Arc the Lad Soundtrack Complete (or "Sound Track Complete" according to the reprint's cover) is a complete collection of music from Arc the Lad I and II. Note that this is the only soundtrack to have an original soundtrack for Arc the Lad I, as the other "Original Game Soundtrack" is a complete misnomer: it's actually an 11-track arranged album!
Conveniently, the game's soundtracks are divided by discs. For those wondering how disc two could have less tracks than the separate "Arc the Lad II OGS", I believe this can be answered by noting that some of the songs on AtL 2 are used in the first game, and are hence found on disc one of this set.
It was unfortunate for me to discover that, in all honesty, I don't like the OST of the first Arc the Lad. I suppose the sound capabilities of that early PS1 title were so limited that the music turned out to be a notch below what we hear in Arc the Lad II and III. Same can be said about Andoh's compositions, which seem to be lackluster in this first title.
...Not that the first disc doesn't have its good moments.
For starters, there's the classic opening theme, which has been carried forward (with slight variations) in each subsequent Arc title. The battle themes, as usual, are catchy, though I still prefer Arc the Lad III's battle themes over these any day. Take a listen to track 23, "Battle 6", to get an idea of what I mean. The beat is nicely done, the simple chord structure works well, and the synth-string melody is a delight. I wouldn't mind having this song repeated for a good fifteen to twenty minutes; I'm sure it worked well in-game!
Another special treat for me was the piano work in track 10, "Critical Moment." The melody is running on a syncopated schedule, coming in during the second half of every measure. Even in its repetition, it feels new every time. The light hand drums make for a lovely fast percussion part. If only this song were looped once: I hate that it's only 50 seconds long on the CD.
Alright, then there's disc 2. The Arc the Lad II soundtrack is simply awesome. I've given my thoughts on it in detail in my review on the Arc the Lad II OGS, but let's just say it's decent.
Not featured on the AtL II OGS are the bonus tracks here, and among the bonus tracks, I must point out the "Special Ability Mix" (the final track) as a fun bonus song. Much like Sakuraba's infamous "Voice Mix Arrange" albums, this song takes battle cries from the game and puts it to some sweet techno battle theme. I like it a lot, and so should you.
This album isn't too hard to come by, but it may be in the future. If you're an Arc the Lad fan, or are starting to think you ought to be, this is a good album to find, especially because of the Arc the Lad II tracks.
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann