01 - From the Ancient Castle Drawing Midnight
02 - Knights in the Nightmare
03 - Gravenir Knights
04 - Thus Spoke...
05 - Gossip
06 - Audience
07 - Moonlit Night
08 - Secret Talk
09 - Preparing for Action
10 - Tension
11 - Sorrow
12 - Fate
13 - Raid
14 - The Arrival of Evil
15 - Sortie Formation
16 - Endless Offense and Defense
17 - Hopeless Defeat
18 - Bad End
19 - Epilogue ~ Midnight Already...
20 - Knights Organization
21 - Monologue Behind Closed Doors
22 - The Resolute Valkyrie
23 - Peace
24 - Unrest
25 - The Witch Yelma's Secret Schemes
26 - Serious
27 - The Pride of the Tiamat Dragon Race
28 - Promotion
29 - Dark King
30 - Confrontation
31 - The Glory of Victory
32 - Recollections of the Soul
33 - Good End
34 - Honorary Knights Biographies
35 - Epilogue ~ Midnight Before Long...
36 - Tactics Instruction
37 - Tactics Book
38 - A Certain Country's Princess Tactics Instruction
39 - Are you READY...
40 - Take a CHANCE!
41 - VS Boss Enemy
42 - to be Continued...
43 - Lose
44 - Win
45 - Clear!
46 - JOIN IN!
47 - FALLEN VICTIM
48 - Quality Up
49 - Level Up
50 - Tran-Soul
51 - Ep.1-2-4 Fantasia (Bonus Track)
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 Wharf
06 - Maria Sortie!
07 - Meria Sortie!
08 - Clash with Rivulia the Judgement
09 - Battle at Fort Gerhardt
10 - Clash with the Black Knight Gunther
11 - Battle at Larna Highway
12 - Clash with the Beast King Daedalus
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 Giant God Scoppio
18 - Clash with the Magic Swordsman Leonil
19 - Clash with the Sharpshooter Aqulienne
20 - Clash with Lord Capehorn
21 - Moonlight Fallen Angel Battles
22 - Moonlight Seraph Battles
23 - Battle in the Royal Mausoleum
24 - Battle in the Cemetery of Seitzbach
25 - Clash with the Immortal Virgo
26 - Clash with the Witch Vinya
27 - Battle in the Land of Cantolounn
28 - Clash with Cursed Pische
29 - Battle at the Lagoon
30 - Clash with the Servant Sakit
31 - Battle in the Sanctuary
32 - Clash with the Imperial Princess Arlie
33 - Battle in the Phantom Labyrinth
34 - Clash with the Dark King Zolgonark
35 - Clash with the Newborn Melod Melgis
36 - Final Decisive Battle to Destruction
37 - Heaven's Gate Final Decisive Battle
38 - Returning Stronger than Before!
39 - Battle Training for the Knights
Shigeki Hayashi has been working almost exclusively with developer Sting for some time now. His frantic, fast-paced tunes on past games Riviera and Yggdra Union have earned him some reputation. Unfortunately, I fear that his reputation will soon mimic that of a man with whom many have love/hate relationships: Motoi Sakuraba.
There are two reasons that the Knights in the Nightmare soundtrack invites the comparison. First of all, Hayashi sounds a good bit like Sakuraba. Synthy prog-rock with synth choirs and a heavy emphasis on drum&bass...that's definitely the Sakuraba formula. Hayashi has the added disadvantage of writing music for limited platforms (GBA/DS). The second reason Hayashi seems to be morphing into Sakuraba is that this soundtrack sounds so similar to Riviera and Yggdra Union, it's difficult to tell the three apart. The first few times you hear a Sakuraba score, you may think "wow, this is pretty cool, I'm impressed!" But after hearing the 200th song from him that sounds just like the first, the admiration turns to loathing. I fear that Hayashi is going down this same path. Is he a one-trick pony? I don't know. But this soundtrack doesn't help in his defense.
Even within itself, it seems the music is repetitious. Having played the game extensively, I was shocked to find the soundtrack would fill two discs, with a total of 90 different tracks (including about a dozen "jingles"). Playing through the game, I felt like there couldn't have been more than a dozen pieces of music written. Apparently, I wasn't paying attention.
The first disc contains music that can be played at any point throughout the game. Standard battle themes, as well as the re-used (and, dare I say, overused) music for the game's many short dialogue-based cut scenes, are found on the first disc. The second disc, which I consider to be far superior, is a chronological breakdown of special themes for the battles (including specific tunes for boss battles). These "one-and-done" pieces are what really shine; unfortunately, in the context of the game, you don't get to hear them enough to enjoy them. With the soundtrack at your side, said problem is naturally resolved.
I'm still a fan of Shigeki Hayashi's work, even with the tinny, grainy sounds that are produced through the hardware. But if this trend continues, and Hayashi doesn't start bringing some variation to his subsequent soundtracks that allow them to stand out, it could be a detriment to Sting's future games, and to Hayashi's credibility. For now, I give the Knights in the Nightmare soundtrack mild recommendations, with the caveat that fans familiar with the "Dept. Heaven" series can expect more of the same here. You decide for yourself whether that's good or bad news.
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann