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Super Robot Taisen Alpha Gaiden Original Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

Super Robot Taisen Alpha Gaiden Original Soundtrack Album Title: Super Robot Taisen Alpha Gaiden Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Lantis
Catalog No.: LACA-5033
Release Date: May 23, 2001
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Super Robot Taisen Alpha Gaiden is a side story in the second generation of Banpresto's robot saga, originally released for the PlayStation in 2001. The soundtrack for the game followed the example of its predecessor, combining original vocal themes, arrangements of anime favourites, and new instrumental compositions. The album released for the game is thankfully complete and encompassing, unlike those for the Super Robot Taisen Alpha. Let's take a closer look...


Super Robot Taisen Alpha Gaiden is headlined by two theme songs by JAM Project, though both are ported over from original Alpha. The opener, "Steel Messiah", is one of their most melodramatic entries to date and perfectly suits the opening animation; expect powerful male vocals crying semi-operatically above rhythm guitar riffs and a particularly loud drum line. The ending theme "Power", on the other hand, follows the tradition of a rock ballad. The introduction offers a pleasant combination of electric guitar leads and supporting orchestration, before a succession of vocalists emphasise the reflective, bittersweet quality of the ending. Both are among JAM Project's greatest hits, but their reuse here is a little desperate.

Much of the first half of the soundtrack is comprised of instrumental arrangements of anime theme songs. Unfortunately, these 17 tracks are easily the weak point of the soundtrack for several reasons. Most significantly, many of the tracks were previously featured in Super Robot Taisen Alpha and receive identical subpar arrangements here. There's no end of tracks featuring campy brass leads and superficial poppy accompaniment, and the result is collectively mind-numbing. How many goofy jazz takes on Mazinger Z's main theme can listeners take? Why did Banpresto decide to reprise the Combattler V track complete with piercing brass synthesis and annoying voice-overs?

While a fair proportion of the theme song arrangements are rehashed, there are thankfully some new tracks on Super Robot Taisen Alpha Gaiden. Most significantly, entries from the Gundam series return with favourites such as "The Winner", "Silent Voice", and "Dreams", at the sacrifice of popular entries such as Gunbuster and Neon Genesis Evangelion. Sadly, the new tracks bring little stylistically novel to the table. Sure, "The Winner" might feature a saxophone lead for a change, but it's still as superficial and badly synthesised as the rest of the arrangements. At least a few of the closing tracks, most notably "Attack the Mother Ship!", bring some much-needed drama to the mostly upbeat selections.

When the arrangements of the anime theme songs and original character themes are considered, there is relatively little original material on Super Robot Taisen Gaiden. The 18 or so new compositions are somehow squeezed on to the second half of the single disc soundtrack with very sudden fade-outs. Quite a few compositions resemble the anime theme song arrangements with their upbeat melody-focused approach. For example, "Spring Breeze Presia" sounds super-happy and only really differentiates itself from other additions with its flute lead. "Project Aegis" meanwhile has a slightly more epic tone, but is still at heart a motivating anthem. Both work really well in their respectively contexts, but it's difficult to enjoy them out of context given the similar, albeit inferior, material that precedes.

Thankfully, there are some much darker compositions that finally give the soundtrack the depth and variety it desperately needed. "Ancestor" nicely bridges the 'happy' and 'dark' portions of the soundtrack with its excellent conflicted orchestration. They give way to much more aggressive and modernist orchestrations such as "Advancing Army of Giant Machines", "Future Running Astray", and "Break the Chains" that are impressively implemented on the PlayStation. "Sleep..." and "Earth Cradle" meanwhile adhere to the RPG cliché of gothic organ-based dramatic themes, but are still very wholesome. "The Gate of Magus" rounds off the album in an impressive manner, combining the orchestral and gothic elements featured earlier with contemporary electronic beats.


Super Robot Taisen Alpha Gaiden was only ever intended to be a sidestory and the soundtrack unfortunately shows this. It is largely a continuation of its predecessor and offers essentially no novel ideas. This is acceptable in the context of the game, where even the anime theme song arrangements have their place, but results in a rather monotone and uninspiring stand-alone listen. Skip this in favour of other albums in the Alpha subseries.

Overall Score: 5/10