Panzer Dragoon soundtrack review

I have four more weeks left in my run with USgamer before I go solo and try in earnest to turn this podcast and site into something capable of providing me with a living (or else admitting failure and going into, I dunno, real estate or something). Think of the next 20 work days as a sort of, I dunno, farewell tour. And I’ve kicked it off the only way I know how: By writing about something extremely esoteric and extremely retro in nature. Namely, Data Discs’s recent release of the Panzer Dragoon soundtrack as a double 45rpm vinyl LP set. Because why not go all in when I’m on the way out?

It’s a fantastic release, even by the admittedly high standards of Data Discs. I played through Panzer Dragoon a very, very long time ago, but for whatever reason its music never stuck with me. Going back now and listening to it in this context, I love what I hear. It’s very… well, I can’t think of any other way to describe it except “very ’90s.” But in a good way! Not a bad, cheesy way. There are passages here that remind me of Mega Man Legends —  this one synthesizer hit with a multilayered sound I can’t really describe that both games use — as well as tracks that feel like they served as the basis for huge chunks of the Skies of Arcadia soundtrack, too. But it works most of all as a great collection of music in its own right.

Altogether, the Panzer Dragoon soundtrack feels nostalgic in a way completely different from chiptunes and Super NES or Genesis music. It’s good stuff and I strongly recommend it to anyone who’s into great game music and ever listens to vinyl. But hey, don’t take my word for it; take my word for it.

2 Comments

Filed under Music, Retrogaming News

2 Responses to Panzer Dragoon soundtrack review

  1. Nathan Daniels

    I owned all of the Saturn Panzer Dragoon titles back in the day, and they all had beautiful, alienating music that perfectly complimented the feel of the world in which they were set. I believe PD marked the first time I’d ever heard live orchestration in a video game. I can still recall the feeling of exhilaration and wonder I felt watching that Dragon fly over the water and through the ruined buildings, all to the wide-eyed, wonder-eliciting sound of “Flight”.

    Perhaps my favorite music in the series comes from PD Zwei. It doesn’t have any of the live orchestration of the original, but the tracks are also thematically consistent, and musically unlike anything I’d heard before. It perfectly fits the feeling of the game. Most polygon games haven’t aged well, but PDZ still manages to elicit that feeling of wonder today, even through its crude visuals.

    One bit of ephemera: I remember a review of PDZ from the time of its release(EGM or Gamefan) in which the reviewer commented: ‘Rumor has it that Panzer Dragoon was the most expensive game ever produced. Judging by the presentation of this game, I’d guess it cost a lot more’.

    He made the comment based on the graphics and immersive nature of the games, although I’m sure Panzer Dragoon’s high production costs were primarily due to the cost of orchestration, and possibly also the cost of having Möebius handle the character design.

  2. I love this soundtrack. I picked up the Japanese OST CD a few years back. To me it recalls the transition from 16 bit to 32 bit (And memories of Blockbuster Video).

    It was the first game I saw of that era that immediately transported me into another world and captured my attention. The opening theme on first level is just perfect.