Glory of Heracles SOUND CHRONICLE

 

Album Title:
Glory of Heracles SOUND CHRONICLE
Record Label:
Sweep Record
Catalog No.:
SRIN-1119
Release Date:
June 23, 2018
Purchase:
Buy at CDJapan

Overview

Four years in the making, the Glory of Heracles SOUND CHRONICLE, published by Supersweep, captures the first four mainline games in the series, as well as spinoffs, that were released for the Nintendo, Super Nintendo, and Gameboy, all of which never saw a release outside of Japan. Featuring the music from a variety of composers, including Shogo Sakai, the music has a different feel than most RPGs at the time. Is this chronicled collection worth picking up and is the absence of the DS game sadly missed?

Body

Legend of the Fighting Demon’s Lair: Glory of Heracles

The music for the first game in the series isn’t the most exciting offering on the soundtrack. Fairly short in length, it is comprised of a lot of jingles, but does manage to capture and provide an overall sense of the series music. Opening with “Labors of a Divine Hero,” the soundtrack starts off with a fanfare with a militaristic sound, perhaps, in some ways, inspired by Dragon Quest, but certainly less memorable. “Heracles’ Departure,” on the other hand is catchy and bubbly with a motivating sound. “Melody of a Brave Warrior,” Heracles’ theme, features militaristic percussion and a bright and warm melody that is quite memorable. “A Moment of Peace,” with its reflective sound, definitely gives off a calming aura. “Royal Palace” is another beautiful tune, but has a hint of sorrow to it while “Wish of the Gods” is bright and inviting. There are also some more dark/tense tunes on the soundtrack. “Assault,” the battle theme, is orchestral in nature and has an ominous sound with plenty of tension, while “Jet Black World” is mysterious and sinister while “To Beyond” is mysterious, but also features a beautiful melody. “The Devil King Hades” is also quite dark and imposing but I wouldn’t say it’s melody is too impressionable. Lastly, “The Heroes Return” has a classical air to it with its bright melody. Overall, this entry isn’t terribly strong, but does sport some wonderful melodies at times.

Glory of Heracles II: Titan’s Downfall

Much like the first game, this game also opens up with a fanfare, “To Those with Courage,” which boasts an upbeat sound and a nice melody. Uplifting and airy in nature is “In A Crowded City,” it’s a dynamic piece that really manages to stand out. A personal favorite is “Wind Blowing in the Wilderness” with its bright and breezy melody and adventurous tones that give a feeling of an untamed world awaiting. On the flip side is “People of a Frontier Town,” featuring a more subdued and down-to-earth feel with its melody. “Into the Depths of the Earth” is mysterious and boasts a decent melody while “Holy Palace” is pious and church-like in nature, but the melody is fairly average. The area theme, “The Hall Where A Goblin Waits” is suspenseful, mysterious, and mischievous, helping lend a great atmosphere to the piece, even if it does suffer more on the melodic side. Two traversal themes, “Crossing the Sea” and “Wings of Pegasus” are both memorable and sport fantastic melodies with the former upbeat and bubbly and the latter more airy. The battle theme, “Servant of the Titan” is considerably stronger than the first game’s battle theme. It’s catchy, has a groovy bass, and is overall fun and engaging. “The Titan’s Anger,” presumably the final boss theme, harkens to the first game in style. It’s tense and ominous while featuring a wonderful melody. However, the B section, with its invigorating runs, definitely steals the show. The ending theme, “All Are In A Myth” boasts a dreamy soundscape and a peaceful melody before transitioning to a more upbeat tune with a groovy bassline. As it progresses further, it shifts to a more adventurous, yet pious, tune. Overall, the second game in the series is an improvement over the original, but also features a lot of shorter tunes.

Glory of Heracles: The Gods Began to Move – The Snap-Story

Although released after the third game in the series, it shares its home with the music of the first two games on the soundtrack. This is largely due to the fact that a lot of the music is rehashed from the first two games. Among these tunes are “Melody of a Brave Warrior,” “A Moment of Peace,” “Wish of the Gods,” and “To Beyond” from Glory of Heracles, and “Into the Depths of the Earth” from Glory of Heracles II. The original music is fairly decent as well. “Crowds of People” is upbeat and jovial with a memorable melody and “In A Small Shrine” is a melody with a more religious feel to it. The battle theme, “To A Daily Struggle Once Again” is energetic and determined while “Bloodload” is a more tense and ominous march with a dark melody, presumably the final battle theme. The ending theme, “God’s Rest” has a celebratory sound with a memorable melody with religious tones and the second half being more upbeat. The game over theme, “Death,” is moody and somber. Overall, this Game Boy soundtrack has some nice original tunes and takes some of the more recognizable tunes from the first two games and gives them a fresh coat of paint.

Glory of Heracles III: Silence of the Gods

The third mainline game in the series was first released for the Super Nintendo, so many of the aspects of the game’s sound was given new life and a more colorful musical palette. This soundtrack opens with “To Those With Courage ~Gaia~, a tune that is done in a more medley style with the first half being upbeat with a march accompaniment and the second section being more peaceful and relaxing with a woodwind lead. It is also reprised in “Gaia” with woodwind and harp. “Days of Rest” has more religious tones to it, flittering woodwinds, and a brass melody. The end result is fairly enjoyable. This tone is somewhat captured again with “Where Time Is Lost” with its harp, brass, strings, and woodwinds combining to create beautiful soundscape and melody. It’s reprised in “Heave of Hot Sand,” where it’s featured with a slower tempo.  “Swaying on the Waves” also captures a peaceful town and a sea vibe with its woodwind melody and wind sound effects. This tune, in particular, has some nice brass harmonies and is fairly memorable. Lastly, “Atonement and Reincarnation,” which closes the soundtrack is a woodwind led tune with brass and strings that provide a peaceful and warm atmosphere with its memorable melody.

“Glory of Ancient Times” is an upbeat and jovial woodwind led tune that is bright and fun while “People of the Oasis” is an upbeat and desert-y woodwind tune with tambourine and a decent melody. Other town themes are “Prestige of the Empire” with its more militaristic flair and “A Town Smelling of Olives,” full of harp, strings, and woodwinds that lends itself nicely to a peaceful tone and a nice melody as well. On the other end of the spectrum is “A Wonderful Dream,” a more mysterious and ambient tune with a woodwind melody that doesn’t particularly stand out. Likewise, both “The World Where Demons Live” and “Inside the Dark One” are more atmospheric, eerie, and full of tension, but are otherwise fairly standard and don’t stand out. “Labyrinth at the Depths of the Earth” is also tense, ominous, and mysterious with its woodwind and strings led piece, although, it, too, fails to stand out. “Gods of Olympus” is also mysterious and moody featuring a woodwind melody and a more ambient accompaniment. “Oceanus, Revived!” is suspenseful with its strings and brass, but is rather underwhelming.

“Raise the Mast” is an upbeat and adventurous strings tune with pounding percussion, woodwinds and brass and features a fantastic melody while “Soaring Pegasus” is airy and bright, with a brass led melody accompanied by harp and strings. It, too, has a wonderfully adventurous sound with a fantastic melody and excellent progression. The battle theme, “Visitors from a Different World,” features fanfarish brass and militaristic tones with an overall orchestral sound. Unfortunately, however, is its fairly bland melody. “Battle with a Powerful Enemy” is a tense and dramatic orchestral tune with lots of energy, but comes off as a bit generic. “My Name is Baor” is a dramatic tune with brass and strings harmonies. The brass itself carries a fanfare approach and the woodwinds offer some mystery to the piece. It’s a decent tune overall. In the end, the Glory of Heracles III: Silence of the Gods is a general improvement over the NES versions thanks in part to the expanded musical range offered by the Super Nintendo soundchips.

Glory of Heracles IV: Gift from the Gods

The soundtrack opens with “Endless Hope ~The Beginning of the Journey~,” a bright, joyous, and adventurous tune that is preceded  by a more cinematic opening. “Beyond the Horizon” is a woodwind and strings tune with an engaging and airy melody that certainly satisfies. “Traveling the Great Ocean” also provides a fun and memorable melody full of adventure with its brass lead and copious percussion alongside harp and strings in the accompaniment to provide a thrilling listen. “A New Sky” is an airy woodwind melody alongside a variety of percussion, but the melody itself isn’t particularly memorable. “The Wings of Pegasus” is an airy brass and strings tune with a bright melody.

“Memories of Atlantis” certainly gives off a watery vibe with peaceful harp and brass instrumentation lending itself to a warm melody. Peacefulness is also present in “In the Corner of a Field” with rustic acoustic guitar, strings, and woodwind providing a classical sound, a decent melody, and a warm atmosphere. “The Queen Passes Through” is exotic and desert-like in approach with an Egyptian feel to the music. The melody is nice, but the soundscape is rather trite. “Gathering in the Town” is a peaceful strings tune with harp and regal percussion. The end result is quite enjoyable. Sorrowful strings and harp are on display with “A Friend Dies” and helps accentuate a poignant and somber melody. Providing more emotion is “Deep Feelings,” a romantic music box tune with a memorable melody while “Torn Feeling” also sports a romantic, albeit, melancholy sound with its strings focus. Another memorable tune is “Where the Sand Goes” with its warm woodwind and strings melody.

“The Coming of Storm ~G Minor~” features frenetic strings that give off a sense of urgency before being interrupted by moments of calm. It features a great melody and has a nice classical air to it as well. “Attack,” the normal battle theme, is an orchestral tune with an ominous and tense soundscape. It is quite dramatic and features plenty of percussion, but like many battle themes in the series, it lacks a catchy hook and doesn’t particularly stand out. Surprisingly, “Battle with Monsters” features an upbeat and heroic brass and timpani soundscape and features a catchy melody, a rarity among battle themes in the series. “Battle of Life and Death” features intense brass sounds amidst an orchestral pallette and the melody itself is pretty decent and memorable. “The End-All Battle” is dramatic and intense with a brass focus that also boasts strings and imposing percussion; however, it isn’t the strongest in terms of memorability.

On the atmospheric side is “To the Bottom of the Mines.” It has ominous and tense soundscapes with mysterious brass and strings, but is rather lackluster. Similarly, “Investigation” suffers from having a lackluster melody but its atmosphere and mood are quite enjoyable. “Expectations ~Where Time Goes~” is also atmospheric with its dramatic and mysterious strings, but it truly shines with its fantastical and dark melody. Likewise, “Dwelling of the King of Death” is regal and haunting with a fantastic strings melody and harmonies that is both dark and beautiful. “Deep Sea ~The World of Poseidon~” is a mysterious harp/strings tune that boasts a decent melody and soundscape while “Mountaing of the Spiraling Wind” boasts a great melody and an imposing sound. Of all four soundtracks, Glory of Heracles IV: Gift from the Gods offers the most enjoyable soundtrack among them with improvements to battle themes, in particular.

The remaining two discs on the soundtrack cover a remastered release of Glory of Heracles: Greece Reminiscences and demo tunes for Glory of Heracles III. The other disc comprises three bonus arrangements. The first, “Lost Time Elegy,” by Saint☆Peach, is an arrangement of “Where Time Is Lost” from Glory of Heracles III. It opens with a beautiful classical piano arrangement before transitioning to a jazz arrangement with trumpet, bass guitar, dual saxophones, electric guitar, and piano, complete with solos, to transform the original into a stellar interpretation. “Children of Atlantis ’18,” arranged by Shogo Sakai and Seiji Momoi and featuring vocals by Manami Kiyota, is an arrangement of “Beyond the Horizon” and “I Love Everything” from Glory of Heracles IV. Orchestral backing, ethereal choral work, organ, and rustic acoustic guitar, and harp provide both religious tones and a ballad approach that is done in a more medley like form. Lastly, “Faraway Atlantis,” an arrangement of “Memories of Atlantis” by Shogo Sakai, also from Glory of Heracles IVfeatures bass guitar, ethereal and atmospheric synth backing, and warm, jazzy guitar and bass with a slightly tropical feel. These three bonus tunes are all nice reinterpretations of the original and serve as a nice bonus to round out this collection.

Summary

In the end, the Glory of Heracles SOUND CHRONICLE is a game music collector’s type of item. The music does improve as the series ages and provides a variety of soundscapes, some of which appear to be inspired by other RPGs of the time. The bonus tunes are a nice addition as well. It may not be the strongest music out there, but it is, by no means, a bad release. It would have been nice to also include the Nintendo DS Glory of Heracles soundtrack as well, as that is noticeably missing, but this could have been due to licensing issues. While not recommended for everyone, this release certainly commemorates a series whose music as long been an afterthought in the game music soundtrack market.

Glory of Heracles SOUND CHRONICLE Don Kotowski

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

3.5


Posted on October 8, 2018 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on October 8, 2018.

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About the Author

Currently residing in Philadelphia. I spend my days working in vaccine characterization 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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