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Shin Megami Tensei Devil Children Perfect Soundtracks :: Review by Chris

Shin Megami Tensei Devil Children Perfect Soundtracks Album Title: Shin Megami Tensei Devil Children Perfect Soundtracks
Record Label: First Smile Entertainment
Catalog No.: FSCA-10157
Release Date: December 20, 2000
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Children is a kid-targeted spinoff of the Megami Tensei series released in three versions. The music from the Red Book and Black Book games were compiled into the Shin Megami Tensei Devil Children Perfect Soundtracks following the cancellation of their separate album releases. Composer Tomoyuki Hamada of T's Music crafted a gothic yet upbeat score for the titles, blending orchestral and rock elements as per series' tradition. The synth is surprisingly good given the game was made for the Game Boy Color, though it seems that the album release was remastered. Unfortunately, very little worthwhile material is offered and the original score is greatly overshadowed by the subsequently released Shin Megami Tensei Devil Children Arrange Tracks.


Tomoyuki Hamada manages to demonstrate his melodic flair throughout the soundtrack. However, he is very restrained otherwise in his ensemble use and development, perhaps because of the memory limitations of the console. "Reality Theme (Black Book)" features one of the most engaging melodies on the soundtrack and is made even more compelling by the hard drum line. However, it feels one-dimensional compared to its arranged version, largely because of the unchanging timbres and minimal harmonisation. This sort of format is reused almost identically in "Reality Theme (Red Book)", "Demon World Town 3", "Marble Land Theme", and "Sanctuary Theme". Although most have a decent hook, it becomes tedious hearing the same drum lines and artificial string synth again and again.

Digging deeper in the album, there are a few other types of composition. The four battle themes are satisfying for the way they bring some hard rock to the soundtrack with "Battle Theme 3" being a particular favourite. However, the five demon world dungeons are less impressive with their generic focus on minimalistic strings and percussion. Even worse, the second half of the album features a string of short jingles. Even the "Final Boss Theme" is a massive disappointment, ending after just fifty seconds and featuring none of the intricacies of Motoi Sakuraba's arrangement. There are a few miscellaneous themes, such as the Arabian-influenced "Sand Land Theme", lively classically-oriented "Demon World Town 2", or the contrasting Angel and Devil leitmotifs, but they are so few that the listening experience is largely homogenous.

A major highlight of the soundtrack are the two vocal themes flanking each end. "Door of Dreams" is an exciting opening theme composed by the late Hiro Takahashi. It blends Takahashi's passionate male vocals with flamenco instrumentation and pop influences. After an explorative verse, the serene chorus from the 0:57 mark is bound to endear to most listeners. Both catchy and emotional, this song will appeal to people of all ages. Nao Ito's ending theme "Zig-Zag" is a relatively standard J-Pop theme. There are the usual female vocals, upbeat beats, and punchy chord progressions. Nonetheless, it is a pretty catchy theme and is suitable for the context. The album ends with the karaoke versions of the two songs and a primitive sound effects collection.


The Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Children score fulfils its purpose fine in the games and accommodates the limitations of the Game Boy Color. Aside from a few catchy themes and the odd stylistic anomaly, the Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Children soundtrack is nevertheless a very samey score. Most pieces are were composed with brute efficiency, featuring little more than string leads and hard drum beats, and very few are well-developed or intricate. In spite of the poor original material, Tomoyuki Hamada and Motoi Sakuraba created a very entertaining and high quality arranged album for the game, Shin Megami Tensei Devil Children Arrange Tracks. This has the major highlights of the original release, save the vocal themes, plus a lot more.

Overall Score: 4/10