Druaga Online -The Story of Aon- Soundtrack
Druaga Online -The Story of Aon- Soundtrack
October 31, 2014
Buy at CD Japan
Druaga Online -The Story of Aon- Soundtrack accompanies the Namco arcade game. Featuring original music by Ayako Saso and Hiroto Saitoh, in addition to arrangements of the early Druaga titles by Namco composers, it offers a variety of styles. How does this soundtrack release hold up years after the game’s initial release?
The album itself is orchestral in nature, although at a synthesized level, and offers a variety of themes, ranging from character themes, to the actual map themes, to battle themes. The four character themes are some of the highlights on the album. “Gilgamesh’s Main Theme” is a bright and heroic theme that features some light rock accompaniment. It’s extremely catchy and features a very strong melody. “Ki’s Main Theme” is similar to “Gilgamesh’s Main Theme” although it is much brighter and happier sounding and features an electronic accompaniment. “Walkure’s Main Theme” is rock and orchestral in tone. It has a fantastic energy and reminds me, at times, to some of Super Mario Galaxy’s more exuberant pieces. Lastly, “Xeovalga’s Main Theme” has more of an industrial tone, given that he is robotic in nature. The atmosphere is also a bit darker, bordering on sinister, and features more of a synth led composition with orchestral support rather than the reverse.
A majority of the music featured on the soundtrack are those pertaining to the actual stages in the game, coming in three different size varieties. “Large Map 1 ‘Windy Grasslands’ Theme” is an orchestral theme with a focus on woodwind instruments. There is also some Asian instrumentation that is incorporated into the piece. It features a great melody and a bright atmosphere. “Large Map 2 ‘Blizzard Mountain Range’ Theme” features a slighty darker sound mainly orchestral in nature with electronic tones that just exudes atmosphere. The last large map, “Large Map 3 ‘Sky Garden’ Theme,” features a soft electronic beat, some airy orchestral tones. It features a good melody and is a fun tune overall. On the other end of the spectrum, there are the smaller size maps. “Small Map 1 ‘Tower of Druaga’ Theme” is orchestral with a rock flavor in the accompaniment. It is very adventurous in tone and the nice rock interlude makes for a nice dynamic listen. “Small Map 2 ‘Ancient Ruins’” features an epic sound complete with choir samples and a driving electronic beat. The melody itself is a bit on the generic side, but I do like the dynamic nature of the piece. Lastly, “Small Map 3 ‘Sky Palace’” has a very reverent sound. A lot of the elements, such as harp, help lend itself to this nature and as a result, the piece gives off a relaxing, yet regal, sound.
Before moving onto the other stage themes, the battle themes are worth mentioning, although most wouldn’t be considered the highlights of the release. The two boss battle themes, named “Generic Boss Battle Theme A” and “Generic Boss Battle Theme B,” are just that. While serviceable, they just don’t really provide as much impact as some of the other battle themes on the soundtrack. The former reminds me of Xenosaga II, but doesn’t live up to the caliber of those themes. The latter is more electronically driven and features an ominous sound, but it doesn’t really stand out either. Of the two, it is the more enjoyable piece. The last three battle themes are for unique enemies in the game. “Vs. Quox Battle Theme” features that thumping electronic beat that can definitely be heard in a noisy arcade. Unfortunately, the rest of the piece doesn’t really develop too much. “Vs. Druaga Battle Theme” has a slight rock tone with an orchestral base. It is chaotic in sound, but feels a bit soulless in the first half of the track. The second half provides a more interesting rhythm and melody that helps redeem it slightly. Lastly, “Vs. God Druaga Battle Theme” is definitely the best of the battle themes. It has an ominous electronic sound with matching orchestral components. I find that the choir really adds to the piece’s atmosphere.
Back to the stage themes, the majority of them are for the maps that are medium in size. “Middle Map 1 ‘Limestone Cavern’ Theme” has a mysterious aspect to it thanks to the choir and electronic accompaniment. It gives off a nice underground vibe that really helps the track, given it isn’t one that really stands out. “Middle Map 2 ‘Floating Island’ Theme” is an upbeat orchestral theme with bagpipes. It also features a slight edge. It, too, doesn’t stand out but it is an enjoyable piece. “Middle Map 3 ‘Sea of Trees’ Theme” is a vibrant woodwinds led piece with electronic accompaniment. It has a mystical sound to it and the woodwinds and piano help accentuate this feeling. A favorite of mine, “Middle Map 4 ‘Sunken City’ Theme,” is more of a synth led piece with a great crystalline sound and an upbeat electronic rhythm. It has a slight mystery to its tone and the orchestral parts that support the track are also quite nice. “Middle Map 5 ‘Grand Desert’ Theme” is a very tropey desert theme. It features that typical Egyptian sound heard in RPGs, but the melody itself is quite good. In addition, the rhythm is fantastic and really helps the piece. Lastly, “Middle Map 6 ‘Druaga’s Demon Castle’ Theme” is a sinister one with an electronic tone. Featuring choir, synth, and orchestral components, it does come off a bit generic, but does give a great sense of tension.
In the end, the Druaga Online -The Story of Aon- Soundtrack is a solid listen. While I find that the battle themes are a bit on the weaker side, the character and stage themes, on the whole, make this release enjoyable. Fans of Ayako Saso and Hiroto Saitoh’s works, or even the earlier Druaga soundtracks, might enjoy this soundtrack as it features both arrangements and original tunes for the arcade title.
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Posted on December 17, 2014 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on December 17, 2014.