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Guilty Gear XX Λ Core Plus Soundtrack :: Review by Don

Guilty Gear XX Λ Core Plus Soundtrack Album Title: Guilty Gear XX Λ Core Plus Soundtrack
Record Label: Aksys Games
Catalog No.: Promotional
Release Date: April 7, 2009
Purchase: Buy at Aksys Games Store


Guilty Gear XX Λ Core Plus is the most recent incarnation of the acclaimed fighting game Guilty Gear XX. Thanks to Aksys Games, it recent made its way on to the PlayStation 2 overseas and a bonus item with all copies of the game was this CD. This album features a range of new and old character themes from Daisuke Ishiwatari's hard rock soundtracks for the series. The majority of the items come from the definitive Guilty Gear XX Original Soundtrack, though some samples are also given of music from the Guilty Gear XX Λ Core - Secret Gig, Guilty Gear Sound Complete Box, and Guilty Gear XX #Reload Korean Version Original Soundtrack. Is this bonus album a very good reason to pick up an already excellent game? Read on to find out...


A lot of popular character themes from Guilty Gear and Guilty Gear X make a return here. The arrangements bear close resemblance to those in the Guilty Gear X Heavy Rock Tracks, exhibiting a much rawer sound and greater focus on the electric guitar. "Holy Orders (Be Just or Be Dead)" has been in the Guilty Gear series since the beginning. 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. "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.

There are also some original character themes offered in Guilty Gear XX. "Simple Life," the theme for Bridget, is a slower rock composition, with some piano accents here and there. The overall melody is rather strong and is a great addition to the series' music. It helps to create this feeling of bliss. Another character, Slayer, has a theme that resembles "The Original" in terms of instrumentation. "Haven't You Got Eyes in Your Head?" is a nice combination of electric guitar and saxophone. The overall jazzy feeling is even stronger in this piece. One of my favorites, "Good Manners and Customs", belongs to perhaps the most interesting of characters, Zappa. It's an awesome combination of electric guitar, complete with solo, organ, and some nice synth work. It has the most infectious melody of all the character themes, and helps go nicely with the nature of his character. I-No's theme, "Kagematsuri (Festival of Shadows)," is rather standard for the series. Heavy focus on the electric guitar, with very little development in other instruments, it still provides a nice listen.

As well as samples from the Guilty Gear XX Original Soundtrack, there are a few themes sourced from other discs. "Launch Out" is the opening theme to Guilty Gear XX Λ Core Plus written exclusively for the enhancement. It's actually the only non-character theme featured on the album and previously featured on the Secret Gig promotional album. It's a rather short theme focused on strings and electric guitar that doesn't really pick up until the latter half, but the guitar solo that follows redeems it a bit. An interesting choice was to include a piece from the Guilty Gear XX #Reload Korean Version Original Soundtrack composed by a Korean band. This version of "Holy Orders" for Robo-Ky manages to keep the melody of Ishiwatari's version while also being completely different with its distorted electronic features. Truly bizarre. Finally there are two character themes from Guilty Gear XX: Slash as featured in the series' box set. Ishiwatari's "Get Down to Business" is a fairly creative take on Sol's theme that I find a tad irksome at times. Far better is Masaomi Kikuchi's original theme for A.B.A., "Keep in Gates", which is an awesome ride with its blend of organ, strings, synth chorals, and some heavy guitar riffs.


Overall, the Guilty Gear XX Λ Core Plus Soundtrack is a very worthwhile bonus with the game. It features the majority of the themes from the Guilty Gear XX Original Soundtrack, including the classic and new character themes. I already regard that as the definitive Guilty Gear soundtrack since it offers improved sound, so much energy, and plenty of great themes, so it's fantastic that this bonus album is able to recapture its greatness. The tracks taken from places outside the Guilty Gear XX Original Soundtrack are very hit and miss in my opinion, but at least demonstrate some experimentation and diversity in the series. There are a few absences, such as staff roll themes, the unreleased tracks "Pride and Glory" and "Meet Again", or the Secret Gig exclusive "Keep the Flag Flying", but these aren't too notable. Thanks to this promo album, Aksys Games have given one more reason to tempt domestic gamers to check out one of the best fighting games ever made. That's unless of course you have the Guilty Gear XX Original Soundtrack already in which case it'll be a minor, perhaps frustrating, collector's item.

Overall Score: 8/10