Time for some Grandia II...nes

To say I've been putting off playing Grandia II would be an understatement - the game's sat on my shelf for upward of a year now, with only a few plays on it so far. The idea of playing a JRPG on the Dreamcast is still an odd one to me, having grown up playing most of my RPGs on Nintendo consoles (or that time I binged a bunch of Skyrim on my bro's PS3).

But I'm not here to commiserate about video game backlogs. Rather, let us look to a particularly nifty feature of the Dreamcast release of Grandia II: the bonus "Music Selections" CD included. With a total of 12 pieces coming in at 50 minutes of music, it's a nice sampling of the game's soundtrack, with what appear to be a few remixes thrown in for good measure. Thankfully, no jingles or short sounds are included, so the CD works as a standalone listen.
My own personal copy
Oddly enough, the album begins with a remix. Both "Cançäo do povo (Little Shelter MIX)" and the last song, "Cançäo do povo," feature the vocal talents of Kaori Kawasumi. The song and its remix provide nice bookends for the whole affair, as the remix opens up with a catchy dance-like beat, and the original ends it on a more mellow, longing note.

With the exception of "FIGHT!! Ver.1" and "FIGHT!! Ver.2," most tracks have titles that would seem to relate to their place in the game itself. With only a little playing time, I could only guess at a few. There's "Carbo," with its great percussion and pan-flute beginning. There's "A Deus," bringing in a mysterious vocal song, again girded by the dulcimer tones of Miss Kawasumi. "Dangerous Zone" is fast-paced and loaded with growling electric guitars.

Back into a mellow vein, the next track, "Agear" tones things down. Both this and "Carbo" are early towns, so I actually got to hear these in context. "Fight!! Ver. 1" is fairly obvious in its purpose. It too features some rad electric guitar work. "Liligue" apparently goes to a city, and if I judged from OST alone, I'd say it would be a decent sized, bright city - it's an upbeat, catchy bit of a tune.
"Mirumu" up next, is the opposite of "Liligue" in tone. This track feels more rustic, befitting of a small village. There's a male vocalist and some twangy instrumentation. It still has a strong beat to it. (Its tone reminds me a tiny bit of Cosmo Canyon from Final Fantasy VII. But this is a Dreamast blog, so that is neither here nor there.)

"St. Helm" is another upbeat one. The lilting 3/4 or 6/8 melody sparkles with "ting-y" percussion throughout. Following it is another battle theme, "Fight!! Ver.2." For me, the synths remind me of some of my favorite 80s songs. (Your mileage may vary in this regard, I might be just hearing things.)

The last two tracks, "A Deus (SUNKING MIX)" and "Cançäo do povo" are rewordings of things we've seen before. The SUNKING MIX takes the sober original and remixes it with some percussion, nasty, aggressive guitar and a crackly presence. Out of nowhere, there's a rap section by a male vocalist. I simultaneously do and do not wish I knew what was being said. Finally, the original "Cançäo do povo" gives us a pleasant, beautiful ending to our listening experience.
Imagine an entire shelf full of RPG soundtracks.
Overall, Grandia II's "Music Selections" is an excellent music CD, and definitely worth grabbing if you happen to see it. (Although you could hop on YouTube and look up all those tunes...) As someone who got into a couple of franchises initially because of their music, it is fascinating for me to see a game with a music CD included. The part of me that doesn't worry about moving and shelf space wishes more games did that sort of thing. (And if Grandia II had been on PS1, it probably would have been game data and not a cool "mix tape," so to speak."

Anyway, before I ramble on too long, I'll end by saying that Mr. Iwadare did a great job in composing, and this disc shows that fact.

1 comment:

nocarpayment said...

I have to say this is one of my fav DC games. My main two complaints are. That it was to linear point A to Point B. Some more randomness/exploring wouldve helped. Also there are no extras or bonuses. There is one small lame bonus stage which was a reused section of the game. It is clearly a afterthought. I also only lost my party a few times during the whole game once i got passed the 1/4 mark.