01 - Light of the Wisp
02 - From the Ancient Castle Midnight Approaches
03 - Knights in the Nightmare
04 - Gleivnir Knights
05 - Thus Spoke...
06 - Gossip
07 - Audience
08 - Moonlit Night
09 - Confidential Talk
10 - Battle Preparations
11 - Tension
12 - Sorrow
13 - Fate
14 - Raid
15 - The Arrival of Evil
16 - Sortie Formation
17 - Endless Conflict
18 - Hopeless Defeat
19 - Bad End
20 - Epilogue ~ Midnight Already...
21 - Knights Formation
22 - Monologue Behind Closed Doors
23 - The Resolute Valkyrie
24 - Peace
25 - Unrest
26 - The Witch Yelma's Secret Schemes
27 - Serious
28 - The Pride of the Tiamat Race
29 - Uplift
30 - The Dark King
31 - Confrontation
32 - The Glory of Victory
33 - Recollections of the Soul
34 - Good End
35 - Biographies of the Honorable Knights
36 - Epilogue ~ Midnight Before Long...
37 - Tactical Instruction
38 - Tactical Documents
39 - Tactical Instruction by the Princess of a Certain Country
40 - Are you READY...
41 - Take a CHANCE!
42 - VS Boss Enemy
43 - to be Continued...
44 - Lose
45 - Win
46 - Clear!
47 - JOIN IN!
48 - FALLEN VICTIM
49 - Quality Up
50 - Level UP
51 - Tran-Soul
01 - Battle in the Abandoned Church
02 - Battle in the Deep Forest of Valde
03 - Clash with the Werewolf Jamie
04 - Battle at the Lakeside Town of Regnieburg
05 - Battle at the Lakeside Bridge
06 - Maria Sortie!
07 - Mellia Sortie!
08 - Clash with Rivulia the Judgment
09 - Battle at Fort Gerhard
10 - Clash with the Black Knight Gunther
11 - Battle in Lana Road
12 - Clash with the Beast King Dotaurus
13 - Battle at the Entrance
14 - Clash with the Fallen Angel Melissa
15 - Clash with the Seraph Marietta
16 - Battle in the Ancient Castle of Aventheim
17 - Clash with the Titan Scoppio
18 - Clash with the Gladiator Leonil
19 - Clash with the Sniper Aquina
20 - Clash with Lord Capehorn
21 - Fallen Angel Battle in the Moonlight
22 - Seraph Battle in the Moonlight
23 - Battle in the Royal Crypt
24 - Battle in Zeitzbach Cemetery
25 - Clash with Vilgo the Immortal
26 - Clash with the Witch Vienna
27 - Battle in the Lands of Cantalogne
28 - Clash with Cursed Piche
29 - Battle at the Lagoon
30 - Clash with the Devout Sacchito
31 - Battle in the Sanctuary
32 - Clash with Princess Alier
33 - Battle in the Phantom Labyrinth
34 - Clash with the Dark King Zolgonark
35 - Clash with the Newborn Melad Margus
36 - Final Decisive Battle to Ruin
37 - Heaven's Gate Final Decisive Battle
38 - Returning with Renewed Strengths!
39 - Battle Training for the Knights
I've always found Sting games to be fairly decent, with the exception of Baroque. Sting soundtracks, on the other hand, are almost always mediocre; fine to accompany the game, but weak as stand-alone albums. You can draw the parallel to Namco's Tales series, and much like Tales composer Motoi Sakuraba, Sting's Shigeki Hayashi has started to tread down the path of overusing particular motifs and just sounding repetitive. Knights in the Nightmare is a perfect example of this somewhat unfortunate artistic choice, and one we'll explore in Knights in the Nightmare OST (PSP).
Now, before I get into the meat of this review, I should say that I've only played the first battle or two of Knights in the Nightmare on DS, so I can't speak at length as to how the soundtrack complements the game. That being said, I'm fairly certain that they go together well. Knights in the Nightmare is a rather dark and brooding game: eerie environments paired with a morose storyline. The music flows much in the same vein, with ominous story themes and battle tracks that frequently use minor key. There's not much joy here: this is a bleak world.
While the soundtrack fits the setting quite nicely, there's not much else about this soundtrack that I consider worthy of praise. I didn't find any of the music particularly memorable, as most of it blended together into a creeping miasma. It might be good for Halloween listening or setting the mood for a horror D&D game, but there are better options to choose in either case. What's more, a lot of the music will sound familiar to those who have played Riviera and Yggdra Union (and, to a lesser extent, Baroque). Part of this is undoubtedly due to the systems the games were designed to be played on; the DS and PSP have the limitation of tinny speakers which, for the most part, don't do the music justice. Still, this shouldn't limit quality of composition, as any fan of Kenji Ito can clearly attest.
The soundtrack itself is split up into two discs; the first contains mostly cutscene and menu music, while the second is primarily battle themes. While disc one tends to distinguish itself from Hayashi's other works with tracks such as "Knights in the Nightmare," most of the tracks, including "Rumors" and "Clandestine Discussion," will remind listeners of Riviera and Yggdra Union. Moreover, a lot of the compositions have overtones of Valkyrie Profile, which made me wonder if I understated the parallels between Hasyashi and Sakuraba I made earlier.
The second disc is even more true to form(ula) than the first. Hayashi manages to make all his battle themes sound relatively similar, and it would be difficult for me to pick out which game they belonged to if I hadn't listened to them extensively (which, frankly, I haven't). "Maria Sortie!" and "Clash with the Beast King Daudalos" are perfect examples of the reuse of thematic motifs from Yggdra Union and Riviera. While not bad tracks on their own, they don't do much to rise above the flood of similar pieces on this and other of the composer's albums.
When it comes down to it, the only real reason to purchase this album is if you were a fan of Knights in the Nightmare or Shigeki Hayashi: there's nothing to recommend the album beyond that. It's a shame, too, as Hayashi has the makings of an excellent composer. I just hope he branches out before he gets stuck in a formulaic "Tale" of his own.
Reviewed by: Damian Thomas