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OutRun 2 Soundtracks Side B :: Review by Chris

OutRun 2 Soundtracks Side B Album Title: OutRun 2 Soundtracks Side B
Record Label: Sega
Catalog No.: V3N-00001
Release Date: January 27, 2005
Purchase: Buy at eBay


The release of OutRun 2 on the Xbox was commemorated with promo albums in both its Western and Japanese releases. The Japanese promo, OutRun 2 Soundtracks Side B, is the more comprehensive of the two releases yet also the less focused. It features two sets of remixes of the four classic OutRun themes, namely Richard Jacques' semi-exclusive 'euro remixes' and Hiroshi Kawaguchi's arrangements previously featured on Yu-Suzuki Produces OutRun. There are also different yet inferior versions of the original racing themes for OutRun 2 and, perhaps the jewel of the release, Takenobu Mitsuyoshi's vocal ending theme. Let's take a look at the individual components.


The soundtrack opens with Richard Jacques' 'euro remixes' of the four classic OutRun theme. His interpretation of "Magical Sound Shower" is arguably the definitive version of the theme, blending modern styles with classic melodies. He maintains the samba sound of the original through distinctive piano riffs, percussiive elements, and whistle use while a live brass section presents the melody and an alto saxophone offers a sleak solo. "Splash Wave" blends an old-school rock style with high quality samplers, focusing on a rich and expansive keyboard melody throughout. The live brass section return to give an upbeat feel to "Passing Breeze", though there are appropriately softer elements too created by the charismatic jazz piano lead and new age elements. The interplay between the brass and piano is sublimely done guaranteeing a compelling seven minute listen. "Last Wave" meanwhile is a short new age remix that stays faithful to the atmosphere of the original, but sounds more stylish than ever.

The centre of the album revisits the original themes for OutRun 2 in different versions. Although the five versions offered are all enjoyable, they're generally inferior to their full versions. "Risky Ride - Guitar Mix" certainly offers a greater guitar focus than before, but only because the accompaniment is relatively lacking. The prototype of "Shiny World" doesn't quite have the same smoothness and richness as the full version even if the ideas are clearly solid. Meanwhile the prototype and instrumental versions of the vocal theme "Night Flight" simply replaces the passionate female vocals with yet more lead guitar work. They're pretty similar although the instrumental version is considerably longer. More enjoyable is the karaoke version of "Life Was A Bore" thanks to the interesting instrumentals of the original, but it sounds very empty in places. There's really not much point in these takes and it's best just to stick to the official soundtrack, as Sega is probably encouraging.

The soundtrack ends with yet more arrangements from OutRun, this time the reprised arranged version from Yu-Suzuki Produces OutRun. Kawaguchi's arranged versions are certainly comprehensive and refined, although not as forward-thinking as Jacques'. "Magical Sound Shower" recreates the atmosphere of the original with a piano and keyboard combo before adding subtle yet pulsating electronic elements and modern jazz and funk improvisations. "Splash Wave" is a little more old-school in its arrangement and synthesis, but this makes it all the more nostalgic, while "Passing Breeze" brings the most out of the smooth jazz influences of the original with a beautiful soprano saxophone lead. Although both themes could have sounded cheesy, Kawaguchi gets it just right. Finally, "Last Wave" is extended into a full length track and it is the most reflective arrangement on the disc, opening with new age piano work against wave sound effects, before building into a soft jazz ballad. The arrangements might be rehashes, but at least they're good ones.

There is one other useful semi-exclusive to this release, however, and that is the vocal version of "Last Wave". It is a soft ballad by Daytona USA star Takenobu Mitsuyoshi who seems to be increasingly specialising in this style. The soft semi-jazzy piano sets the scene for Mitsuyoshi's Japanese vocals to radiate from. While the composer is best known for his bombastic Engrish vocals, these vocals are actually very soothing and charming. The culmination of the arrangement comes with the passionate vocals around the 2:48 mark and a gorgeous trumpet solo from 3:15 onwards.


This album is simply weird. It seems to have been created to pack as many random things in as possible without making the commercial soundtrack release redundant. In doing so, they only offered five true semi-exclusive highlights and they are Richard Jacques' modern remixes and Takenobu Mitsuyoshi's souful ending theme. Meanwhile the OutRun 2 prototypes are inferior to their originals and Yu-Suzuki Produces OutRun arrangements sound slopped together. But let's put things in perspective. This is a promo and it offers more tracks than most. Those who got it in Japanese releases of the game will still something worth cherishing, though the rest can find the material here on the box set for the series.

Overall Score: 7/10