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Game music of the day: Xenogears

Welcome to GamesRadar's daily blast of all things pertaining to the ever-growing field of game music. Each post will introduce new sounds, games, composers and fan-made remixes of gaming's greatest aural achievements.

June 4, 2010

Game: Xenogears

Song: Balto

Composer: Yasunori Mitsuda

Above: Balto from Xenogears

It's not often that a million-selling, critically acclaimed RPG fails to spawn a sequel, but that's precisely the case with Xenogears. Despite its lengthy quest,unique visual styleand typically excellent soundtrack from Yasunori Mitsuda, it managed to elude Squaresoft's sequel machine. So, it stands to reason that if you weren't around for its debut, you may have missed one of the PlayStation's strongest audio works.

Balto, heard above, is technically not found in Xenogears. Instead, it's from an arranged album called "Creid,"which is a robust re-imagining of Xenogear's tunes, though still through the mind of its original composer. The game always had a Celtic/Irish vibe, and Balto really drives it home. The first half is quite somber and laid back, but soon after you'll be pulled in to an upbeat dance that has surely played over more than a few festive jigs.

Above: Fan-made tribute to Xenogears, starring the vocal "Star of Tears"

Full disclosure: I've never played Xenogears. Not once. But I've listened to the soundtrack over and over, a true testament to how strong this OST really is. Mitsuda reportedlycollapsedfrom exhaustion during the creation process; sad news, but the effort is apparent. It's led to two masterful tribute albums, one fromOverClocked ReMixand another fromThe OneUps. Yet through all of these songs, Balto is the one I remember best. It's so happy, so unrelentingly positive that I listen to it any time I'm in a dreadful, unshakable mood.

To date, Xenosaga has never been released in PAL areas, nor has it been released on the PlayStation Network outside of Japan. Get on that, will ya?

Time's Scar, another brilliant piece from Mitsuda

Title screen by David Wise

Game music of the day: Star Fox
Ending theme by Hajime Hirasawa