Mobile Suit Gundam Climax UC–OST Review
Gundam games have a tendency to be extremely mediocre and not fun to play due to clunky control systems, horrendous framerate and/or mindrending voice acting. Climax UC is thankfully not THAT mediocre and the soundtrack is relatively noteworthy.
Just briefly on the game, Climax UC takes a player through the stories of 8 different television/movie series via missions and redone FMVs of scenes which were in the original shows. The 8 series in question are 0079 mobile suit gundam, 0080 War in the Pocket, 08th MS team, 0083 Stardust Memories, MSG: Zeta, ZZ, Char’s Counterattack and F91. Although there were far too few missions to give justice to some of these shows and I would have preferred if all of the UC series were included (crossbone, victory etc), the game made itself worth the trouble through those beautiful FMV cutscenes and the OP. Bandai had gone to the trouble of taking footage from the original shows and redoing them with subtle celshading. I’m not sure how to describe it but this video might give a rough idea.
Climax UC OP
Climax UC launches with a roaring start, treating players with a phenomenal opening video which is complemented by the most (imo) epic track in the entire soundtrack. At the cost of sounding a little too bombastic, the opening track makes an attempt at communicating the long, deep history of the universal century to the player. Those who have read my other reviews would know that I really like songs which tell a story…this one tries to tell EIGHT stories. The beginning gently brings you through imagery of the construction of gundams and jumps straight into intense mecha ACTION interspersed with images of locales left empty due to the countless wars which rage on in the UC universe. As each main mobile suit makes its appearance and gets its seconds of screentime.
When I watch this opening FMV, I can really feel the desperation, hopes and fears of each and every conflict and somehow it’s not just mechap0rn. Maybe it’s because I’m a major gunota, maybe it’s because I’ve watched most of these series…or maybe it’s because this opening movie is just absolute win =3
Tobe Gundam – Arranged
It’s really just Tobe Gundam (0079 OP) played with electric guitars and it’s fairly lighthearted and definitely a tribute to the original series. However, it’s not particularly impressive and I have heard much better renditions of Tobe! Gundam!
This is one of the ‘original’ battle themes which you hear during missions. There’s a fair bit more desperation in this one compared to the others and towards the middle, the recurring theme from the opening track jumps in. My memory fails me but I vaguely remember this track specifically playing in the bonus mission at the end of the game (or timelines?). Lots of variation throughout the track kept me interested and I’d happily listen to this standalone 3 or 4 times before getting sick of it.
Heavy heavy electric guitar playing what sounds to me like a rearranged version of the opening track. The use of electric guitar certainly gives the song a much more ‘modern’ feel to it compared to the historical epic sound you hear from the OP. Though enjoyable to listen to as well as play a mission with, I think this track relies on nostalgia to be pleasant.
Triumphant music with some e guitar mixed in. What can I say…smells like victory =)
Twilight warfare track. Imagine your base camp under attack by the dual shotgun-wielding kampfer while someone has stolen the prototype Gundam that has a nuke in its pocket and YOU have to fight them with an rx-78 knock-off. This track starts out sounding fairly mundane but soon becomes much much more. The e guitar takes a backseat in this one, allowing you to hear the crazy string, brass, percussion, synth and piano layering.
Game over/Defeat track. I do recommend listening to the whole thing as I found the lead violin’s performance to be full of emotion.
Winds of the Universal Century
After being stunned into a stupour by the awesomeness of the opening movie, this song wakes you up with a BANG as you go into the main menu. I believe it is trying to keep that feeling of epic from the OP so you start your missions on a high.
The evil/bad guy mission music. It doesn’t come close to Darth Vader’s imperial march but hey it sounds suitably evil and even has that march-y nazi feel to it.
This is heard when you’re flipping through your rewards/achievements. It is lighthearted and full of synth and again you can hear the composer’s ability at layering his music which to me sounds like a crazy mishmash of seemingly random sounds that somehow magically come together coherently.
Thinking of Past Days
Now you get to hear a track that’s suddenly VERY different from the previous tracks. The saxophone leads this time accompanied by piano and what you get is a slightly western-sounding piece. The way the melody flows is like that of a vocal song and when I close my eyes, it’s as if I’m sitting in an elegant restaurant and the jazz quartet is playing an instrumental of a classic song.
Most of the bgms used in the game are rearrangements of tracks taken out of the original television series but when it comes to original pieces, climax UC’s soundtrack is of an unusually good quality. I went into the game expecting the original bgms to be low budget rubbish but was instead treated to at least two or three unforgettable songs and now that I’ve dug it up again, I have to say the ost’s gone and suprised me yet another time. Almost every track was good stuff, especially bgm-32 and thinking of past days.
Well, it’s time to file away those good memoriesand wrap up this review! I think the unknown composer did an excellent job and I’d like to know who he is so that I can go find more of his works to listen to. MechaPot gives the Climax UC OST a 3.5 out of 5.