remove around 30 or so filler themes mostly used for the events. Not great for completists but ideal for those who want to here all the highlights without brief but regular interruptions.


For the most part, Miura, Anze, and Kasahara successfully built on the foundations laid by Resident Evil 2. Their setting themes are some of the most eerie and disturbing of the series, especially ingenious creations like "The Palace of Insane" and "The Suspended Doll". The action themes are some of the most thrilling of the series and generally take their influence from movie scores rather than their jarring frenzied predecessors. Also of note are the numerous cinematic event themes and the melodramatic emotional themes. Some are derivative and others are superfluous, but they almost all work spectacularly in the game and create an excellent collective listening experience. This score is probably the most definitive and enjoyable of the first four Resident Evil scores, particularly in its complete or box set versions.

Overall Score: 9/10