I have gotten into the Super Robot Wars (or Taisen) series when I played Original Generations. As I learned more, and get more into the series, I played some of the import games and the first (and currently only) was Super Robot Wars Alpha 3. While I still think highly of Original Generations, in terms of presentation and depth, Alpha 3 easily skyrockets. I never played a strategy RPG that has such flashy and sexy attacks, and that is just part of the fun. The greatness can also be said about this monster of a soundtrack.
It spans four discs providing 141 songs total. The first half covers the anime songs while the second half is all original, though there are some exceptions.
Discs One and Two - Anime Music
Since the meat of the series is all about famous mecha anime coming together in one game, there is a lot of music from their respective anime. From the anime I do recognize, the songs are represented well, either keeping exactly like you hear in the anime, or some remix it a bit, but give off the same feeling.
Starting off, disc one is the opening song "GONG" (game version), performed by JAM project. The band has done songs for many other Super Robot Wars as well as several anime openings. It is a powerful song with very intense vocals and hardcore melody: typical JAM project stuff. From there the first half of the disc mainly consists of anime from the 70s, mainly consisting of Go Nagai's work. The funky beats definitely gives off the feeling like it's the 70s and I find it interesting how most of them have distinctly similar melodies. The other half is Gundam songs (lots and lots of Gundam...) and some of "kill 'em all" Tomino Yoshiyuki's other works. These mainly consist of nice orchestral and techno music.
Disc two mainly contains songs from Macross 7 and GaoGaiGar along with a fair amount of Evangelion music. Rejoice if you are a fan of any of these three. Of course, there are other series on the disc, but they don't have many songs in the game. Macross 7 music is rocking, while Evangelion music is on the orchestral side. GaoGaiGar has some mixture of both, though leaning a little more on the orchestral side (at least that is how it sounds to me). The last three songs on the disc are different from the rest. They are songs from Sega's Virtual On series, making it the first game franchise to be involved in the series. The songs themselves are very spunky, and they do sound arcadey (like where it originated). I never played their games (maybe I should) so there is not much else to say.
The first two discs are enjoyable to listen to, though the ones who would enjoy it most of all are the hardcore mech fans. The songs are still solid overall.
Discs Three and Four - Original Music
Now we move on to the game only music that is provided. Though the game may be dominated by the anime franchises, I personally thought these set of discs is what really makes the soundtrack shine. The theme of disc three mainly consists of mixtures of rock and techno music. While there is a fair share of other genres present, those two music genres are the most dominant.
29 out of the 35 songs are theme songs of original characters both friend and foe. It starts off with "Sword That Severs Evil" and "Sword Soul One Strike" which are both Zengar's (Sanger for those who played the English Original Generation) themes. Like the character himself, the songs are hardcore and they are simply great listens. A strong way to start off the disc. The next several songs are main themes that make use of some of the other musical elements like some of Kusuha's themes."My Rival" (track 4) and its counterpart (track 17) use some jazz instruments.
One song that stuck out to me was "Shooting Star, Cut the Night Apart" as it reminded me of several other game series. The beginning sounded haunting, like Disgaea, and than the song sounds like it's from a Mega Man stage. Around 40 seconds into the song, it gives me a distinct Castlevania feeling. Fortunately, I like those three franchises so it makes the song more appealing, but it is interesting how some songs remind me of other games.
One of my favorites on the disc is "Trombe!" which is Elzam (mainly known as Retsul in disguise) who is also hardcore like Zengar (a powerful duo). The song starts by sounding majestic, then kicking it up a notch with its powerful, energetic beat which I find to be distinct, catchy and memorable. Moving on, "No More Fighting Spirit" and "Disease Wind God Thunder" are Touma's theme songs and the main character (out of four with Kusuha also being one of them) I chose to play through. Like the character himself, his themes are intense and full of fiery spirit, and track 15 easily indicates that feeling. Afterwards comes Brooklyn's (Bullet) theme song "From the White Ground." It is another energetic song that I like listening to, though perhaps I am just biased with this song because the character has the name of where I am from, supporting my home, but you be the judge. Personally my favorite themes among the main characters are Cobray's which are "ANOTHER TIMEDIVER" and "THE GUN OF DIS." "ANOTHER TIMEDIVER" is a rock song with an interesting and catchy melody while "THE GUN OF DIS" is a much more sinister techno song, and one of the more dark songs among the soundtrack.
The few theme songs coming from villains mainly have orchestral themes. I like the songs though I have heard far better orchestral tunes, but it does manage to make the villains a larger and more lively feeling and the fights more epic. My personal favorite has to go to "Dancing Voluptuous Witch" which is a mighty villain theme that sticks out from the rest with a mixture of Indian beats and spacey techno.
From "THE FELLOWSHIP" and onward consists of music being played in between the fights. "THE FELLOWSHIP" and "THE COMRADE" are peaceful songs (by high-tech standards) which can be considered a nice break from majority of all the hyper songs that makes up the bulk of the soundtrack. The rest mainly consists of panic songs, particularly "MAKE HASTE SLOWLY." If you are like me and play the game, you won't understand what the heck is going on in these scenes so the music is the only thing we can rely on to have some understanding of what's happening. In that case, it easily gets the job, fortunately for us.
Disc four continues onward with the background themes, featuring a couple of sorrowful songs that mainly gives me the feelings of loss in some shape or form. I find them very touchy and one of the very few (if only) songs from the OST that can get you emotional. Afterwards, a lot of the background songs take a more serious tone, mainly sinister. "Breath of a God," "Mediation of the Omnipotent," and "Existence Becomes Nought for a Spirit" make best use of that sinister feeling. I personally liked "Detestable Visitor" back when playing original generations so I find it nice hearing once more, enhanced (it is the PlayStation 2 after all). It is another panic song, but I thought it was well done giving off the feeling of chaos in the midst of battle.
Right after comes "SKILL Ver. αII" which is the orchestral version of the second alpha opening. The orchestra version is great like the rocking opening song performed by JAM Project (like all other OP and ED themes from Alpha Gaiden and onward). I find it weird that it was in the middle of the disc like that, but it is definitely a welcome addition.
The next batch of songs is field music you hear throughout the game and while they are good songs, I find them somewhat generic overall. I did like "UNION IS STRENGTH" quite a lot and it sounds like it's from Fire Emblem (primarily the beginning), which brings back to songs reminding me of other games once more. It all comes down to one's perspective.
"GONG Ver. αIII" is an orchestral version of this game's opening (the full version) and it is used during the final boss battle. I love this version of the song just as much as the original version: using it during the last fight definitely made the entire fight epic. Definitely an excellent remix to a great song.
The remainder of the soundtrack consists of miscellaneous songs from the stage introduction to game over and so on. If you are like me and spend a lot of time in the intermissions menu, "ALPHA MEMORIES" is a very nice menu song that is pleasant to listen to and won't get you feeling annoyed listening to it over and over. Finishing off the soundtrack is the game version of "Brother in Faith" performed by JAM Project. It's an awesome ending song, which I find moving and it is untypical JAM Project, at least, the songs I normally hear from them. The OST started off strong and ends with a bang.
In the end, it was a definitely a great listen and the whole soundtrack was solid. With a lot of the orchestral, serene, religious, jazzy and foresty music out there among games (ones I am mainly aware of or just remember), it is a nice change of pace listening to music that has a lot more intensity and energy. This might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it is something different. It may also not stir up any emotions (in general), like some others (see my rant on the Wild Arms complete OST), but it is a fun listen and different from the typical tunes. I managed to get it on Play-Asia for $40 so I recommend forking over your hard earned cash on the OST. It has already become low in supply, so you better act fast.
Reviewed by: Dennis Rubinshteyn