- Atlus
  - Capcom
  - Cave
  - Falcom
  - Konami
  - Microsoft
  - Namco Bandai
  - Nintendo
  - Nippon Ichi
  - Grasshopper
  - Sega
  - Sony
  - Square Enix
  - Western Games



  - Castlevania
  - Chrono
  - Dragon Quest
  - Final Fantasy
  - Kingdom Hearts
  - Mana
  - Mario
  - Megami Tensei
  - Mega Man
  - Metal Gear
  - Resident Evil
  - SaGa
  - Silent Hill
  - Sonic
  - Star Ocean
  - Street Fighter
  - Suikoden
  - Tales
  - Ys
  - Zelda



  - Masashi Hamauzu
  - Norihiko Hibino
  - Kenji Ito
  - Noriyuki Iwadare
  - Koji Kondo
  - Yuzo Koshiro
  - Shoji Meguro
  - Yasunori Mitsuda
  - Manabu Namiki
  - Hitoshi Sakimoto
  - Motoi Sakuraba
  - Tenpei Sato
  - Yoko Shimomura
  - Koichi Sugiyama
  - Masafumi Takada
  - Nobuo Uematsu
  - Michiru Yamane
  - Akira Yamaoka









Home Contact Us Top

 

Dark Chronicle Original Soundtrack :: Review by Nirvana69

Dark Chronicle Original Soundtrack Album Title: Dark Chronicle Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Scitron Digital Contents
Catalog No.: SCDC-00243/4
Release Date: February 19, 2003
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan

Overview

After the success of the original Dark Cloud, the developers made a rather odd business decision. Instead of just making a sequel that was more of the same old, same old, the developers actually decided to make something that was hardly like the original game at all. While they kept some of the basic gameplay mechanics the same, it's clear that the developers actually wanted to make a game that would exceed the original in every way. And so did they? Well, it was pretty much unanimous from both fans and critics, that yes, yes they did. The graphics were much more colorful and enjoyable for the eyes. There was actually voice acting present this time around. The game was much more fun to play and it was more accessible than the original. But how fared the music? The music was already pretty darn good in the original Dark Cloud, and since the developers were obviously determined to make its sequel exceed in every area, logic would tell you that Tomohito Nishiura's music would be amazing in the sequel, right? Well, continue reading to find out...

Track-by-Track Reviews

Disc One

1) Neverending Adventure (Rush's Theme)

Well, the album starts off with a track that is distinctly Nishiura. This track bears a strong resemblance to the "Dark Cloud Main Theme" off the original game's soundtrack and, once the violin melody comes in, it immediately elicits a feeling of nostalgia to the original Dark Cloud soundtrack. This track is both adventurous and optimistic. One of my favorites from the album. (8/10)

2) The Dark Battle

I can't remember where this is used in the game but I assume it's a battle theme so I will review it as such. Nishiura does a nice job at portraying a mood of facing an intimidating and powerful opponent. While I find this piece to be a bit too repetitive, I'm sure it still works well within the context of the game. (6/10)

3) Prologue

At just over thirty seconds, this track qualifies as nothing more than filler. While the actual composition is not bad in itself, I find the incredibly high pitched strings a bit irritating and unpleasant to the ears. Overall, a perfectly avoidable track. (3/10)

4) Premonition of Something Going to Happen

Seeing as I'm only here to review the actual music, I won't draw attention to the redundant and odd sounding title. However, I will mention that if you're expecting this track to be foreboding or mysterious sounding because of its title, you would be mistaken. Instead, we get a perfectly calm and nice sounding violin piece. While I do like this track, I can't help but get the feeling that Nishiura's intentions were a bit misguided. (6/10)

5) Carnival Night

A perfectly average Nishiura track. There really isn't much to say about this one, the accordion melody is agreeable but if you've heard the original Dark Cloud soundtrack, it's nothing you haven't heard before. (6/10)

6) The Circus

Another bubbly, bouncy melody. Another complete lack of development. Now granted, this is circus music so I'm not going to be too hard on it for a lack of variety, but still. It doesn't appear that Nishiura spent a whole lot of time or thought on this one. (6/10)

7) Red-Haired Girl

It's somewhat ironic that the first ambient track off this album just happens to be a character theme (or at least the closest thing to it) for one of the main characters of the story. Again, I feel this track is a bit misguided as even in the beginning when there is some ambiguity to Monica's character, I would not call this music representative of her. It's a nice listen, it's just a bit off from the theme it's trying to represent. (7/10)

8) Secret Conversation

One of my favorite ambient tracks from this album. The use of a ambiguous sounding violin melody over dissonant guitar arpeggios, high suspended strings, and droning percussions go well together to create a mood of secrecy and mystery. (8/10)

9) It's a Show Time!!

Another circus themed track. To call this track "happy" would be an understatement. Conversely, to call this track "enjoyable" would be a bit of an overstatement. (5/10)

10) Moonlight Tango

I'm not quite sure how to rate this one. I personally don't enjoy or listen to this type of music but I can see how this track could be enjoyable for those who do. It's a solid enough track, but I personally don't find it appealing. I am hesitant to actually refer to this as a "tango" simply because of my own musical ignorance, but if you enjoy Latin music, this is probably for you. (6/10)

11) Palm Brinks

Yet another accordion-based piece. While the accordion was a breath of fresh air on the original Dark Cloud soundtrack, it's kind of worn out it's welcome by now. There is nothing particularly bad about this track, it just feels like too much of the same thing after hearing so many other accordion based tracks in such a small amount of time on the album. (6/10)

12) At the Station

I don't really get a train station feeling from this track to be honest. To me, it just sounds like another bright and hopeful piece of which this album has no shortage. While I do enjoy the flute and violin melody, I find the underlying string ostinato just a bit too repetitive and redundant. (7/10)

13) Underground Water Channel

The first dungeon theme in the game, and it's, well, not bad. There is a very mischievous and playful nature to this piece, which is a nice diversion from Nishiura's usually very drab dungeon themes. This is a fun enjoyable track while it lasts but I can't in good conscious give this a very high score knowing that it loops after a mere 45 seconds. (7/10)

14) The Battle

If memory serves me correctly, this is the normal battle theme for the game. Well, I can safely say that it's much better than the original Dark Cloud's battle theme. Nishiura seems to have learned from his past mistakes and put some real aggression and drive into this theme. It remains aggressive throughout while still maintaining an air of optimism. (8/10)

15) Fading Consciousness

My best guess for this one is that it's the theme that plays when you have been defeated in the game. And as such, it's not bad. It gives feeling of defeat while still holding an undertone of optimism and hope. While this seems like a bit of an oxymoron, it's the best way I can describe this piece. (6/10)

16) Dim Light

I don't remember this track from the game, nor do I have a clue to what it's supposed to represent. What I do know though is that this track is rather boring. It starts off with some potential with an oboe intro, however this potential is soon squandered as the oboe intro goes on for twice as long as feels necessary and then is joined in with a rather dull string accompaniment. To top it off, the melody that is repeated throughout the track is neither good nor memorable. Not Nishiura's finest moment. (5/10)

17) Menu

It's menu music — how good could it possibly be good, right? Actually it's pretty good considering the context. Made up of nothing more than tuned percussion this track gives off a fun, bouncy mood that is perfect for a menu screen. It's not great but this is some of the best menu music I've ever heard. Also, interestingly enough, this track loops after about 45 seconds which is roughly the same amount of time that a lot of the area themes loop. What exactly was Nishiura thinking with that one? (7/10)

18) Halloween

The first boss battle theme of the game if I'm not mistaken. This one reminds me a lot of Kondo's work on Zelda with it's ever descending string ostinato and shrieking high pitched strings. Like a lot of Nishiura's battle themes, it works well but it is almost completely devoid of originality. (7/10)

19) Around the World

I don't remember this track from the game, but my best guess is that it's some kind of victory fanfare for when you defeat a boss. As a victory fanfare. It works rather well by giving a feeling of victory and accomplishment. While maybe it suffers from a bit of under-development, do you really need much development in a victory fanfare? However, if this piece is anything besides a victory fanfare, it isn't very good at all. I'll give Nishiura the benefit of the doubt with this one. (7/10)

20) Shop

Basically, this track is the exact same thing as "Menu" except with different instrumentation. Normally, this would bother me quite a bit, but in this case, it works rather well. One of my biggest problems with the album is that Nishiura creates many good memories, yet doesn't bother to re-use any of them. So it's nice to see Nishiura re-use one of the better melodies from the album. I actually like this track a little bit better than "Menu" but seeing as they are basically the exact same piece.... (7/10)

21) Crazy Buggy

I'm not sure if Nishiura has a cruel sense of humor or is just oblivious. We finally get a track that doesn't loop in under a minute, and it has a lot of potential... but it's completely ruined with the awful distorted guitar sound. Now, I'm not one to pick on a piece for lack of sound quality, but in this case, it's just unacceptable. This is simply, the worst guitar synth I've ever heard. Not to mention that this track seems a bit out of place already with it's distinctly rock sound. I'd recommend skipping this track unless you too want to hear some bad guitar synth. (4/10)

22) Holy Prayer

Nishiura, being the incredibly innovative and original composer that he is, takes the least clichéd approach possible to making a divine sounding piece by utilizing the church organ. For those of you do not possess the ability to detect sarcasm, let me just say, there is no way I can possibly be more sarcastic. Nor is there any possible way this track could be anymore conventional. There really isn't much else to say about this. If you've ever been to a church or have seen a church or have heard about a church, you will feel as if you've already heard this piece about a million times before. Even if this your first listen. (5/10)

23) Charlotte

I don't remember this track from the game, nor do I even remember a character named Charlotte in the game, so this might affect my judgment a bit for this track. As it is, it's a fairly basic character theme. It features a basic Nishiura-esque flute melody with a rather basic accompaniment. It's not bad but it's surely nothing remarkable. (6/10)

24) Rainbow Butterfly Woods

In case you're starting to wonder if I hate this entire soundtrack, don't worry, I am too. Or at least I was until I heard this track. This is one of my absolute favorites from the album. It is simply beautiful. While this track may feature a lot of the same flaws that I find fundamental in Nishiura's work, such as simplicity, lack of development, and a reliance on RPG music clichés, I somehow don't see them as flaws here. It's hard to explain, but they just simply work here. A definite highlight of the album. (9/10)

25) Calm Moment

A nice little, classical sounding piece. Again, it's nothing original or special, but it's a solid enough track. At moments, it does border on something I like to call "beauty". Of course, at other moments, it borders on something I like to call "blandness". (7/10)

26) Nanahige's Theme

Again, I don't remember this character from the game so I can't really tell if it's representative of the character or not. But what I can tell you is that this a fun, little bouncy piece with a nice, almost addictive melody. Not one of the great tracks off the album but it's nice enough while it lasts. (7/10)

27) Tree Spirit Jurak

One of the weaker melodies on the album. Nishiura is usually able to come up with simple sounding pieces with nice solid melodies but, in this case, the melody is below average and the piece is, overall, quite forgettable. That's not to say it's bad, just rather bland. (5/10)

28) Butterfly Dance

This track actually does start off with a lot of promise, and with some more development, it could have been a great ambient track. Unfortunately though, Nishiura had to take the minimalist (read: lazy) approach and make it so that you've already heard this track loop about five times by the time you're done reading this review. (5/10)

29) Rainbow Butterfly

It's a funny thing. I actually had a completely different review for this track typed until I remembered that this is actually a battle theme. Granted, there are a few intense moments but overall, this is quite a boring track and probably the worst battle theme on the album. Just skip this one. (4/10)

30) Peace of the World

The acoustic guitar, how we've missed thee. You were around so much on the original Dark Cloud soundtrack that we just assumed you'd be around for this album. Sadly, that doesn't appear to be the case as you show up far less on this album. Why would Nishiura do this to yus? Does he not realize that the one of his strengths as a composer is being able to write acoustic guitar parts? Whatever his reason was, this track is just prove that he should have used you in more tracks on this album. (8/10)

31) Fish On!!

A possible attempt at ironic humor from Nishiura with this track, One wouldn't expect such an upbeat and uplifting track from something as mundane fishing, but I'm glad Nishiura did go in that direction with this track. While sometimes Nishiura's out of place tracks do not work at all with what they represent. In this case, I think it works very well. (7/10)

32) Balance Valley

Here we go, Nishiura finally starts to return to what made his area themes in Dark Cloud so good. While again, he takes a somewhat basic approach to this theme, it works rather well. With gentle guitar arpeggios and light string crescendos under a woodwind melody, he gives feeling of weightlessness and tranquility. The emotional poignancy of this piece is increased even further when a piano joins in under the string and guitar accompaniments. Why Nishiura waited so long to give us an actually good area theme is beyond me. (9/10)

33) Shifting Windows

A rather basic track, this doesn't appear to be anything more than a violin solo over some background pizzicato strings. While there is a melody in this track, it's not very discernable and the entire track seems blurred and unclear in structure. Again, not a bad track, just not a very special one. (5/10)

34) Stella Valley

Another track that will bring back a sense of nostalgia to the original Dark Cloud soundtrack. Unlike "Balance Valley", which was very peaceful in nature, this track has a rather adventurous and bold nature. While this track isn't as emotionally stirring as the aforementioned "Balance Valley", I still can enjoy this track on a different level. Another well done area theme. (8/10)

35) Unfulfilled Wishes

These acoustic woodwind pieces seem to be on a downward spiral toward mediocrity on this album. After three very good pieces, we are treated to this rather average one. While it still is enjoyable, it's just rather boring and forgettable. Nothing much else to say about this one. (6/10)

36) Fire Approaches the Lighthouse

Another battle theme if I'm not mistaken. Unfortunately, this is one of the weaker ones on the album. There are moments when a true feeling of action and aggression is communicated, but for the most part, this is a just rather clich´┐Ż, run of the mill battle theme. (6/10)

37) Stella Magic Temple

Yet another good emotionally stirring piece. The piano and flute combine very well together to create a feeling of tranquility and peacefulness. Maybe it lacks a certain transmundane quality that you might expect from a piece that's very title has the words "Magic temple" in it. But other than that, I can't find very much fault in this piece. (8/10)

38) Turning Toward Hope

This album has no shortage of filler tracks. In fact, I think this albums has one of the highest ratios I have ever seen of filler tracks versus well-written tracks. And unfortunately, this track is yet another one of the aforementioned fillers. At least in this case, it is rather pleasant while it lasts. There is a nice, bouncy, uplifting mood to this one and it is rather catchy. It's only a shame that there is only 47 seconds of development before this track loops again. (7/10)

39) Veniccio

A track that is fairly reminiscent of "Queens" off the original Dark Cloud soundtrack. The two tracks are different enough from each other that you can tell them apart, but nonetheless, there is a strong similarity between them. However, while "Queens" was one of the better town themes off the original soundtrack, this is one of the weaker town themes off this album when you compare it to greats such as "Rainbow Butterfly Woods" and "Balance Valley". It just goes to show you that video game music is all about context. (7/10)

40) Calm Moment Part 2

This track has the same relationship with its predecessor "Calm Moment" as "Memories" did with "Reminiscence" on the original Dark Cloud soundtrack. That is to say, they are two very similar sounding tracks with the one notable difference being that the original was far superior to its successor. Again, I don't know why Nishiura thought it would be a good idea to write this track when the original could work just as well. This track is perfectly skippable, especially if you've already heard the original "Calm Moment". (5/10)

41) Ocean's Roar Cave

Nishiura attempts to experiment with his typical woodwind and acoustic guitar set up with this piece and the results are well... pretty mediocre. While the inclusion of a cello is a nice addition, it doesn't add very much to this piece and, at just around 40 seconds before looping again, this is a perfectly skippable track. (5/10)

42) Fish Race!!

Another bouncy upbeat fish-related track. While I'm not a big fan of humor tracks, I think this one works very well. I don't necessarily get the feeling of racing from this track and so maybe this piece suffers from a bit of misdirection. But overall, I still find it a slightly enjoyable, somewhat amusing track. (6/10)

43) Lunatic Wisdom Laboratory

An interesting mix of electronic piano, percussion, and bass guitar. This track bears a slight resemblance to "Aero Drop" from the original Dark Cloud soundtrack and that is certainly not a bad thing. This track is actually about double the length of the average area theme and it remains interesting enough throughout. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a highlight of the album but it's certainly not a low point either. (7/10)

44) Dr. Jamming

Little did I know that when I said "This is simply the worst guitar synth I've ever heard" about the track "Crazy Buggy" earlier in this review that Nishiura would actually prove me wrong with this track. Now, THIS is simply the worst guitar synth I've ever heard. As far as I can tell, it's the exact same guitar sound he used in "Crazy Buggy" but, in this context, it sounds even worse. This is a shame because this track could have had some potential had the guitar sound been improved. This track might even have been good. Sadly, we will never know since Nishiura used such a low quality sound. (4/10)

45) Tutorial

Tutorial music isn't known for being particularly interesting or good. So when I heard this track, I was pleasantly surprised. This is actually pretty good given the context with syncopated piano chords and a shimmying violin melody. This track actually remains about as interesting as your average area theme, which depending on how you look at is a compliment for this track or an insult to a lot of the area themes on this game. (7/10)

46) Launch!! Space Time Train Ixion

Besides the somewhat ridiculous sounding name, this is actually a pretty solid sounding track. While maybe a bit clichéd, this track hopeful and optimistic mood goes perfectly with it's context. It's a shame this track isn't longer. (7/10)

47) Battle for the Future

A definite highlight of the album. This battle theme is almost the perfect mix of aggression and melody. Like most Nishiura battle themes, it displays a lot of aggression while still holding an optimistic tone. This is one of Nishiura's best battle themes off the album, if not one of his best from his entire career so far. (8/10)

48) Time is Changing (Japanese Original Ver.)

The one thing that the original Dark Cloud soundtrack was missing was a vocal theme. Nishiura seemed to have realized that and as such has added one. Now granted, I've always thought vocal themes in RPG's were overrated, but I've grown so accustomed to them that a soundtrack feels incomplete when a vocal theme isn't present. So, how is this one? Not bad, actually. It's fairly standard for a vocal theme. The singer's voice is pleasant enough, it's certainly not irritating like say RIKKI's from Final Fantasy X. The musical accompaniments under the singer's voice is in your pretty standard ballad form. The guitar solo is nice, and somewhat unexpected as guitar solos usually don't turn up in this type of music. But overall, this is just a by-the-numbers ballad. It serves its purpose without being anything truly exceptional. (8/10)

Disc Two

1) Secret Energy

I don't remember this track from the game but it sounds like a battle theme to me. Regardless of how it's used in the game, I still find this track to be quite good. It is fun, upbeat, and just a tad aggressive. Too bad it's just over a minute long. (8/10)

2) Heim Rada

This track reminds me of Uematsu's work from Final Fantasy IX. Depending on how you feel about the soundtrack, you might see this as a good or bad thing. Personally, I am not a very big fan of said soundtrack and, as such, I don't see a whole lot of appeal in this track. There is very little development and find the whole track just a bit trite. (6/10)

3 Time of Separation

One of the only solo acoustic guitar pieces off this album. While this track isn't bad, it's certainly not as good as "Reminiscence" off the original Dark Cloud soundtrack. This track doesn't do anything particularly wrong; it just isn't very interesting as a whole to listen to with some derivative chord progressions. All in all, a solid but forgettable track. (6/10)

4) Gundor Volcano Grotto

A Baroque-influenced piece with a flute melody in the foreground and some light percussion, an acoustic guitar, and bass in the background. Not much else to say about this piece; it's wholly average and perfectly skippable. (5/10)

5) Flying Warship Death Ark

A rather aggressive piece with a militant string ostinato and march-like percussion to provide the back bone. I rather enjoyed this track despite it's complete lack of originality or development. While originality and development is important in video game music, the most important thing is that the music represents the visuals in the game, and that this track does do. (7/10)

6) Gundora Workshop

As I've already stated, Nishiura is strongest when he is utilizing an acoustic guitar. This track is a perfect example of why. The acoustic guitar use in this is very touching, and it combines well with the flute melody and light snare drum in the background. This is one of my favorite area themes on the album. (9/10)

7) Mother

Another very good and moving Nishiura melody is contained in this emotional violin piece. The feeling of sadness and loneliness is communicated very well in this piece and it almost forces the listener to empathize. While not the most exciting of tracks, I think it serves its purpose very well. (8/10)

8) Flame Demon Monster Gaspard

WHOA! This thing is a demon AND a monster AND is flaming?! One would expect a rather intense and aggressive battle theme for such a frightening beast. So is it? Actually, no. This is a rather tame battle theme with very little drive or aggression in it. Nishiura's style has always focused more on melody over ambience when it comes to battle themes and this is no exception which is possibly why this battle theme lacks a sense of drive. Normally, I don't mind his emphasis on melody but, in this case, it just doesn't work very well and this track is rather disappointing. (5/10)

9) Memories

A somewhat touching piece comprised entirely of a solo acoustic guitar and a violin. Unfortunately, this piece suffers from somewhat low synth quality and being very derivative. This piece doesn't do anything particularly wrong; it just has a very "Been there, done that" feel. (7/10)

10) Ancient Mural

This track is reminiscent of Nishiura's vocal based themes off the original Dark Cloud soundtrack. While they were in overabundance on the original soundtrack, it is still nice to hear Nishiura return to the musical roots of the series. Overall, this track gives a nice feeling of nostalgia but it's nothing special on it's own. (6/10)

11) Locked Palace

I'm not really sure what I can say about this one. This track manages to both be horribly clichéd and mildly irritating at the same time. From the staccatoed string ostinato that plays through to the blaring trumpet melody, it feels as if Nishiura simply made this track to annoy you. Whatever his motivations were, one thing is for sure. Nishiura can do far better than this track. (5/10)

12) Sun

Again, yet another track I don't remember from the game. But I'm going to assume this is a battle theme. And what a battle theme it is! This is one of my favorites from the album. From the very beginning, it gives off a feeling of important and intensity. And essentially the whole track does nothing but build on that feeling. Again, this tracks elicits a feeling of nostalgia for those who have heard the original soundtrack and this bears quite a resemblance to several other Nishiura tracks. A highlight of the album. (8/10)

13) Kazarov Stonehenge

Just another rather simplistic area theme with one of the stronger melodies on the album and lovely chord choices. There really isn't much else to say about this one. This is your typical, albeit good, Nishiura track. If you like his style, you'll like this track. If you don't care for it then most likely you won't care for this track either. (7/10)

14) Flower Garden

Just as the previous Dark Cloud album had a string of mediocre to bad tracks near the end of it's second disc, so too does Dark Cloud 2's soundtrack. This track marks the beginning of that aforementioned string. Just like so many other tracks on this album it's not that this track is bad or painful to listen to. It just feels far too familiar and is rather boring. (5/10)

15) Moon Flower Palace

Nishiura's ambient tracks usually don't turn out this bad. This is a rather boring track and, while there are some good moments like between 2:00 and 2:30, it simply isn't enough to redeem this track from mediocrity. This is the type of track you'll listen to a few times then skip over it every time after. (6/10)

16) Garden of Memories

A rather mellow and unremarkable area theme. While it does nicely at giving a feeling of defeat and desperation, and there are moments of beauty, I still find this track rather "meh". It's not bad, but I can take it or leave it. (6/10)

17) Premonition

Another ambient filler track. Other than the fact that this is at least foreboding, unlike the last track with the word "premonition" in it's title, there really is nothing to say about this one. Just another skippable track. (5/10)

18) Unknown History

Well, thankfully there is this track to break up the string of mediocre ones. This tracks fills the same place on the album that "Time of Destiny" did on the first Dark Cloud soundtrack. It's very hopeful and uplifting in nature and has a rather memorable melody. Certainly another highlight of the album. (8/10)

19) Paznos' Launch

Borrowing slightly from the previous track's melody, this is yet another hopeful and uplifting track. This is very much welcomed on the album given the darker nature of the tracks to follow. Unfortunately, expect another string of mediocre and uninspired tracks to follow after this one. At least, these two tracks serve as a nice distraction from the surrounding mediocrity. (8/10)

20) Giant Looming Shadow

I'm going to guess that Nishiura was trying to create something terrifying and menacing with this piece. Unfortunately, what we get instead is something slightly comical and quite annoying. There really isn't much that I find redeeming or even enjoyable about this track. It's just another filler track. (4/10)

21) Dark Ruler Emperor Griffin

Well, unlike the last track, this track actually is quite terrifying and aggressive. I believe this is the battle theme that plays while fighting Emperor Griffin and, if so, it fits the mood perfectly. Emperor Griffin is a dark and menacing character throughout the whole story, and this track does very well at conveying a dark and intense battle. While there are better battle themes on this album, there are certainly worse too. (7/10)

22) Sad Fate

An interesting rearrangement of "Flower Garden". This time around, there is a lot more power and emotion in the melody and it works well with what it's representing. Unfortunately, I still find this track somewhat bland and unmemorable. The melody is simply not that strong in the first place, and there is little else going for this track. While it's an improvement over "Flower Garden", it still is no masterpiece. (7/10)

23) Spiral of Dreams

If I'm not mistaken, this is the final dungeon in the game right before the final boss fight. Nishiura took a rather ironic approach with this one in the sense that it sounds nothing like how you would expect a final dungeon theme to sound. Instead of being incredibly intense, aggressive, or foreboding of the events to follow, it is flighty, lighthearted, and just a tad comical. I'm really not sure how to rate this one. On one hand, the track by itself is perfectly enjoyable. But on the other, to say that Nishiura didn't hit the nail on the head with this one would be an understatement. It's more like Nishiura lost the nail, and decided to take a swing anyway. (7/10)

24) Dark Element

Speaking of Nishiura missing the point of tracks, here we have the final boss theme. If I had not played the game, I would have no idea that this was supposed to be the final boss music. Not only is it unaggressive and ambient, but it just might be the least intense battle theme on the whole album. It seems as if Nishiura missed the entire point of what final boss battles are supposed to be like. Don't get me wrong — this track has its moments, but for the most part, it's just a very boring ambient theme. (6/10)

25) Zelmite Mines

This is the theme for the hidden dungeon after you beat the game if memory serves me right. I never did beat the game so I can't say as to whether or not this theme works but on a stand-alone basis, it's an alright, slightly silly track. (7/10)

26) Demon (Dark Cloud Main Theme)

Ahhh so the Dark Cloud Main Theme does make an appearance on this album after all. Depending on how you felt about it on the first album, this may be a blessing or a curse. It remains practically unchanged from the original besides a few minor changes in the sound quality. To me, it still remains as a perfectly enjoyable theme and there are not a differences in this piece to warrant giving it a score any less or any more than the original. (8/10)

27) Beyond the Aurora

A rather long (in comparison to many other Dark Cloud tracks) and touching string piece to end the album on (if you don't count the two rearrangements of "Time is Changing"). While I think this piece could have been just as powerful and moving if it were cut down by a minute or so, it is still quite good. There really isn't much to complain about besides being slightly long-winded. A wonderful way to end the album. (8/10)

28) Time is Changing (Japanese Acoustic Ver.)

This track really isn't very much different from the original on the end of disc one. Basically, if you enjoyed the original, you'll enjoy this version. If you didn't, then there isn't enough new material to give this one a listen. I actually like this version slightly better but I can't in good conscious give it a score that's any higher considering it's just a more mellow version of the same song. (8/10)

29) Time is Changing (English Original Ver.)

How exactly is this different from the version on the end of Disc One? Maybe I'm missing something here but these two versions sound exactly the same to me. And since these two tracks are the exact same, is there any point in me writing another review? (8/10)

Summary

So, after numerous comparisons from this soundtrack to the first Dark Cloud soundtrack, there remains only one question to be answered. Is the Dark Chronicle Original Soundtrack an improvement on the Dark Cloud Original Soundtrack? Well, this isn't as easy a question to answer as you might think. While Nishiura reminds us that he does indeed have talent with tracks like "Rainbow Butterfly Woods", "Balance Valley", "Gundora Workshop", and "Battle for the Future", he also reminds us that he can write an abundance of very clichéd and uninteresting music. This problem is even more apparent on this album. You'd think that, since this album is approximately a third longer than the original Dark Cloud soundtrack, there would be a greater abundance of good tracks. Instead, we are treated to a plethora of mediocre filler tracks. Don't get me wrong — the original Dark Cloud soundtrack had its filler tracks too, but the good track / bad track ratio is much greater in the sequel. In fact, I'd say that there are just about the same amount of good and memorable tracks on this album as there is on the original Dark Cloud soundtrack, which sounds good until you consider that the Dark Chronicle soundtrack has about 20 tracks more.

So my answer will be no. As an overall package, the Dark Chronicle Original Soundtrack is lesser than its predecessor. That's not to say that you should skip this soundtrack, just simply that you'll have to wade through a higher degree of filler tracks to find the good stuff.

Overall Score: 6/10