Breath of Fire III Original Sound Track

Breath of Fire III Original Sound Track. Front. Click to zoom.
Breath of Fire III Original Sound Track
Composed by Akari Kaida / Yoshino Aoki
Arranged by Akari Kaida / Tomohiro Masuda / Yoshino Aoki
Published by first smile
Catalog number FSCA-10015
Release type Game Soundtrack - Official Release
Format 1 CD - 31 tracks
Release date September 19, 1997
Duration 01:10:42
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In 1997, Capcom's female duo Akari Kaida and Yoshino Aoki turned around the convention of RPG soundtracks by creating a light jazz-based soundtrack for Breath of Fire III. Given the time it was created, the soundtrack often features simple arrangements and dubious synth. However, the compositions within tend to be both stylistically inspired and melodically memorable. The results received mixed reviews among gamers, but have continued to be treasured by many soundtrack listeners. Unfortunately, until recently, all consumers had was a woefully incomplete single disc release of the soundtrack featuring omissions of many major setting, battle, and subsidiary themes. Eventually Capcom resolved that with an expensive box set, but the first soundtrack release still has some potential value. Let's take a closer look why...


The game's world map theme "Without a Care" was quite daring at the time of its release. The track presents a fairly memorable melody on xylophone above some funky jazz stylings. The resultant track is a refreshing departure from RPG norm yet somehow fits the worldview of Breath of Fire III quite well, at least until the second overworld theme not present here took over. The subsequent "Half Done is Not Done" serves as the first dungeon theme in the title. Again, its light jazz stylings are absolutely adorable and the interplay between the playful xylophones and chalumeau clarinets is especially effective. Other delightful tunes include "Country Living", "The Weather...", and, of course, "The Game Continues," all of which have irresistible hooks and mesmerising stylings. I also just have to mention Aoki's "My Favorite Trick", an eccentric depiction of a mad scientist.

The battle themes maintain stylistic continuity with the various setting themes, but have a more energetic feel to them. "Do Your Best" features more bouncy melodies and funk licks, but punctuates it with rhythm guitar chords and answering keyboard phrases. The resultant track somehow manages to simultaneously be easygoing yet motivating at the same time, which is perfect given the context. "DONDEN" meanwhile ups the intensity somewhat and is reminiscent of the epic rock-orchestral battle themes found on more conventional fighting soundtracks. "Fighting Man" also undergoes an interesting development from the dark introduction to the upbeat core. While they're far from fan favorites, this track and "Escape" unexpectedly receives a bonus arrangement at the end of the soundtrack too. Though they're decent, it's pity the awesome yet absent last battle theme couldn't have been used in its place.

There is nevertheless a fair amount of diversity elsewhere on the soundtrack. "Eden" is an imitation of commercial smooth jazz with its laidback pacing and blend of acoustic and synthesised elements. Yet while it could have been disgusting, it's actually very pleasant and atmospheric, especially with the acoustic guitar performances and scenic bird tweets. "Island" enters another area in the jazz world with its Latin-inspired rhythms and saxophone melodies. Yet despite the exotic setting, there are still some slightly sinister vibes featured here. The final dungeon theme "Castle in the Sky" is another track that has a slightly more downbeat and ambient feel, but is nowhere near dull or aseptic. In fact, this is several tracks modelled off the Chrono Trigger soundtrack, namely "Black Omen"; while some such tracks on the full release are awkward and blatant, the inspiration is more subtle here and there's a great upbeat twist.

There are several major tracks to round off the soundtrack. "An Offering to the Dragon" is the main rendition of the main theme, initially exposed in the brief and unremarkable "Opening"; the melancholy string melody and deep synthy accompaniment make a much bigger emotional impact here and there is also a fascinating evolution into a more uplifting section towards the end. "Stairs ~Ending~" is a short piano-based track that features increasingly elaborate orchestration. As the track progresses, there is a recapitulation of "An Offering to the Dragon" which is surprisingly touching. More disappointing is the ending vocal theme, "Pure Again", with its derivative J-Pop stylings. The use of the composers themselves as vocalists doesn't quite work here, although they put in good efforts. What's more, the instrumentals are largely quite derivative and repetitive, despite a decent guitar solo.


Overall, the Breath of Fire III soundtrack is an interesting twist on RPG soundtrack conventions. Though it features the usual set of setting, dungeon, and scenario themes, they're all different from the norm with their jazz stylings and upbeat nature. However, the one disc soundtrack release for the game features many notable omissions and obnoxious bonuses. Consumers would be wise to consider whether they want to go for the full box set release instead, despite its filler and pricetag.


Music in game


Chris Greening


Of the Breath of Fire games that have been created, the third installment probably has the most atypical RPG soundtrack of the series. Rather than the archetypal orchestra music, Breath of Fire III radiates a jazzy, upbeat sound that is expertly delivered by Yoshino Aoki and Akari Kaida. The fact that nearly the entire album is comprised of jazz might have you wondering at how well it could possibly fit the atmosphere of the RPG genre, but I can tell you that it's a more than welcome change. And to keep the score interesting, many of the related genres of contemporary jazz (such as big band, blues, Latin, funk, etc.) are exploited to expand the variety. The composers have taken standard jazz elements and used them to effectively impart a number of emotions, none of which is hindered by the genre's carefree and lighthearted stereotype.


I'll start by pointing out a very grievous injustice that this album was dealt: over half the music from the game was omitted, leaving out many classic tunes such as the forest theme, the victory fanfare, the Wyndia theme, the second overworld music, and even the final battle among many more. This aside, I can at least say that the selection includes many of the best tracks from the game, and therefore, is at least a partially redeeming quality to warrant the purchase of this CD. However, completists out there may wish to consider purchasing the Breath of Fire Original Soundtrack Special Box instead, featuring all three discs of Breath of Fire III's music.

The opening theme is calm and steady, presenting the main theme. The theme itself is not particularly strong, but allows it to subtly lend itself to a few scattered pieces throughout the album. "Without a Care" is the terrific first overworld music, sporting a great jazz groove with a fantastically sampled funk guitar rhythm. The battle theme is perfectly fitting and very easy to listen to over and over again (a feature not always present in RPG battle music). "Eden" is remarkably smooth and flowing for a synthesized piece of music from the PSX era, delivering a soothing ballad of electric piano, synth pad, flute, guitar, light percussion, and some nice background bird chirping to elaborate on the natural setting that the song accompanies. "My Favorite Trick" is delightfully enjoyable with a catchy and sprightly bell melody, and is easily among the highlights of the album. "Escape", being action-oriented and fast-paced, is a good example of where the composers get creative with a normally standardized RPG scene. It's full of all kinds of jazz elements, yet maintains the steady adrenaline thrill of escaping an enemy — something that you wouldn't under normal circumstances attribute to this style of music.

Considering some further highlights, "The Insane Warriors" is an endlessly fun track, returning with the excellent funk guitar and a great hip-hop rhythm. "Life's a Beach" is representative of a lot of the soundtrack for its joyful and optimistic tonality, and is one of the stronger pieces of the score. "Decisive Battle" starts out unassuming, then builds in tension until the section about forty seconds in when strings take the melody. A wonderfully clever rhythmic idea occurs here when in every second bar of the four-bar melodic phrase the snare drum breaks into a tactful triplet decrescendo which leaves the rest of the music for that measure suspended in a gliding, weightless motion. Compositional devices like this really keep the soundtrack interesting, and fortunately for the listener, show up all over the place. "Ending" is pleasant enough, though it could've been a lot longer to display more of the lovely piano, oboe, horn, and string phrases present in the fleeting one-and-a-half minutes the piece offers. Following the ending theme are arranged versions of "Escape" and "Fighting Man", both of which reiterate their corresponding songs with enhanced samples and the typical electronic remix percussion. They could've been better, but something is better than nothing (and at least they chose two of the better pieces to arrange).

To wrap up the soundtrack, "Pure Again (Staff Roll)" is a hip-hop/funk/fusion piece with fairly decent Japanese vocals. While I have no outright complaints about the song itself, I feel it just doesn't belong on a soundtrack full of intelligent jazz and otherwise above-average music. The last item on my list of gripes is the version of the boss battle, "Battle in the Coming Days ~SE Collection~". As the title implies, this is a recording of the boss music with a string of obnoxious and evidently randomized battle sound effects playing throughout almost the entire track. This detestable perversion of "Battle in the Coming Days" was distasteful as well as just plain unwelcome... though I suppose I am biased, being particularly opposed to having any form of sound effect present on a game soundtrack.


Despite the minor problems I have with this soundtrack, I really feel it deserves a positive conclusion. This is one of the best RPG scores out there, as well as easily one of the better jazz soundtracks for any game. It is intelligent, clever, and thoroughly enjoyable, not to mention just as fantastic when playing the game. It's really a shame to consider what this album could've been had the producers decided to expand it to a rightful triple disc set, but that's not going to stop me from recommending this release for casual fans and hardcore listeners can check out the more complete, and more expensive, box set instead.


Music in game


Joe Schwebke

Composition (incomplete)

Akari Kaida: 1, 4, 22, 26, 29, 31
Yoshino Aoki: 20


Executive Producer : Kenichi Tanaka (CAPCOM)
Producer : Mareo Yamada (CAPCOM)
                 Katsutoshi Eguchi (first smile)

All Songs Composed & Arranged by : Akira Kaida (CAPCOM)
                                                       Yoshino Aoki (CAPCOM)

Sound Designer : Nariyuki Nobuyama (CAPCOM)
Public Relation : Makoto Ito (first smile)
                        Takehiro Zin-goo-ji (first smile)

Mastering Studio : HARION

Mastering Engineer : Yoshihiko Ando

Art Direction : Toshiaki Ishii (brahman)

Art Work : Yuji Kameo (brahman)

                         RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT STAFF
                         ALL CAPCOM STAFF

"PURE AGAIN" : Lyrics & Music by Akari Kaida
                        Vocals are Akari Kaida and Yoshino Aoki
                        Produced by Akari Kaida

The Game Continues ~Real Jazz Style~ : Arranged by Tomohiro Masuda (CAPCOM)

"PURE AGAIN" Music Engraved by Hidenori Shinohara (CAPCOM)
Album was composed by Akari Kaida / Yoshino Aoki and was released on September 19, 1997. Soundtrack consists of 31 tracks tracks with duration over more than hour. Album was released by first smile.

CD 1

Opening ~Opening the Gate~
Half Done is Not Done
Without a Care in the World
Do your Best!
Country Life
Feel-Good Sunny Days Like This
Hit and Run
Half Asleep
My Favorite Trick
Extreme Martial Arts Tournament
Fighting Man
People and Cats and Birds and Sea Lice
The Game Continues
Steam Locomotion
Atomic Power
Dedicated to the Dragons ~Main Theme~
Uncertain Millennium
Castle High Up in the Sky
Tomorrow too a Battle Awaits ~SE Collection~
Ending ~Stairs~
Flight - Once Again
The Game Continues ~Real jazz style~
Sigh of the Fairy ~KOTOMONASHI Acid jazz style~
Fighting Man ~Garland's Theme~
PURE AGAIN ~Staff Roll~
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