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Witch Tale Sound Collection :: Review by Chris

Witch Tale ~The Apprentice Witch and the Seven Princesses~ Sound Collection Album Title: Witch Tale ~The Apprentice Witch and the Seven Princesses~ Sound Collection
Record Label: Nippon Ichi Software
Catalog No.: Promotional
Release Date: May 28, 2009
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Developed by Hitmaker and published by Nippon Ichi Software, A Witch's Tale was a relatively well-received DS RPG with a Halloween-inspired scenario. The score, composed by Dragoneer's Aria returnee Sara Sakurai, emphasised the 'spooky yet light-hearted' nature of the game through relatively conventional means. Those who pre-ordered the game in Japan received a CD containing five themes from the game and a data track featuring an art collection.


The title theme immediately establishes the Halloween sound for the soundtrack. Sara Sakurai achieves this through typical means: expect half-sinister, half-playful melodies, contrasts between fragile and bold instrumentation, and, of course, a firm waltz rhythm throughout. While everything is effectively composed and implemented for the DS, the concept of the track is a complete cliché and the melodies are utterly vanilla. Admittedly, there are some pleasing countermelodies during the development, as well as some spooky theremin sounds, but these aren't really enough to make the composition be perceived as anything more than average.

Okubo builds on the approach of the title theme on the subsequent character themes, "Lidell's Theme" and "Loue's Theme". Both are also waltzes that place a strong emphasis on lyrical melodies. The former is a light-hearted and frivolous representation limited somewhat by its brevity. The vampirish nature of Loue meanwhile is represented by gothic elements, such as Baroque-style chord progressions, counterpoint part-writing, and, of course, an emphasis on organ and chorus. While stereotypical, it is easily one of the most satisfying pieces on the score, thanks to its bold sound and extensive development.

The promotional album also features two piano-based compositions. "Between Doors" is a simple but heartfelt arrangement of "Loue's Theme" for solo piano. Musicians may find the stale harmonies uninspiring here, but it still creates the intended effect. "Dark Tone" meanwhile is an attempt at creating dark ambience with a piano trio. Unfortunately, the part-writing, especially for the piano, is too sparse and detached to be immersive. The result is just plain scene-setting ambience.


Evidently, the music for A Witch's Tale is largely competent, likeable, and effective. However, it lacks the special factor needed to distinguish itself from similarly styled soundtracks out there, such as Tenpei Sato's Disgaea. This arises due to Sara Sakurai's usually stylistically derivative approach and tendency to rely on melodically unremarkable themes. This promotional album, while short and less diverse, is pretty representative of the full soundtrack release and not necessarily all that appealing.

Overall Score: 5/10