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Xenosaga Original Soundtrack :: Review by Z-Freak

Xenosaga Original Soundtrack Album Title: Xenosaga Original Soundtrack
Record Label: DigiCube
Catalog No.: SSCX-10062
Release Date: March 6, 2002
Purchase: Buy Xenosaga Episode I Instead


Take one of the most popular game music composers, Yasunori Mitsuda, buy him a plane ticket to London, England, and set him up with that city's own Philharmonic Orchestra and what do you get? Easy, a work of pure genius and one of the most epic scores ever written for a video game, or any musical score for that matter. It has it all — intensity, emotion, variety, power.

Anyhow, if we go back on Mitsuda's history a bit, we see that he had one MAJOR influence. When Mitsuda started with Square in 1992, he wasn't a composer yet, but rather a sound engineer, his first project being Hanjuku Hero on the Super Nintendo. Well, if Mitsuda wasn't composing, then who was? Koichi Sugiyama, yes, THE Koichi Sugiyama was hired by Square as a guest composer, and Mitsuda was to assist him in his works. Needless to say, the opportunity to work with a living legend must have been a very enriching experience for Mitsuda. Since Sugiyama is known to have collaborated with the London Philharmonic in the past to orchestrate his Dragon Quest scores, it has to be one of the influences that got Mitsuda to choose to work with the London Philharmonic for Xenosaga.

Disc One

Disc One starts with "Prologue" which sounds way too much like an opening for a movie, yet it has the "Sci-Fi" feel in it. It's a very powerful and awesome opening theme, and it's performed by the orchestra. At the end we hear some interesting vocals, although I can't make out what they're saying.

Usually Mitsuda is not known for making outstanding battle themes, but he proves otherwise with "Battle." It gets you right off. There's lots of violin samples here folks, with a bit of drum on the side. You probably can't tell, but it's not orchestrated, yet it sounds so good you won't care if it's synthesized or not. Last but not least, this battle theme is pretty intense, and does give the impression that you're fighting something real nasty.

"Gnosis" starts off quietly but soon the trumpets roar their way into the piece, backed up by bells and drums, this gives the impression of a powerful nation or something, very epic and of course, very good. "Battle with KOS-MOS" is certainly an action theme, but woah, it's really powerful. At some point we get a quiet interlude, then the track repeats, which makes it really stand out.

"Followed Space Shuttle" is a fast paced theme which mostly comprises of violins, trumpets and drums. It gives off the feel of urgency, that something really bad is going on... "U-TIC Engine" is really weird. It uses a technique known as the flutter-tonguing on the flute and has a good deal of chants. I don't why, but I happen to really like this track. Anyhow, Disc One has more goodies, but it's up to you to discover them.

Disc Two

Disc Two contains more choral tracks and other really outstanding tracks. First off we get "Anxiety," a 4 minute long piece. It has a lot of variety, starting off from very calm music and going to a fear-inducing passage featuring some piano, some violin, and some other instruments which I can't identify. It is very enjoyable to listen, and definitely one of the high points of Disc Two.

"Zarathustra" is a very powerful piece: very poignant, very sad. It starts off with some organ, then some voices join in, in which the saddening factor is increased greatly. I can't listen to this without nearly shedding a tear, it's that emotional. It must be used for a saddening scene obviously. "The Miracle" is the best choral piece in the entire soundtrack. The Latin lyrics makes it sound sacred, but when the drum joins in and the chorus gets louder, it only gets better. "Albedo" is worthy of a mention. It is an operatic piece and at a point the voices get very loud and intense. It's quite creepy but it must fit its purpose really well as a villain's theme.

"Omega" is another of the really good tracks. It starts off with Sci-Fi sound effects, but soon we hear some chorals, as if to imply 'This fiend is NOT to be messed with.' Afterwards it gets really intense when the acoustic guitar, the violins, and an electric guitar make their entrance into the track. It only gets better and better. You get the epic feel of a mighty boss battle, but there's more — the electric guitar returns backed up by some violins, trumpets, drums, the works, then it suddenly stops. It's a shame the track dosen't repeat, because it is VERY good.

"Last Battle" is very similar to "Those who Bare Fangs at God" from Xenogears, but this time, Mitsuda adds a bit more variety to the track. At one point you'll hear a chorus, at another point some wicked organ, and then some violin. Wow!! This really sounds like the battle to end all battles. It's very powerful, and though not as intense as "Omega," it's good nonetheless. After the "Last Battle", we are treated to some fantastic vocal songs. Yep, Joanne Hogg who made her first appearance on Xenogears returns in Xenosaga, and she delivers two of the most beautiful songs to be heard in a video game, "Pain" and "Kokoro." So there you have it, folks!


Should you buy this soundtrack? Essentially, yes. You have no excuse not to listen to the score. However, take note that this particular soundtrack is no longer available due to DigiCube's bankruptcy. Fortunately, however, Mitsuda has released Xenosaga Episode I under his own label; this features every item on this score, plus a few extra goodies, and it is also readily available at CocoeBiz. Get it now, if you haven't already!

Overall Score: 8/10