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Super Robot Taisen Alpha Original Score II ~Earth Chapter~ :: Review by Chris

Super Robot Taisen Alpha Original Score II ~Earth Chapter~ Album Title: Super Robot Taisen Alpha Original Score II ~Earth Chapter~
Record Label: First Smile Entertainment
Catalog No.: FSCA-10128
Release Date: April 19, 2000
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Super Robot Taisen Alpha is the first game in the second generation of Banpresto's robot saga, originally released for the PlayStation in 2000. As a result of the strong sales and iconic nature of the game, there were multiple albums released featuring music from the game, but none of those were complete on their own. While incomplete on their own, the trilogy of 'Original Score' albums provide the most satisfying stand-alone listens, due to their emphasis on the original instrumental and vocal compositions for the game that far exceed the thankfully omitted mecha theme song arrangements. Let's take a look at the second in the trilogy...


The album opens with a brief drama passage that establishes the experience is very much continuation of the Sky Chapter. Even non-Japanese speakers can appreciate how it eventually develops into a vocal remix of Ryuusei's theme "Everywhere You Go"., though The verse section of this track is pretty cookie-cutter, with Masaaki Endo's vocals against repeating guitar riffs. Thankfully, the chorus section makes up for this with its great hook and elating sound, ensuring the track is one most will want to revisit. There are little dabs of drama inserted during the song, but they're not too detractive and the overall accomplishment — at some seven and a half minutes — is quite impressive.

Moving on to the instrumental original composition, Takuya Hanaoka and Naofumi Tsuruyama offer a range of charming themes that weren't featured on the previous chapter. "Distant Day's Rest" is a very typical soft march with a particularly repetitive bass line; however, this isn't a major problem, since the mellow melody grows beautifully to a subtle peak. "Ace Attacker" has gone on to become a popular anthem for the series, appearing in subsequent Alpha and OG titles. This is perhaps for good reason. While derivative, the rock stylings here certainly have an anime spirit to them and the melody is rather memorable too. It's not one of my favourites of the series, but it still embodies the concept of Super Robot Taisen well.

"Twilight Battleground" is a refreshing departure from other battle themes in the saga with its fusion of orchestral, rock, and electronic elements. Some aspects of the melody are actually quite reminiscent of music from old-school RPGs, though it's not without its serious elements. An apocalyptic rhythmical pattern appears at several points that previously appeared in "A Premonition of Slaughter", serving as a portent of doom. The climax of the album with "The Set Course to Hope, the Way of Retreat to Despair" is the most spectacular entry in terms of both mood and intricacy. One of the darkest action themes in the entire series, it's amazing how the track evolves through a range of moods and melodies towards presenting the Mars-like apocalyptic rhythm once again.

There are a range of other vocal arrangements beyond the opener. Once again, these blend vocal performances with dramatic acting to somewhat disorientating effect to the Westerner. While most of these tracks are mostly a continuation of the offerings on the previous album, "Marionette Messiah" continues the darker direction opened up by some of the instrumental tracks. While it's technically fast in tempo and high in energy like other songs, the melody has a much more intense quality to it, in part due to Masako Iwanaga's performance, and there is also a gothic edge throughout. The album closes with another duet from Ichiro Mizuki and Hironobu Kageyama, interpreting the rocking "Steel Spirits", and two pieces of drama to set up and preview the next episode.


As the central item in a trilogy, Super Robot Taisen Alpha Original Score II ~Earth Chapter~ lacks the definitive quality of the first volume and the climactic sound of the third volume. In addition, the choice to integrate drama elements throughout is unexpected and unappealing to westerners. There are some real highlights here, particularly "The Set Course to Hope..." and "Marionette Messiah", but the album will only offer good value for money to hardcore fans of the franchise.

Overall Score: 6/10