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Telenet Game Music Collection Vol. 1 :: Review by Don

Telenet Game Music Collection Vol. 1 Album Title: Telenet Game Music Collection Vol. 1
Record Label: King Records
Catalog No.: K30X-7707
Release Date: August 21, 1988
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Telenet Game Music Collection Vol. 1 is a compilation album featuring compositions from Shinobu Ogawa and Nobuhito Kouse for games produced by Telenet Japan. The games within this compilation include Fantasm Solder Valis, Shinra Banshou, Final Zone, and Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei, plus five pieces from these selections with upgraded synth. Is this compilation really worth it?


Fantasm Soldier Valis is the first in the Valis series. For the most part, many of the tracks are really energetic. It also features quite a few memorable pieces. For example, "Fantasm Soldier" and "Lonely Soldier" feature some exhilarating melodies that, while simple, are extremely pleasing and quite catchy! At the same time, "Death Whisper" is an extremely dark piece focusing on the organ and some creepy string synth. The accompaniment gets a bit repetitive after a while, but at the same time, it does seem to add to the overall tone of the piece. Another dark piece is "Cellular Tissue". It's more atmospheric than "Death Whisper," but at the same time, it's much less spectacular; there is a nice rhythm going on with it, but it gets old rather quickly. "Requiem" is a very somber composition. The melody really stands out, and while it does sound a bit generic, it's still quite moving. Overall, Fantasm Soldier Valis is a mixed bag. There are plenty of energetic and fun pieces, but some of the darker pieces just don't seem to execute nicely.

The Shinra Banshou soundtrack is also pretty decent. While not as energetic as Fantasm Soldier Valis, it still has its moments. The amount of notable tracks is pretty similar between the two. "The Universe," the opening piece, has a futuristic sound and the beginning is reminiscent of a Star Ocean opening track. However, the overall flow of the piece is more playful than dramatic. It's a really nice opening and sets the tone for the album. Another track, while not entirely strong, is "Grand Cross". It has a sort of evil militaristic/futuristic sound to it. Unfortunately, the percussion is obnoxiously repetitive. "Battler - Warrior of Fate" continues with an uplifting melody. It's another decent melody that seems to latch onto your brain, as it's extremely catchy at the same time.

Continuing with Shinra Banshou, "Black Blood" is a really intense composition. The percussion is repetitive, which seems to be a plague for this album, but the entire atmosphere of this piece is ripe with tension. Moving onto something slower, "Sad Flame" is exactly that. It's an extremely somber melody with a poignant atmosphere. There seems to be a feeling of lost hope, but, at the same time, the futuristic arpeggios seem to bring lightheartedness to the piece. It's a nice contrast. You can never end on a sad note, that's why "Super Sonic Sailing" is the last track worth mentioning on this portion of the collection. Extremely bubbly and uplifting, the melody just seems to flow along. It's one of those classic tracks that just seem to engrain itself into your memory banks. Gotta love it!

Final Zone doesn't have as many offerings as the other games on this album, but it does offer the highest quality tracks overall. "Commission of Wolf" is a very militaristic piece with some suspenseful string work. It sets a very foreboding tone for a seemingly dark game. It's not the best track, but it's very atmospheric. "Final Zone" is probably the best track from the game of the same name. It has got a fantastic melody and I absolutely love the drum pad work. The synth work is also quite good and helps to create a very futuristic setting. "Daydream is Over" is a ballad-like piece of music. The melody is quite hypnotic and just seems to lull the listener in. It's simple yet effective, and I love the lead instruments and how the track develops over time. "Zone Attack" is another fast-paced composition that defines a battle pretty nicely. The main melody motif is a bit repetitive and simplistic, but I do like how the harmonies develop as the track goes on. It retains a futuristic feel and is another fine addition to the soundtrack.

Unfortunately, Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei has the least amount of solid offerings. "Magnetic Magician" is a playful piece of music, but it doesn't really offer much aside from a fairly strong melody. The instrumentation is nice, but does seem a bit generic. "Morning in Cologne" is a upbeat composition with an interesting melody. The synth work is spot on and definitely has some nice additions, such as the futuristic key gliss in the piece. Sadly, it's also extremely repetitive. Now, I don't normally think of Hell as romantic, but apparently it is. "Romantic Hell" is easily the best thing from this soundtrack. It offers a very creepy atmosphere with some interesting counterharmonies. As the track progresses, it gets a pop feel to it, but still manages to retain that hint of creepiness. Such a great track, though, so I can't fault it. "Bright Morning" is probably the last of the solid offerings on this soundtrack. It's a slower piece with lots of development. It's quite happy but does have hints of sadness.

As for the High Grade Special Version, this features synth upgrades for "Fantasm Soldier Valis," "Final Zone," "A Smile from Miss Blue," "Romantic Hell," and "Bright Morning." However, none of the new tracks really offer much new to the piece. I will mention that "Romantic Hell" was co-arranged by Tenpei Sato. The synth upgrade is nice, but it really does lose a lot of the atmosphere heard in the original.


Overall, this is a very nice compilation of albums. While there is no soundtrack on here that is extremely solid, each one offers, in varying degrees, a number of solid tracks. It's worth picking up if you can find it, but I also wouldn't pay exorbitant amounts of money for it either. There are some goodies on here!

Overall Score: 8/10