A fine RPG soundtrack.
Reader review by Daniel K
Brave Fencer Musashiden is an action RPG for the PlayStation. Usually, I have found that it's the action RPGs that have the best soundtracks in the RPG genre. There is just some kind of adventurous, youthful power found in them that seems to be lacking in the slower, more complex RPGs (like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest). And even though Brave Fencer Musashiden Original Soundtrack doesn't quite reach the high ranks of such classics as Kikuta's Seiken Densetsu scores, Nakano's Dewprism, or Kobayashi and Hikichi's Terranigma, composer Tsuyoshi Sekito still did a fine job with this music.
The main focus is on orchestral music. Sekito manages to walk a thin line between a soft, playful sound and a more complex, mature one. This music could easily have turned out silly, like many other "funny" soundtracks often do, but the composer manages to keep the comical tone needed for the kind of game that BFM is and still make it sound "big" and "epic". Quite an achievement. Being orchestral game synth from way back in 1998, the music suffers a bit from that nagging, cheesy synth that was commonplace in many earlier 32-bit-soundtracks. It doesn't sound quite as bad as, say Final Fantasy 7, but it's still noticeable. This might turn some people away, but personally I find the music good enough to easily overcome this little weakness. Pieces like "The Musashi Legend" and "Twin Mountains" are just so good, you can have tracks like these on repeat for an hour and they still wouldn't become boring.
A lot of the music is comprised of scenario music, when characters talk with each other or certain story events happen. These kind of tracks range from happy, care-free and whimsy to dark, ominous and dramatic, and everywhere in-between. While they no doubt work wonders to enhance the storyline in-game, they sometimes feel a little boring to listen to on the CD. If you like film music more than I do, though, you might very well like these pieces very much.
The best part of the OST, in my opinion, is that comprised of the ordinary BGM, the tracks that play when you search the various villages, forests, dungeons, caves, etc. in the game. Sekito really has a gift for great, melodic choruses, which shows in these tracks. I already mentioned "The Musashi Legend" and "Twin Mountains". Other great ones are "The White Cloud In The Sky", "Forest Of Sleep", "The Only Friend", and "Snow Labyrinth". These compositions might not be quite as atmospheric as I would sometimes have wished them to be, but what they lack in atmosphere they make up for in powerful, direct melodies. Many of the BGM tracks remind me of older game music, where the crappy synth made the composers focus on creating as memorable themes as they could. It goes without saying that I recommend all "old-school" game music fans to at least check this music out.
While the largest portion of the music is geared towards orchestral music, there is still plenty of variety. There are some nice, fast techno tracks, for example, like the awesome "Corona Jumper", "The Steamwood Gone Haywire!", and the very cheesy "Topo's Groove Heaven". The techno tracks of course sound very different from the orchestral ones, but the root is the same - Sekito focuses on great melodies.
The soundtrack covers 78 tracks in all over two discs. Even though there are so many tracks, there are a few missing from the game, like the castle theme, the night village theme, and some others. Regardless, Brave Fencer Musashiden OST is probably one of the best soundtracks to come out of Squaresoft during the PlayStation era. While not quite up to the mark of Dewprism or Legend of Mana, it still is very impressive. Warmly recommended to anyone looking for some nice adventure-type music.