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Guilty Gear X Original Soundtrack :: Review by Don

Guilty Gear X Original Soundtrack Album Title: Guilty Gear X Original Soundtrack
Record Label: First Smile Entertainment
Catalog No.: FSCA-10143
Release Date: September 20, 2000
Purchase: Buy at Game Music Online


Guilty Gear X is a continuation of the first game. As with the predecessor, Daisuke Ishiwatari takes the helms in the composition of the music. In this album, many of the tracks found in Guilty Gear are absent and are replaced with different compositions representing the same character. Are the new themes any better or worse, and does the album overall improve upon the foundation set forth in its predecessor?


Guilty Gear X saw the first push in terms of evolution. May's theme was no longer "Unidentified Child" and became "Blue Water, Blue Sky." Potemkin's theme became "Burly Heart." Testament's theme became "Bloodstained Lineage" while Axl's theme became "Make Oneself." As for these tracks, "Blue Water, Blue Sky" retains that bubbly feel the original held, but it has a much heavier focus on the electric guitar portions. "Burly Heart" probably changed the most. It opens up with a soft synth lead with piano. Once the rock portion comes in, it's heavy on the bass and blends together nicely with the synthesized sections. "Make Oneself" is also a pretty drastic change. Featuring saxophone and piano, in addition to the electric guitar, it has a softer feel than the prior representation for Axl, but it's still pretty good. The focus on the riffs is still present. "Bloodstained Lineage" is a track that I have mixed feelings for. I like how the focus was kept on a multitude of instruments, with a much heavier focus on the electric guitar, but at the same time, I don't think the melody is nearly as good as "A Fixed Idea." It's still enjoyable, but it lacks that edge the other had.

As for the remaining tracks, I'll briefly mention some of them here, as they only receive minor upgrades in future releases, and this is the defining game for the series' themes being kept constant. "Holy Orders (Be Just or Be Dead)" has been in the Guilty Gear series since the beginning. Perhaps one of the most popular pieces of all, it has a very elegant sound to it. The combination of organ, electric guitar, and harpsichord help to give it this aura of holiness, which describes the character rather nicely, but at the same time, it also gives the piece an edge. "Writhe in Pain" is another piece that focuses on combining softer instruments with the guitar. For this piece, piano and organ are the primary additions. It's one of my personal favorites and the melody is quite strong. "The Original" focuses primarily on using a very rhythmic beat, adding some jazz elements into the rock, and in doing so, it creates a nice fusion of sounds. The softer sections contrast nicely with those that feature the electric guitar prominently.

However, jazz isn't the only new style you'll find on this album. In addition, you'll hear some Asian influence in "A Momentary Life," with the inclusion of the shamisen and shakuhachi into its composition. It helps create a nice atmosphere with a bit of contrast to the heavier elements. In addition, you'll also hear piano take a major role in the ending themes. "Calm Passion" can be considered a nice rock ballad, but it features piano in various sections, helping lend to the title's calm demeanor. It's quite the relaxing piece. In addition, "Walk in the Dusk" is a piano composition with some accents in the strings and woodwind department. This is a really soft piece, and although it contrasts with the whole of the album, it's a nice addition. There are many other guitar pieces on this album as well, each with their own unique flavor, and many of them are great listens; however, I won't be covering them in this review.


Overall, the compositions in Guilty Gear X are improvements over their predecessors. Unfortunately, some of the replacement themes, particularly "Bloodstained Lineage," aren't as good at capturing the atmosphere and tone as in the original themes for the characters. The improved sound quality is a plus, as are the addition of new character themes, but some people may be put off by the fact that some of the new themes aren't as good as some of the older ones.

Overall Score: 8/10