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Boktai Sound Rare Tracks - East of the Sun & West of the Moon :: Review by Chris

Boktai Sound Rare Tracks - East of the Sun & West of the Moon Album Title: Boktai Sound Rare Tracks - East of the Sun & West of the Moon
Record Label: Konami Digital Entertainment
Catalog No.: Promotional
Release Date: November 22, 2006
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Out of all video game companies, Konami has released the most albums over its time — over 600 in fact. This is mainly due to the popularity of the Bemani line, however, and there are still many instrumental soundtracks that still haven't made it to CD. The Boktai series is a particularly notable example of this. Despite the cult popularity of the games and the great praise of its music, no soundtrack releases have been deemed financially viable. As a pre-order bonus for the Japanese version of Lunar Knights, Konami provided some compensation by including a seven track sampler of music from the series. Enhanced music from all four games is included, though the focus tends to be skewed towards the recent games. Let's take a look...


The album is introduced by Norihiko Hibino's orchestral main theme for the original Boktai. It sounds more like an opening theme for an old-school RPG as opposed to the symphonic jazz sound most would expect from him. The gliding string melody is very endearing and is well-supported by all sorts of woodwind frills and a booming bass line. It also develops really effectively too, entering a passage from the one minute mark with hopeful progressions similar to Lost Odyssey's main theme. While the game's sound quality was especially good for a Game Boy Advance title, the theme sounds even better in this remastered version; the console's distinctive fuzz is gone and the instrumental samples are richer overall. A fine testament to the quality and individuality of Boktai's much loved soundtrack.

Shuichi Kobori and Akihiro Honda's soundtrack for Boktai 2 took a spaghetti western approach given the new setting. The main theme is dominated by the woodwind melodies, adventurous bass lines, and vocal chants one might imagine in an Ennio Morricone composition. However, the piece also ensures that distinctive features of the original Boktai is kept alive with its amazing melody and youthful character. This track is even more enjoyable than most of Wild Arms' themes. This sound is explored further on Boktai 3's main theme. This piece opens as a buffed up march featuring fragments of Boktai 2's main theme. However, from the 35 second march, it moves into a jubilant dance-like flute melody accompanied by exotic percussion. Though the individual components are a little generic, the end result is fantastic.

The latest games in the series have also incorporated a rock component popular among fans. Boktai 3's "Strong Wind" will inspire nostalgia about the battle themes of the Super Nintendo with its exciting melody and carefree sound. Lunar Knights' "From Laplace" elaborates on this format with a fantastic electric guitar solo and punchy cadences. There are also two versions of "Dawn of the Sun" from this DS spinoff. The two versions are slightly different with the short version including a dark orchestral introduction and the long version featuring more ferocious percussion and interludes incorporating elaborate saxophone, acoustic guitar, and violin solos. However, many of the other great unreleased themes from the game would have been more worthy of a place on the CD than the short version.


The Boktai Sound Rare Tracks - East of the Sun & West of the Moon is a great listen. All the compositions included here are enjoyable and well done — from the old-school orchestral outings of Boktai to the wild western fusions of Boktai 2 and Boktai 3 to the melodic light rock of Boktai 3 and Lunar Knights. Above all, though, the package leaves us wanting more. Konami should really consider commemorating the series with some album releases given just how much great material is present on the soundtracks. In fact, why don't Konami learn from the example of other great publishers and give us a nice juicy box set? Seven tracks is a fantastic pre-order bonus but just not enough for real enthusiasts...

Overall Score: 7/10