Epica Stella Original Soundtrack

Epica Stella Original Soundtrack. Front. Click to zoom.
Epica Stella Original Soundtrack
Front
Composed by Тиёмару Сикура / Human Sound Team / Kouji Niikura / Масафуми Такада
Arranged by Тиёмару Сикура / Kouji Niikura / Масафуми Такада
Published by first smile
Catalog number FSCA-10052
Release type Game Soundtrack - Official Release
Format 1 CD - 34 tracks
Release date September 18, 1998
Duration 01:03:33
Genres
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Overview

Vanguard Bandits, released in Japan as Epica Stella, was a moderately popular strategy RPG made by Human Entertainment shortly before its death. Crafted by Koji Nikura, Chiyomaru Shikura, and Masafumi Takada, the game's score was far less serious than most strategy RPGs. Instead of reflecting the danger of combat, it tried to endear to listeners with its motivating vocal tracks and light-hearted instrumental tracks. Did it succeed?

Body

The start of the score is dominated by the vocal tracks. Present in two variations, Koji Nikura's "Believe My Heart" is a generic anime-style opening theme featuring high-pitched female vocals and punchy piano-centred instrumentals. It's still potentially enjoyable with its catchy melody and colourful development for those who like that sort of thing. Chiyomaru Shikura's "Together" is another uplifting gem. It has a harder edge than "Believe My Heart" with its slightly more mature vocalist and rock instrumentals, but is still very feathery overall. Masafumi Takada attempts something a little more deep for the ending theme in "Tomorrow to Start", but doesn't quite succeed. The blend of female vocals and electric piano sounds too aseptic to be expressive while the violin dabs sound totally out of place.

The instrumental tracks are mostly very light-hearted too. "Future" brings a synth orchestra to the forefront, but uses it in a very poppy way to create one of the defining anthems in the soundtrack. A lot of the tracks are even more superficial than this, such as "Crossing the Hill", "Pipipin", and "Cheerful Mood", and would sounds extraordinarily cheery even on a dating simulation. A small stock of such light-hearted themes certainly makes an RPG more attractive, but the whole experience becomes one-dimensional when the score ends up being littered with them.

Although a light-hearted soundtrack overall, there are a few tracks that reflect the intensity of the storyline. "At the End of the Battle" certainly commands listeners with its brisk marching rhythms and sorrowful wind leads. "An Icy Glance" and "Anxiety" meanwhile are slow-building tension theme that makes an impact in whatever scene it is used in. "Liveliness" and "A Hole" get gamers into a battling spirit with their epic organ progressions and resolute rhythms. They recount yet more clichés from classic RPGs, but at least they're well done.

Other action themes like "Enthusiasm" and "Time For the Battle" sound like they belong on a Super Nintendo RPG with their light rock vibe and dated synth. This will be a good thing for a lot of old-school fans out there and their melodies are sufficiently decent to carry them. However, they are so formulaic deep down and lack the personality of true classics. They could almost be created with automatic composition software given how strongly they adhere to timeworn conventions. A possible exception is the final battle theme "Ruin". In this one, the keyboard melodies really glide and the punchy syncopated accompaniment does its job well too. The organ influence is also welcome and helps to tie the score together.

Summary

Overall, the Vanguard Bandits soundtrack sounds more like it belongs to a light-hearted Super Nintendo RPG than a serious PlayStation strategy game. This isn't necessarily a bad thing for game music fans out there, but it does result in some very generic and dated tracks. That said, there are probably enough strong melodies and highlight themes for the soundtrack to be worth it for those who prefer the light rock and pop soundtracks of old. It is far from the best of its type, but should suffice for those looking for something familiar.



Album
6/10

Music in game
0/10

Game
0/10

Chris Greening

Tracks 1, 2, and 33 composed and arranged by Kouji Niikura.
Tracks 3 and 7 composed and arranged by Chiyomaru Shikura.
Track 34 composed and arranged by Masafumi Takada.
All other music by Human Sound Team.

believe my heart
Composition: Kouji Niikura
Arrangement: Kouji Niikura
Lyrics: Kouji Niikura
Vocals: Yuko Nagashima

TOGETHER
Composition: Chiyomaru Shikura
Arrangement: Chiyomaru Shikura
Lyrics: Chiyomaru Shikura
Vocals: Ai Maeda

Tomorrow to start
Composition: Masafumi Takada
Arrangement: Masafumi Takada
Lyrics: Chiyomaru Shikura
Vocals: Yukiko Mannaka
Album was composed by Тиёмару Сикура / Human Sound Team / Kouji Niikura / Масафуми Такада and was released on September 18, 1998. Soundtrack consists of 34 tracks tracks with duration over more than hour. Album was released by first smile.

CD 1

1
believe my heart - 1
01:36
2
believe my heart - 2
01:36
3
TOGETHER
03:08
4
At the End of the Battle
02:51
5
The Future
02:59
6
Trembling Heart
00:34
7
TOGETHER (Short ver.)
00:41
8
Stage Clear
00:07
9
Level Up
00:07
10
Game Over
00:15
11
Crossing the Hill
01:01
12
Cheerful Mood
01:57
13
Liveliness
02:00
14
Going Beyond
01:56
15
If I Could Ride A Cloud
02:04
16
Broken Wing
02:09
17
Pipipin
02:55
18
Faraway
02:55
19
An Icy Glance
02:21
20
Inside A Dream
02:21
21
Time For the Battle
02:29
22
Towards the Rainbow
01:58
23
A Hole
02:49
24
Anxiety
02:27
25
Kingdom Theme
01:21
26
Empire Theme
01:14
27
Ruuta Plays the Fool
01:59
28
Day After Day Nothing Happens
01:14
29
destiny
02:09
30
A Walk
01:55
31
Enthusiasm
01:39
32
Ruin
01:48
33
believe my heart (Orgel ver.)
01:57
34
Tomorow to start
03:01
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