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Arc the Lad Twilight of the Spirits Original Game Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

Arc the Lad Twilight of the Spirits Original Game Soundtrack Album Title: Arc the Lad Twilight of the Spirits Original Game Soundtrack
Record Label: Antinos Records
Catalog No.: VRCL-4007
Release Date: April 23, 2003
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Following the success of the original trilogy, the Arc the Lad series continued on the PlayStation 2 in 2003 with Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits. After the orchestral approach of Arc the Lad III proved popular, Sony Computer Entertainment decided to develop these stylings further, while introducing various hybrids. Rather than rehire jazz fusion artist Masahiro Andoh, they decided to rely on specialist anime composers such as Takayuki Hattori, Koji Sakurai, and Yuko Fukushima. The team firmly took the series' music to the next generation.


Following an obligatory appearance of the series' orchestral overture, Takayuki Hattori provides a rousing depiction of the human hero of the game, Kharg. It is once again written in the style of a march, but in addition to conveying pure heroism, Hattori's rich orchestration captures the subtleties of the character and his deeper motivations. The dark yet hopeful depiction of the other hero, Darc, seems fitting for portraying a slave of the underworld, struggling between hateful and honourable intentions. The entire score reflects the vibrant contrasts between the heroes and their worlds, ensuring a diverse and satisfying listening experience.

Like Arc the Lad III, there is a considerable emphasis on orchestral elements throughout this title. The increased maturity of the orchestration here is particularly evident in tracks such as "The Day of Departure", "Nafia and Windalf", "Eternal Separation", and "Creeping Crisis", which feature a emotional nuances and cinematic progression comparable with old film scores. The implementation is also top-notch too, mixing synthesised elements with pre-recorded strings and solo instruments. Such cinematic tracks serve to beautifully augment the game's storyline and the compositions are sufficiently developed to entirely satisfy on a stand-alone basis too.

Nevertheless, the jazz fusion influence of the original score is not completely lost. Take Fukushima's "Battle", for instance, which features the ethereal soundscaping and electric guitar leads typical of the series' past battle themes. While styled upon Andoh's work, the music is much more deep and elaborate than anything he has produced for the series. There is also a hard rock influence fused into Koji Sakurai's "Natural Selection", "Bloody Battle", and "Fierce Battle", complete with streamed electric guitar performances. These tracks have a much bigger impact in context than the series' past action themes, both brutal yet motivating at the same time.

With the exceptions of the more cinematic themes, the majority of the tracks here are actually fusion themes. In addition to the above-mentioned rock-orchestral blends, listeners can enjoy world music flavours incorporated into tracks such as "Yewbell", "Peisus Temple", and "Silent Sunlight", giving a vibrant backdrop to the game's visuals. The game's ending theme "Memory of the Stars" also elaborates on this world music flavour, combining the ethereal semi-operatic voice of the late Eri Kawai with a blend of Asian, Celtic, and orchestral instrumentation. The final composition takes listeners on quite a journey and is certainly among the most impressive vocal themes in any RPG.


On Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits, the series' music finally transcended beyond being a pale imitator of other RPG soundtracks to having a mature voice of its own. There is plenty to offer here, from rich cinematic compositions, to blistering rock tracks, to a tear jerking vocal theme, all of which reflect the contrasts and clashes of the game's scenarios. Prospective consumers should note that this album is not complete, but the offerings here are quite wholesome and reflect the best the score has to offer.

Overall Score: 8/10