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Wild Arms Alter Code:F Original Score

[back cover]
Catalog Number: KICA-1317~20
Released On: January 21, 2004
Composed By: Michiko Naruke
Arranged By: Michiko Naruke
Published By: King Records
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 4 CDs
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Tracklist:

Disc One
01 - Alter Code:F
02 - Introduction
03 - Boy of Hope
04 - Simple Living
05 - Filgaia
06 - Conquering the Darkness
07 - The Power to Fight
08 - Shock
09 - Complication
10 - A Mere Test of Ability
11 - Seeking Power
12 - Confronting the Ruins
13 - Running Wildly
14 - The Shadow Blocking the Way
15 - Victory
16 - Development
17 - Curan Abbey
18 - Way of Illusion
19 - Vicious Plot
20 - Contact
21 - Alone in the World
22 - To the End of the Wilderness
Total Time:
50'05"

Disc Two
01 - Adlehyde Castle
02 - The Power to Control
03 - Plight
04 - Adlehyde Castle Town
05 - Morning Call
06 - Ancient Civilization Exhibition
07 - World of Loudening Screams
08 - Screaming World
09 - Berserker
10 - Determination, and then...
11 - Funeral March
12 - Princess Sorceress
13 - A Series of Streets
14 - Ordinary Day
15 - The Power Which Supports the World
16 - Regret
17 - Scheme
18 - Big Entrance
19 - Ruined Town
20 - Uncertainty
21 - Courage
22 - The Sweet Candy
23 - False Wedding on the Sea
24 - I Hate But Love
25 - Puzzle
26 - Clear
Total Time:
61'37"

Disc Three
01 - Warrior's Whistle
02 - Sense of Solidarity
03 - Mad Poet
04 - Leave it to Me
05 - Doubt
06 - Photosphere
07 - G's Roar
08 - Holy Mother of Darkness
09 - Companions
10 - Battle and Pleasure
11 - Game
12 - Threat
13 - Destructive Power Running Rampant
14 - The Silent You
15 - The Elw Dimension
16 - Sealed Town
17 - Grandfather
18 - Liberation
19 - Take-off
20 - Wings of the Bird God
21 - Tornado
22 - Steel Shiketsu
23 - ABYSS
24 - Catching a Glimpse of Hell
Total Time:
59'00"

Disc Four
01 - Remose and Promise
02 - Yearning
03 - Murdering Princess
04 - The Demon Tower that Pierces the Heavens
05 - Ka Dingel
06 - War Demon
07 - Loneliness
08 - Malduke
09 - Demon Spear
10 - It's Not Over Yet
11 - Sudden Change
12 - Destruction of All Creation
13 - Monumental Task
14 - To the Sea of Stars
15 - Windward Birds
16 - Ashes to Ashes
17 - Goodnight, Earth Gals
18 - The Prologue Begins From Here
19 - Footprints
20 - Bonus Track
Total Time:
63'33"

When I heard that Michiko Naruke was composing for Wild Arms Alter Code:F, I started bouncing off the walls. She has NEVER let me down with her solid compositions. Almost every song from the original Wild Arms is remixed here, some for the better, and some for the worst. That being said, I feel that this OST was not as sturdy as Wild Arms 3. Presentation-wise, it is much better than the last soundtrack, but the level of composition isn't as high.

The first disc opens up with some of Naruke's more mellow Wild West themes, like "Simple Living" which features some great banjo samples. The disc as a whole is very melodic and quite easy on the ears, and every track has that Wild West flare that Naruke is so famous for. In fact, this disc reminds me of the Wild Arms 3 soundtrack. Some of the most comparable tracks are "Facing the Ancient Ruins" and "A Mere Test of Ability" which remind me of "Overture" and "Wound Backward in Sand and Time" from the last Wild Arms outing.

The second disc is where things start to get mixed up, though. Opening with an arrangement of "Adlehyde Castle," this disc instantly starts to take off in another direction. Every track is either full of action or despair, using dynamic chord changes to convey emotion, such as the depressing track, "Determination, and..." which gives you the feeling of ultimate sadness and loss. On the other hand, one of the more exciting tracks like "I Hate But Love" is just an all around great battle theme that doesn’t have to take itself too seriously for you to appreciate it. I also can't forget to mention the classic town theme, "Row of Houses," (called "Port Timney" on the original Wild Arms soundtrack) which is one of the best town themes I've ever heard from Michiko Naruke. If you enjoyed the original song, then you're going to love the new version!

The third disc is where the album lags. It's got some great songs ("Leave It To Me," "Warrior's Whistle," "Steel Shiketsu"), there just aren't enough to make up for the amount of bad ones. I never thought I'd say this, but a lot of the songs on this disc are just too abstract, and they come off as boring or uninspired. Songs like "Mad Poet" are definitely cool at first, but it just gets old after the first minute. I personally think that all of the songs on this disc should have been divided up amongst the other three discs, because there just weren't enough songs on this disc to keep my interest. If you were a fan of the more abstract themes from Wild Arms 3, ("Black as Sin, Red as Blood," "To the Star Ocean and Rushed Dreams") then you may enjoy this disc more than I did.

The final disc gets better, but overall, it's not much better than disc three. The crazy battle tracks, "Murdering Princess" and "Demon Spear" are some of the highlights of the album simply because of their innovation, but other than the vocal "Windward Birds," I wasn't too impressed with the rest of this disc. Again, I just didn't feel what Naruke was trying to convey with some of these tracks, and they felt more like filler music. This disc left me with a sour taste in my mouth, and I expected much better.

Despite the negative opinion I had of the last two discs, I can't stand to badmouth one of my favorite composers any longer. This album's strong point is its sound quality. Compared to Wild Arms 3, every song here sounds fuller and more realistic. Tracks like "The Elw Dimension," "Alone in the World," and "Filgaia" will have you melting in your seat with their realism.

But as far as track composition goes, I believe very strongly in the old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." For this OST, Naruke remixed virtually every song from the original game, but they are more or less a mixed bag. While these remixes are cool, some of the songs didn't need a complete overhaul---"The Power to Fight," (known as "Critical Hit!" from the original OST), for example. This was one of my favorite songs on the original OST, but no matter how many times I listen to the new arrangement, I just can't force myself to like it. But on the other hand, songs like "Warrior's Whistle" surpass the level of the original in every way. And to add, the original Wild Arms OST was criticized for its lack of fan favorite tracks and short melodies, but you don't have to worry about that here. Every original Wild Arms song is here in some shape or fashion, and melodies that were originally too short like "Victory" and "Steel Shiketsu" have been extended, which is a great treat.

The vocal track from the original OST has also been removed and replaced with two new fresh vocals, "Windward Birds" and "Footprints." The latter didn't impress me too much, but the former will remind you why you fell in love with Michiko Naruke in the first place. These vocals are simply unmatched in style and execution, and the only real problem with them is that they're too short...I didn't want them to end!

All in all, Wild Arms Alter Code:F is great album if you can get over some of its compositional flaws. I'm a huge fan of Michiko Naruke, and I enjoyed the album mainly because of the greatness of the first two discs. But, is it better than Wild Arms 3? No. Is it better than the original Wild Arms? Not by a long shot. But it's still a great album and definitely worth your time for a listen, especially if you're a fan of the series or want to hear something new.

Reviewed by: Mike Wilson



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