Secret of Evermore Soundtrack, Jeremy Soule, 1995
It’s fair to say that a game like Secret of Evermore would meet with less hostility these days. The thought of a Western console RPG is no longer an affront to gamers raised on Japanese genre products. Back in 1995 though, what many Square Soft fans in the Western hemisphere wanted was a localised Secret of Mana 2 / Seiken Densetsu 3. What they didn’t look for was a down-to-earth alternative to JRPGs’ heroic melodramatics. Especially if it was littered with fictional pop culture references and had a metaphysical, light-hearted tongue-in-cheek approach.
And so, Secret of Evermore began its uphill battle. Sadly, its music got caught up in the struggle – entirely undeservedly so. Even decades after its release, perceptions of future star composer Jeremy Soule‘s debut seem highly ambivalent. Grievances raised against the Secret of Evermore soundtrack usually include that there is hardly any music in the first place (the game uses ambient sounds more extensively than any previous console RPG, but there is still close to an hour of melodic material to enjoy); that the score album leaves out too much music from the game and focuses too strongly on one of Evermore‘s time periods (on the contrary, the album does a great job at gathering the majority of worthwhile compositions from the game, which simply happen to mostly feature in the world of Gothica); and that the music itself is unremarkable.