Tales of the World -Radiant Mythology- Original Soundtrack
Tales of the World -Radiant Mythology- Original Soundtrack
March 7, 2007
Buy at CDJapan
2006’s PSP title Radiant Mythology was the fifth game in the Tales of the World spin-off series, known for featuring characters from various main Tales games together with classic RPG features. Nariki Dungeon returnee Takuya Yasuda is the man behind the music and created numerous new themes for the original score. He also arranged some of the Tales series’ battle themes. So let’s take a closer look…
The style of the overall soundtrack is more ambient and atmospheric than its predecessor. It’s something different from what can be heard in previous Tales soundtracks by Motoi Sakuraba. Also the sound quality leaves a lot to be desired against the more technologically commanded PSP soundtracks out there. It features a cheap MIDI source which could be game from the Super Nintendo era. The worst offenders are the brass and percussion, which are prominent in heroic themes like the title theme “Radiant Mythology #1”, resistance group theme “Ad libtium”, and “Character Making” or “Ad libtium”. Musically, they’re not bad, but they simply don’t impress that much outside the game like many of the tracks.
Like I said, most of the area themes are atmospheric and acoustic here. “Ailily”, “Place of Meeting”, and “New Frontier”, for instance, make use of acoustic guitar, woodwinds and diverse percussion effects. “Dopurune” is a more majestic town theme with heavy use of Baroque instrumentation and phrasing. One the other side there are themes like the eerie “Under the Yggdrasil” with its hypnotising bell motif, the sinister and foreboding “Ruins of Muscai” with its excellent use of orchestra and choir to build up an mood of fear and anxiety, or the dramatic and climatic “Valley of Lava” with military snare rythmns and brass melodies. One of the more interesting dungeon themes is “The Freezing”. The track uses a steady beat to accompany the main melody in form of glockenspiel, harp, and strings. Later woodwinds and pizzicato strings join to develop a nice and catchy sound. Also notable are “Forest of Paleozoic” with its eerie use of harmonies and instrumentation such as pizzicato string and bells. The final dungeon theme “Whisper of evil”, though clichéd and repetitive with its use of organ and choir, is very atmospheric and climatic nonetheless.
The normal battle theme “Blazing!” is surprisingly catchy and features some elements from previous Sakuraba themes such as “Full Force!” or “Take Up the Cross”. While not as driving or melodious as those, this theme makes an tolerable appearance in form of an battle theme. “Middle Boss” is more climatic and dark touched with use of choir and synth lines. It has a catchy part around 0:27 which makes it easy to remember, but also it doesn’t stand out here. A notable mention is “Sad memory”. I don’t know if it’s a battle theme, but it sounds like one. The percussion is better developed here and the melodies are catchy and memorable with its bells, woodwinds and strings. It illustrates a feeling of sadness, tragedy, and determination quite well. Definitely one of the better compositions in this style. The last battle theme and also theme for the main antagonist “Widdershin” is a typical fast-paced battle theme you expected with synth, choir, organ and everything. It develops very well and works fine during the context of the game for this decisive situation.
The few character themes are somewhat bland here. “Mormo” is an childish sounding theme with clap rythmns and woodwind melodies. It fits the little creature well, even if it sounds a bit too jolly for my taste. With the theme for the heroine “Kannono” Yasuda, has created another pleasant and quite emotional theme with a highlight development section. On the other side “THEME OF EVIL” sounds as bland as its name. Hackneyed choir, organ, and percussion use make this track stand out as one of the most uncreative compositions in this score. “Theme of Sorrow” is a little better in structure, but also one of the most typical “sad themes” in RPG history. The soundtrack closes with some jingles as well as arrangements of previous Tales of battle themes, which are used during the Coliseum when you fight an cameo character from a game. There isn’t much to say about these ones, because they sound all identical as their original versions, with exeption of the former orchestrals “Battle Artist” and “Seeking Victory”, which are transformed into MIDI versions here.
Last but not least we have two vocal themes from Kana Uemura here — the opening theme “Hikari to Kage (Light and Shadow)” and the ending theme “Kami Hikooki (Paper Plane)”. Both are surprisingly in their original versions instead of the short game edits. The style is quite fitting with the remaining score with its rock ballad format and heavy use of acoustic guitar. I’m not a big fan of Uemura’s voice however. It’s quite pleasant, but not as powerful as other Tales vocalists, such as Misono or Deen, especially for the fast-paced opening theme. It fit, however, within the overall style perfectly and the vocals are more fitting in “Kami Hikooki”.
Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology is an alternate route of the Tales series. This score is low-key and atmospheric, which you can hear on almost every track, especially the setting themes. This also means that the score is one of those that is pleasant during the context of the game, but not very interesting on a stand-alone basis. There aren’t many tracks which really stand out here and few are particularly memorable. One of those aspects is the sound quality, which is very low here. On the other hand, there isn’t a really bad track with the exception of those little repetitive ones. Takuya Yasuda has done an solid job of developing a score that is enjoyable inside the game and the theme songs are also fitting and nicely done. Get this if you like atmospheric soundtracks that illustrate different moods in various interesting ways. Avoid it if you want more diverse music or some progressive rock or electronica akin to previous Tales soundtracks.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Max Nevill. Last modified on August 1, 2012.