(originally posted October 17th 2014)
I briefly mentioned it in the article I wrote two weeks ago, but Project X Zone has an amazing soundtrack. Granted, most of the tracks are remixes of already existing tracks but there are still plenty of original tracks and, regardless of originality, they are all really good. So, to honour it, here’s a list of ten of my top picks.
I should make you all aware that due to the localisation process, several pieces of music that were in the Japanese version of the game were taken out and replaced in the Western version; just a heads up. And if you want to listen to the tracks (which you should), click on the images for each one.
1. We’ll Protect Our School (Rival Schools)
Jazzy. That’s the only word I can use to describe this track. It’s so… jazzy. It’s associated with Rival Schools star, Batsu, who is a student who loves to fight, and it weirdly suits somebody so young. It’s like it captures both his energetic nature and his fighting experience. Batsu is described as being rather hot-headed, but if I had this music playing every time I got into a fight, I’d be ready and willing to throw everything I had. Just try not to bop your head to it.
2. Volcanic Rim Stage (Street Fighter IV)
I may have zero interest in the Street Fighter series but the musicians know how to make fight music, and oh lordy is this track so good. It’s just perfect. That steady rise before it hits the peak builds up your excitement for the battle ahead, then it suddenly throws you into the middle of it, but it doesn’t matter because you are beating the crap out of everything. It’s just awesome; I can’t describe it in any other way.
3. Ultra Violet (Nelo Angelo Battle) (Devil May Cry)
Both tracks from Devil May Cry are amazing, but if I had to pick one of the two, I’d probably be slightly more partial towards this one, which originally played during Dante’s fights with the mysterious Nelo Angelo. It starts off as rather menacing, almost operatic as if to further highlight the otherworldly aspect of the creatures you fight. It then segues into the familiar rock that fans know and love, reminding you that you are still a badass devil hunter and can take on any kind of demonic foe you may face.
4. Ride on Sea (Resident Evil)
The Resident Evil series has always been about survival horror (at least, it’s meant to be); you standing alone against a swarm of mutated beasts with only your wits and limited weaponry, so you don’t really associate typical action-style music with it. This track, though, is the point when survivors Chris and Jill have just had enough. They are done with running away; trying to live whereas others fall. They are at their peak, both in terms of physical prowess and weaponry, and are ready to unleash it all on these monsters.
5. Origin – Awaken – Theme of Heroes (Gain Ground)
One of the most obscure games to be referenced in Project X Zone is Sega’s action-strategy game Gain Ground, which was represented by two stages that took place in the Gain Ground system, and this kickass piece of music that plays throughout. It starts off sounding like a classic 80’s videogame tune, which would’ve been cool on its own, but then it changes into a sort of orchestral reimagining, upping the scale of the situation. It changes what would’ve been a cute little throwback into this grand-scale scenario. It makes you feel unstoppable and pushes you onward to victory; a track worthy of its title.
6. The Sword That Cleaves Evil (Super Robot Wars OG)
Sänger Zonvolt is two things. One: he is the owner of one of the most awesome/silly names in the history of ever. Two: he manages to be silent and stern, yet loud and brazen once a fight starts, probably helped by this music. It feels oddly reminiscent of some sort of feudal Japan-style, but it’s been injected with something rather bombastic, like it’s trying to be both controlled and ferocious. I guess it’s kind of like a samurai in that respect, which is why it’s a perfect fit for good old Sänger.
7. Brave New World (Namco X Capcom)
Project X Zone is an already obscure game, but it is also a sort of sequel to another obscure game called Namco X Capcom, a PS2 Japan-only title that pretty much had the same premise, and this track is an instrumental cover of that game’s main theme. I can’t really describe why I love this track so much, especially since I never played the original game. I think it’s because it’s rather melancholy, yet not defeatist. It feels like you’ve been beaten down; you’re out breath, completely ragged. The face of your enemy is staring down at you and yet you push yourself back up. Every muscle is aching but you don’t care. You’re still alive and fighting, and you will keep fighting till the end.
8. Curiosity and the Cat (Yumeria)
Remember how I said in the last article that part of the reason I loved Nenenko was because of her theme music? Well, here it is. Can you see why? In a game all about fighting the various forces of evil, this is hardly the kind of music you’d think to put in. But it’s just so catchy and it perfectly fits Neneko’s personality: cute, adventurous and forever curious. Maybe when the sun’s out and you’re out for a wander, stick this track on and enjoy life, cause that’s what I want to do when I listen to this.
9. Rising Stage (Project X Zone)
Like I said, there are some original tracks in this game, and they’re quite good. Take this one for example. This music tends to play during scenes when the heroes are reunited after being temporarily separated, most notably in the final chapter and as the title suggests, it makes you feel like you’re on the rise. The world’s gone to hell and all seems lost. Does that mean it’s all over? Hell no. The team’s still together and as long as everyone has a reason to fight, then you will keep on going. I hate to use the word ‘inspirational’ but that’s how it makes me feel. With this music playing, you could take on the world.
10. Mysterious Project (Project X Zone)
The last track I will share with you is one that played during the last stage of the final chapter, as well as during the credits. This is very much climax music; the point where the villain is on the edge and the heroes are pushing them back. The ball is in your court and you are now more determined than ever to put an end to things. Much like the last track, this has that kind of inspiring feel to it, but whereas the last one was more focused on how everyone is working together, this one is just blood-pumping. This is the music that tells you that it’s now all down to the wire, you’re on the home stretch and you will win. No more needs to be said; just listen to it and the rest of the soundtrack if you can. You can enjoy a videogame for any number of reasons, but for many of us, the games we love are the ones that made us feel and music like this can make us feel a lot of things.