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Square’s Awful PS2 Racer Had Good-Ass Music, At Least

Image: Square Enix / Kotaku
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Welcome to Morning Music, Kotaku’s daily hangout for folks who love video games and the cool-ass sounds they make. Today we’re looking at a terrible driving game you should never play, only listen to.

Early PlayStation 2 was rough, no doubt. Even the PS1 royalty at SquareSoft had issues adapting to Sony’s hard-to-program new console. The Bouncer was a partial misfire at best, and Driving Emotion Type-S (playlist / longplay / VGMdb), the RPG empire’s attempt at a launch-title racing game, met with a disastrous reception due in part to unbelievably harsh, twitchy controls. (Then a bit later Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec came out, outclassing Type-S on just about every front.)

If there’s one unambiguously great aspect of Square’s star-crossed racer it’s the killer soundtrack by Shinji Hosoe, Ayako Saso, and Takayuki Aihara. The trio, who met at Namco in the early ‘90s, became frequent collaborators thereafter, putting out incredible soundtracks like Street Fighter EX, Bushido Blade, and yeah, Driving Emotion Type-S.

Let’s listen:

Square Enix / Kalel Vigil (YouTube)

The Type-S soundtrack features an unusual mix of jazz fusion and electronica. Some tracks are pretty much just jazz, others straight-up techno. It’s like Gran Turismo and Ridge Racer soundtracks had a head-on collision—or maybe a child?—resulting in an eclectic grab-bag of an OST. Fans of Hosoe, Saso, and Aihara know them to be proficient in both styles, and Driving Emotion Type-S is just another stage for them to style upon.

Best track? A matter of taste, but you could do a lot worse than Saso’s “Best tone” which calls to mind some of the trio’s wonderful Street Fighter EX-era music...just some good-ass fusion. I’m definitely more partial to the first half of the album, but then, I’ve never been much of a Ridge Racer-style techno fan.

Another Morning Music has zoomed by, trailing pleasant beats in its wake. It is also the end of This Damn Week, a fact for which I am very glad. I’m going to try to lose my brain in some addictive vidya game this weekend. What’ll you be up to? See ya next week!