Our countdown continues as number 9 of 10, Terrangima, is chosen. Here is another more or less obscure RPG with a soundtrack that does nothing less than amaze. I give a large amount of credit to SNES games for each having their own unique “sound” between the same instruments and Terranigma definitely has an astounding otherworldly tone that pulls you away. Composed by Miyoko Kobayashi and Masanori Hikichi, Terranigma is truly set in another world.
The most stirring feature of the Terranigma soundtrack is the use of the Xylophone and Crystal SFX that punctuates so many of the tracks. Sometimes the Crystal will be a high ethereal tone that dips into the continually flowing strings(Sadness), or sometimes it becomes a continuous melody like dripping water that is then built upon by flute or drums (Evergreen Forest).
(Later post-note looking back) “Sadness” has since made my top 10 list of sad songs, and I think it would take a lot even now to knock it off.
Sadness (Beyond the Sealed Door)
Another standout feature of Terranigma is the percussion. Throughout the soundtrack drums seem almost absent, which is the brilliance of the game. Except for a few tracks where the drums play a central role, and to great effect I would add, they otherwise carefully fill in and accent songs without monopolizing the sonic space – Leaving the higher, melody-carrying strings to maintain the ethereal atmosphere. This masterful manipulation can be seen best in the end theme, but I’ll get to that later.
You can see in the track (Zue) that drums are a powerful force below the music, but they are masked by the interplay of the flute and crystal sounds very well. This can be seen again in the adventurous (Leim’s Quest), where the drum’s are covered up by the brass section, bassline, and strings.
Now in tracks where the drums stand out, they really amp up the track. In (City of the Dead) the frantic drum runs instill powerful fear, and the drums in the (Overworld Theme [Arranged]) give the song an upbeat and driving motion that makes you feel as if you’re crossing the world (fitting eh?).
City of the Dead
One of the other noticeable things is that Terranigma even makes an effort on the short cutscene songs, where a simple filler would do, but instead a powerful melody is always chosen.
Finally, I must mention the ending theme to the game. Wow! That’s the easiest way to encompass how mindblowing it is. The song is an arrangement of several themes throughout the game, mainly the intro, and it is incredibly powerful. It has all the careful percussion and crystal sfx accentuation and it uses the strings to full effect. I really don’t want to break it down because listening only does it justice.