The Megami Tensei Gaiden Last Bible Soundtrack is the first release of the Game Music Discovery series released by Supersweep. The aim of this Discovery series is to publish soundtracks for games that, for the most part, did not see soundtrack releases when they were released. Composed by Hiroyuki Yanada and Iwao Mitsunaga, it features the music in its original format, when the game was released on the Game Boy in 1992. How does the first release of the Discovery series turn out?
"Opening," a beautiful chiptune melody starts the album. The atmosphere of the music is both exotic and mysterious. There are some clear passages that give off a distinct Arabian sort of sound while the slower sections of the music tend to sound whimsical and airy. It's an extremely well-crafted piece of music. "Terra" is another mysterious tune, yet at the same time, there is definitely a sense of heroism surrounding it. A very calming melody is in the forefront of the piece, while serving as accompaniment, a series of arpeggios help add to the heroic nature.
Of course, there are a variety of designated tracks for the locations which you'll traverse. When I think of town themes, I hope to hear something jovial or peaceful in nature, or at the very least, something that defines the tune. Fortunately, "Town" manages to carry with it a very playful nature with a strong melody. The accompaniment is quite nice as well and reminds me a bit of a folksy sort of sound. Sadly, I'm not the biggest fan of "Temple." It doesn't really feature a strong melody, and the other elements, when all mixed together, sound like a cacophony of sound. I don't mind cacophony of sound every now and then, but it's not at all what I expect from temple music. Fortunately, "Field" makes up for the lackluster "Temple" by providing a very adventurous and explorative atmosphere. There is a very heroic atmosphere heard in the melody line and I really like the harmonies featured in the composition. They help reinforce once another and lift the composition to something quite special.
I remember hearing "Dungeon" arranged on Megaten World ~ Goddess World, at least, in portion. It opens up with a very slick bass groove before moving into a very calm, yet mysterious, melody line. In the end, it's another solid composition that really manages to capture this wonderful atmosphere, thanks to the various chiptune elements heard in it. "Zord Nest" has an intriguing atmosphere to it. I presume it's another dungeon theme and it does have a very fitting atmosphere for that, but I find the progression to be rather interesting. It opens up with an almost cheery sound before moving into a melody that definitely carries with it a sense of burden. The opening bass line reminds me a bit of the Mission Impossible theme, but overall, it's a pretty decent theme.
Of course, every RPG needs battle themes and fortunately, these all deliver! "Battle" has a very progressive rock sound to it. There's a slick bass line and the melody line is all over the place. It's got a very upbeat and almost happy presence about it, but the quicker melody lines really help give it a "This is a keyboard" sort of mentality. It's a solid battle track. "Boss Battle" has a very tense atmosphere and that's one of its greatest strengths. It's another piece that is written with progressive rock in mind. The chiptune keyboard glisses are fantastic and I love how some of the composition has some worldly influences as well. It's a great mixture of elements and it really helps make this theme quite strong.
The final battle theme, "Lucifer," isn't like most final battle themes. Rather than having a very dark and menacing sound, there is definitely more of a heroic nature to it. As with the other battle themes, there is definitely a progressive rock feel, but at the same time, the airy nature of the B section in this theme manages to also give it a neo-classical kind of sound, in an archaic way. The end result is unusual for a final battle theme, but the composition is quite solid. The album closes on with "Ending." This is a nice blend of both heroic and peaceful passages. It signifies the end of a long journey and the defeat of a dark evil. The whimsical melody helps create such an atmosphere and in the end, is what really makes this track quite strong.
In the end, I think that the Megami Tensei Gaiden Last Bible Soundtrack is a very solid score for an early Game Boy RPG. Although the soundtrack is quite short, please keep in mind that most scores back then didn't rely on long and elaborate themes, as they do these days. Fortunately, although there is only about 25 minutes of music on this CD, the price is much more reflective of the content, rather than the full price of a CD. I think this is quite smart of Supersweep as it allows older music to be published and heard for cheaper prices. Of course, I would have liked to see a few remixes on the album, similar to that of the Operation Ragnarok, which is part of the Game Music Discovery series as well, but in the end, the soundtrack is definitely worth getting if you are a fan of solid RPG chiptunes.