The Dark Spire Special Soundtracks

The Dark Spire Special Soundtracks Album Title:
The Dark Spire Special Soundtracks
Record Label:
Success
Catalog No.:
GTCD-0002
Release Date:
May 22, 2008
Purchase:
–> Buy Used Copy

Overview

The Nintendo DS has brought a recent revival of classic first person dungeon crawlers, such as the Etrian Odyssey series, Shiren the Wanderer series, and the upcoming Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey. However, Success has recently put out a game that also follows in these footsteps, entitled Genmu no Tou to Tsurugi no Okite (or The Dark Spire). Taking things one more step into the realm of retro games, this game features a classic and updated mode with music to match! The Japanese release of the game was accompanied by a short album that reflected what to expect from the album. It also a few semi-exclusive arrangements and unused tracks. Is this album worthwhile or should you just stick to the two disc commercial release?

Body

The album opens with a solo piano interpretation of the game’s main theme. As with many game pieces these days, it is quite simple but heartfelt and is a pleasant way to expose the melody. The end of the album also features a remastered version of the original main theme. Presented similar to an aria, the introduction features atmospheric piano work and orchestral elements gradual enter, culminating in a short but striking passage written for operatic male voice. The vocal and orchestra sound distinctly synthetic, but are very well done nonetheless. There is also a secondary main theme presented on piano and it proves a more emotionally fulfilling piece overall. These pieces were all included on the domestic soundtrack, but not the import release.

Only “6th Floor” and “7th Floor” are included among the dungeon themes for the game. They’re pretty interesting given they present some awesome melodies on bizarre operatic vocals. The vocals really help make the atmosphere of the tracks much richer, despite their sound quality. There is also an exclusive unused theme written in an upbeat disco style. Given the dark mood of the game, it’s easy to see why it was rejected, but it’s still an enjoyable listen. The chiptune versions of these themes are also included. release. They demonstrate the strength of Kenichi Arakawa’s melodies and how his compositions intrinsically create so much mood. However, they’re inevitably less dramatic so I prefer the original versions overall.

My two favourite battle themes are also included among the bunch. “Mid Boss” has got an extremely upbeat bass line with clear techno and rock influences and the piano intro is to die for! As with the other battle themes, it also features vocal samplings, but the piano is the true star of this show. It melds so well with the guitar riffs. The final boss theme comes a close second in terms of favoritism. The vocal samples in this one are very reminiscent of those found in the later floor themes, but the overall atmosphere is dark and brooding. Touches of rock, some keen organ usage, and a very beautifully mixed sound make this an amazing theme. A great selection for sure!

Summary

In the end, the Genmu no Tou to Tsurugi no Okite Special Soundtracks is a pretty interesting album. It features some dark, brooding music, but there are also some catchy themes, such as various floor themes and the battle themes. It’s not the strongest of soundtracks and I like the Etrian Odyssey soundtracks much more, but it’s still worth listening to if you plan on buying the ridiculously challenging game. The exclusives such as the main theme arrangements and unused tracks are especially fulfilling. However, this particular album is only an insight into what to expect and intentionally omits a lot of good stage, town, and event themes from the main release. It’s a good way to tell whether the Genmu no Tou to Tsurugi no Okite Original Soundtracks is for you, but not sufficient as it stands. A creative but limited promo.

The Dark Spire Special Soundtracks Don Kotowski

Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!

2.5


Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on August 1, 2012.


About the Author

Don Kotowski

Currently residing in New York, I spend my days working in antibody therapeutics and dedicate some of my spare time in the evening to the vast world of video game music, both reviewing soundtracks as well as maintaining relationships with composers overseas in Europe and in Japan.



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