The third game in the “Marl’s Kingdom” series was, in many ways, more of the same. More cutesy characters from NIS, and more cheesy, lovable music from Tenpei Sato. But this time around, Sato’s musical style showed a bit of maturity.
Now when I say that, I don’t mean that the cutesy-girl vocals are gone. They’re here, and they’re intact. But the instrumental tracks, the in-game OST stuff, it’s really good. Sato’s a pretty prolific composer, but I’m used to hearing certain types of songs, with certain instruments, and nothing beyond that. But if you compare this album to previous Marl’s Kingdom soundtracks, or to Disgaea, you’ll notice that this album has some unique charm to it. Things that Sato doesn’t use elsewhere are on this album. “Orange Village,” the first town theme, is a striking example. It’s a simple song, nice melody, sounds like something that Hisaishi would write for a Miyazaki film. What it doesn’t sound like is your average Sato “calm” piece. I guess that’s why I like it so much: I wasn’t expecting it, and it was a pleasant surprise.
The vocal tracks are really up to one’s personal taste. I could withstand the melodic ballads like “Baby Bird,” but eccentric vocalists (like in “Sabato”) really gave me a headache. I know it’s done for personality, and I’m guessing this song was either written for a villain or a really aggravating support character. Either way, I like to skip over this track. Deep-voiced women…yuck. It doesn’t work well here.
Sato fans looking for something a little different can rely on the entire “Marl’s Kingdom” series, but they can especially rely on this particular soundtrack. Outsiders won’t get it, but if you know Sato, and you love Sato, this is a great album to have in your collection.