Jukebox Heroes: The best of Trickster Online’s soundtrack

    
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When going on musical expeditions, I get the most excited when I open up a folder of tracks from lesser-known MMORPGs. I think that’s because you never know what you’ll get, and there is always the very real possibility that a soundtrack gem has remained largely hidden from the community’s eye. So it was with that sense of curiosity and hopeful anticipation that I waded through the soundtrack of Trickster Online to hear what this title offered.

Created by Korean studio Ntreev Soft, Trickster Online ran from 2003 to 2014 and made very little waves in its operation. The title was a cute anime-styled MMO that drew inspiration from Greek mythology, which resulted in a tonal mix that filtered down into the score.

So is this a gem or a dud? I’ll let you listen to my six picks after the break, but I shall say that Trickster did not end up being some sort of surprising reservoir of melodic masterpieces. There are a handful of interesting experiments and agreeable tracks but nothing that will help this title’s legacy endure. At least now I know!

“A Talk”

I think you can get a good sense of Trickster’s entire soundtrack from this particular piece. It’s pleasant, it has poppy percussion, and it’s kind of schmaltzy. It’s almost designed not to offend anyone, but at the same time, it’s not taking any risks to truly stand out. Really, if you can envision your MMO music being played in the lobby of a hotel, maybe you’ve taken a wrong turn at some juncture.

“Alteo Empire Night”

I do appreciate that this OST has a number of day and night tracks, as I think those are highly underutilized in MMORPGs. This particular one is as relaxing and intimate as you would want from an evening piece, complete with various sound effects and gentle musical stingers.

“Phantom School”

So would a phantom school be no school at all? Eh, never mind. This track leans heavily on a simple harp melody, metallic xylophones, and background humming to create an aura of mystery, and you know what? It kind of works. It’s definitely listenable, in any case.

“Camping”

Hey, I never said that schmaltzy was bad all of the time. Take this track as an example. It might make some people’s eyes twitch, but for me, I can get into the goofy, holiday mood that it’s trying to cultivate. Cheesy is how you want your tracks sometimes.

“Desert Beach”

Are you a sucker for tracks that toss in a particular favorite offbeat instrument? Well, I totally am, which is why I hear steel drums and I’m like, “Yes, please!” This piece isn’t that complex, but it’s having a fun time getting its Caribbean groove on even so.

“Dark Rose 1”

And for my final pick from a rather lackluster selection, I’m going to go with this ambient track, mostly because I kind of like the vibe that this lays down. It’s kind of peaceful and I can imagine questing to it in the background, so congrats, Dark Rose 1. You are getting your 15 seconds in the spotlight. This will never happen again.

MMOs are meant to be heard as well as seen, and chances are that music ties your memories to these games more than you might realize. Every two weeks Jukebox Heroes listens through a game soundtrack and picks out the highlights to share and discuss. And if you like this column, then don’t miss the author’s MMO music podcast, Battle Bards!
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kgptzac

There are some hidden gems in terms of good music from numerous Asian MMOs. I think I probably mentioned the name of this game before: Tartaros Online:

you can find more here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLesrhKKYhoD6VQq_Wt3MVXFtZI-Ss6NQg

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Ian Wells

Hey, Justin. Have you ever taken a look at the Phantasy Star Online series? It has my personal favorite music from any MMOs I have have ever played, and they always do a great job of matching the feel of what is going on story wise when it comes to boss battles and character themes. I will post a few of my favorites here to give you a taste.

Final boss theme from PSO ep.III. The game itself was pretty unloved by fans of the series due to being a quirky Tactics-RPG/TCG hybrid, which is a damn shame since it had a killer soundtrack and some of the most compelling stories I have seen in gaming. This is one that has stuck with me and I to this day use this as an alarm clock in the mornings.

Opening theme of the series, still hits that sweet spot for me of wanting to log in and play. Just hearing it again sort of makes me want to look up the fan server again.

The ending theme to Ep.I was a welcome treat after the slog that was the Ruins zone and the final boss. The lyrics (as only passable as the English is) really resonate with the themes of loss, remorse, and bitterness the game’s main story and side missions paint.

The Closest Place to Heaven is the theme played just before and during the final boss battle. A song in two parts, the first represents the fragile facade of peace on the planet of Ragol, the second revealing the place of darkness and terror it truly is as the not-so-final resting place of Dark Falz.

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kgptzac

I’m not around the original PSO or PSU, but PSO2’s music is truly something…. something really got me spoiled during the time I played… so far I can say there isn’t another online game that could dramatically engross and immerse me via music into the gameplay well as PSO2.

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Ian Wells

The less I remember of the Falz Loser fight, the happier I will be. That fight is the more rage inducing battle in the game, and that is saying something about a game with stage wide AoEs that have to dashed through are the norm… when some classes don’t even get iframes on a dash.

Also, as a late comer to the game, PSO2 makes me very sad. One of the later updates pretty much removed the story mode of the game, and all cut scenes are basically relegated to a gallery mode that gives you rewards for sitting through them, as opposed to actually being party of any progression system. No one really knows why they did it, other than some excuse about not having to have a pre and post version of the hub, as the main hub changes at a certain point in the game.