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Front Mission 3 Original Soundtrack :: Review by Z-Freak

Front Mission 3 Original Soundtrack Album Title: Front Mission 3 Original Soundtrack
Record Label: DigiCube
Catalog No.: SSCX-10035
Release Date: September 22, 1999
Purchase: Buy at Game Music Online


In 1999, Square Enix was busy developing their third Front Mission title, at least strategy-RPG wise. Similar to when they hired Riow Arai for Front Mission Alternative in 1997, they were willing to take another chance and hire composers outside the company. So, the duo of Koji Hayama (Cho Aniki) and Hayato Matsuo (Ogre Battle, Dragon Force II) were brought in for a breath of fresh air music-wise. Personally, I felt both composers did a great job, although I prefer Matsuo a bit more as he wrote the orchestral pieces. On the other hand, Hayama uses the score to showcase his techno talent.

Disc One

For Disc One, the first track that grabbed my attention was the guitar-driven "Starting," composed by Koji Hayama; it has all the good stuff — great composition, lovely sound, and it just sounds plain cool! This was used during the sequence of testing the Wanzers' strength and abilities in the laboratory. "The Bar" is a catchy jazz lounge track, much like Matsueda's works in the series and Racing Lagoon. Matsuo gets the atmosphere just right with this piece. Relax, and have a drink or two while you listen to this track. The "Setup" and "Setup 1" themes are both composed in techno style and do sound a tad repetitive, yet they're still catchy. The same goes for "Network." Those themes are played often in the game, so you'll need to get used to them.

The fun really starts with "Invasion," which Matsuo slips in a piano here and there. While the meat of the composition is more techno, it still manages to entrance and keeps the player listening without having to mute the TV. "Impact" sounds like a duel theme to me, as it is fast-paced, very militaristic in nature, and certainly fits the mood of battle. Another note-worthy track is "VS Katatsu." Matsuo adds more than enough variety so you won't lose the focus of your objective. This music is strategy-RPG material at its best, in my opinion.

"Bar (China)" has an very Asian sound to it. I can't describe it too well, but it just sounds so fitting for a Chinese bar or pub. Koji Hayama does the melancholic "Suspicion," which starts with a cello playing an eerie melody that's backed up by a piano; something awful must be going on while this plays. Disc One ends with the great "Attack." It's fast-paced and loads of fun to listen to. You can easily imagine rushing the enemy to this theme; what more could you want?

Disc Two

On the second disc, the first track which really grabbed my attention was "Fort Invasion." Once again, Matsuo exhibits amazing skill at combing techno and orchestral music, but this piece is of a much grander, more epic scale than those on Disc One. You can tell that capturing the enemy fort is a crucial part for winning the war. "Isolation" is one of the most emotional "sad" themes I've ever heard. Matsuo excels in creating emotional as well as battle themes, so this track is a no-brainer.

"Determination", also by Matsuo; is the final boss theme. It delivers wonderfully. You can feel the extreme tension while you hold on for dear life and pray that you survive the onslaught of the gigantic enemy, Wanzer. "Ending" takes the cake as being the most depressing ending theme ever. There are glimpses of hope here and there, but, overall, you can feel the characters aren't quite satisfied with the way the war has gone, even if it ended, too many lives were lost.


So, should you get this soundtrack? If you do, grab it quick! Since DigiCube went bankrupt recently, it is only available in limited quantities. You can get it at Game Music Online for 36$, not bad considering the quality of the music within. I say it is definitely worth it for Matsuo's pieces.