Oct 052016


ROCKTOBER RETURNS with a month of sinisiter Shin Megami Tensei tunes! We begin with a trio of Super Famicom titles that laid the groundwork for an entire series and its numerous spinoffs, yet never really left Japan. That’s SMT I, II and the lesser known If…

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0:00:00 – Dream (Shin Megami Tensei)

0:08:48 – Arcade Street SFC-PCE-MCD-PSX (SMT)

0:11:51 – Kichijouji SFC-PCE-MCD-PSX (SMT)

0:15:16 – Shibuya SFC-PCE-MCD-PSX (SMT)

0:24:29 – Battle (SMT)

0:26:03 – Boss (SMT)

0:31:58 – Virtual Battle (Shin Megami Tensei II)

0:32:43 – 3D Makai (SMT II)

0:33:57 – Underground (SMT II)

0:40:34 – 2D Makai (SMT II)

0:42:51 – Field (SMT II)

0:43:39 – Battle (SMT II)

0:46:49 – Boss (SMT II)

0:55:08 – Makai Town SFC-PSX (Shin Megami Tensei If…)

0:58:11 – Boss (SMT If…)

1:00:05 – Battle (Akira Volume)

1:05:30 – Staff Roll (SMT If…)

  18 Responses to “VGMpire 123 – SMTober Part One”

  1. When I read SMTober, I thought it was about games so punishing it was like S&M just playing it. Anyway, the music was all really good! In the comparison section, I thought SNES version was the best every time, with the PS version slightly behind.

    There was a ton of variety as well. I mean, the SMT Boss track felt like “Smoke on the Water” channel through Rock n’ Roll Racing…..until it switches up to the Seinfeld bass and 80’s sci-fi anime orch hits, like Kramer piloting a Gunbuster. In the breakdown, when that Tears For Fears vocal synth pad pitch-bends, it starts off sounding like an air raid siren. I was listening to it while at work, doing an electrical installation in an office building. For a second, I thought there was a fire alarm going off.

    The next block–Virtual Battle, 3D Makai and Underground–definitely had that disco feel, or maybe post-disco Thriller era club music. I loved it. It’s SNES bass is at its finest, along with that damped kick drum and disco snare…..so good! I could comment on every track, but I’ll just say that it’s all good, every bit of it. I wouldn’t play these games. But I’d definitely listen to the OSTs.

    Note to Gilbert: Phantasy Star was in no way a western-feeling RPG. Maybe he said it because the dungeons were first-person, but that game is solid 8-bit JRPG to its very core.

  2. Loved the music in this ep, the amount of versions of the original SMT are overwhelming though, dayum!

    I’m a sucker for that SNES bassy-ness, so I appreciated that a lot, too, as well as the city & battle themes. Will have to look into these OSTs.

    The only SMT I ever tried was a fan-translated SMT1 SFC, but I didn’t get very far. The crucified individual and the weird questions the game was asking me was pretty fascinating though! Maybe I would’ve given the mobile version a shot if it was on Android, I dunno.

    Given my JRPG backlog though, I don’t think there’s any way I could fit SMT in at this point. Maybe someday I can get through the original at the very least, just to see what it’s like. I do acknowledge this series as one of the first RPGs to be really outward with its religious themes. I still wonder how titles like BoF2 got past lot-check with Nintendo in ’95 with the ample amount of religious themes there. Perhaps by the time ESRB rolled around, religious themes in third-party games became a non-issue for NoA??

  3. I am so excited for this years rocktober. If I was to look at the SMT franchise as a whole (including Persona) it just might end up being my favorite video game franchise (its definitely my favorite JRPG franchise). Every game in the series is such a bizarre experience that even though most are thematically similar, every go at demonic Tokyo feels very different. Of the games shown this time, my only experience is with the IOS port of the first SMT. I am making my way through it very slowly because it is incredibly archaic and I do have some trouble with the design. Even so as play through the game with a FAQ in hand I’m having a very unique experience. I know Henry can talk a lot about the Devil Survivor series that was a blast, and I can’t wait for the rest of these episodes. Hee-Ho!

  4. Great show as always.

    Even though I put close to a hundred hours into FF 8 and 9 (yes, I liked FF8) and have always been a pretty big RPG fan I never got into any SMT Games. Partially because niche titles like this weren’t advertised a whole lot here in Germany and I was only made aware of them by Wikipedia rabbit hole research in the mid 2000s when I had started my job training.

    But by that point the ship had kind of sailed and I was to busy playing FFX for the umpteenth time.

    I’m looking forward to hearing more of these amazing bass lines, which give me a very Les Claypool vibe. I absolutely love the battle themes, especially The SMT 2 one. Reminds me a lot of Deep Purple’s “Fireball”.

  5. This is great Halloween music.

  6. I tried playing the first SMT a couple of years ago, but the copy I played was hardly translated and just had garbled nonsense for text after a few hours, making the game unplayable. I gave up on it, but still wanted to play an obtuse grid based western RPG.

    After weeks of searching through multiple games in the least user friendly genre on the planet, I settled on playing the original Might and Magic. The game is painfully archaic to the point of comedy, but for some reason I absolutely loved it. I wound up with a playlist of Tangerine Dream songs (each song intended for specific areas in the game (Green Desert is a perfect album for this)) and a notebook of graph paper full of incorrect maps and lines of text smooshed to fit wherever there was space left on the page. That was probably one of my favorite gaming experiences, and its all thanks to the first SMT.

    After this episode and that ridiculous bass guitar, I kind of want to revisit the series, this time with a properly translated copy of the first game. Thanks for another great episode and may Rocktober forever live on!

  7. You beautiful bastards. I am completely in love with the SMT series and this rocktober is going to be the best. I’ve been trying to get my poke’mon playing friends to try these games for years, to no avail. This is great. YOU’RE great.

  8. This is the first time Rocktober has been about a series I don’t care about.

    The SNES versions of those sounds sound super Earthboundy. Which isn’t good, cause I don’t like Earthbound’s music.

  9. Ah my favorite smt 1 track didn’t make the cut so ill post it here


    Too bad this particular song get played in a too short area

  10. The closest I’ve ever gotten to this series was the Persona 4 fighting game, so suffice to say this is all new territory for me, which actually makes me really excited to see how this progresses through Rocktober!

    Really dig how you featured the different variations of each track, seems like each platform had their own unique take on the overall soundscape. Very cool how much one song changes in style and fidelity, but retaining the intended feel. Love how dark it gets, couldn’t be further from the upbeat anime rock I heard coming out of P4 Arena. I don’t know if I’ll run out and jump into either series, but I’m curious to see how these end up diverging as you go along.

  11. Great show! I’m almost done with Persona 3 and I’m planning on starting with Shin Megami Tensei 4 soon.
    It’s interesting to see how the music changed so wildly from platform to platform. Can’t wait for the next episode.

  12. I’m pretty excited for this ROCKTOBER. The SMT series is very strange and alluring to me, with all the demons and gloomy quasi-religious themes (even though I’ve only come close to beating one of their games. Shit’s really hard.) I look forward to exploring more of these games musically.

  13. BRETT! If timeline’s splitting based on video games gives you a headache the “actual” (really complicated) scientific reason for multiple dimensions is based on ELECTRONS. Why would an electron go one way and not the other if both paths are equal? It doesn’t it goes down both paths, but that fork becomes two different dimensions. So the splitting of timelines is based on the movement of subatomic particles, not petty human decisions.

    Also Henry SMT: Person 4 was the original name (on the box) it eventually became just Persona 4 as they released more spin-offs and the Golden remake. Persona 5 is the first non-SMT game in the series. I only bring it up because this feels like something you would correct someone else on.

    Loving this year’s ROCKTOBER

  14. SMT is one of my favorite game series ever. I can’t wait for more of this.

    I put a good 5 or 6 hours into SMT1 on iOS, but it’s an old RPG so if you put it down for three days you have no goddamn idea what you’re supposed to be doing. And that was one iPhone ago so if I ever want to finish it I’ll have to start over. I’m a few hours into SMTIV:A right now and it’s so good. It’s cruel to release that and Dragon Quest at the same time.

  15. Surprising but good choice. When I heard that this series would *not* include any Persona music at first I was like “damn it!” but got over it really quick. Yeah yeah there’s already a Persona episode but you missed all my favorites.

    Fiddling with the Famicom episode, in particular the Megami Tensei songs towards the end of the episode, was SOOO good that I made the Ex Convict song the ringtone for my iPhone.

  16. Really happy you picked this series, not because I know it, but because I don’t actually.

    I like RPGs, so I’ve always been aware of SMT, but have never given it a shot because there are more games that I want to play than I’ll probably be able to in my lifetime, heh. So now I get a chance to hear what SMT is like and experience a little bit of it.

    Good to have Henry back too!

  17. Absolutely love this episode! Just listened to it for a second time to get me through some particularly shitty traffic. I started playing a translation of the original SMT a couple weeks ago after hearing how good the music is. It was pretty hard to get into, but after reading the SMT Wiki [Powered by Fandom], a couple FAQs and a Let’s Play I finally understand most of the mechanics and am having a lot of fun. The demon capturing/fusion system lets you constantly change up party members which is pretty cool.
    I’ve enjoyed all the episodes this month, but SMT 1, 2 and 4 have particularly great soundtracks, I’ll definitely have to check out 4 down the line. Never knew just how many games and spinoffs this series had.. and you guys didn’t even touch on Digital Devil Saga. Feel like I could spend a couple years playing through nothing but SMT games if I wanted.

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