Arcana Strikes Original Sound Collection

 

Review by · November 23, 2006

Though not in the same series as the original “Arcana” released on Super Famicom by Hal, Arcana Strikes is a Card-Based RPG for Sega Saturn, developed by Takara and Red. An odd alliance if you ask me, but the result was apparently one of the more enjoyable, if obscure, Saturn RPGs.

The sound team, from “T’s Music,” is composed of three members, each adding a touch of style to the Sega Saturn soundtrack. However, as enjoyable as I found the soundtrack to be most of the time, there was one point of weakness: battle themes. They’re short, and they’re insipid. Generally, battle themes are what help to define a game’s stronger musical points. In this case, the battle themes were almost entirely worthless. This is understandable, considering the battles took place in a quick manner, but it doesn’t mean the songs had to be boring.

The best tracks are the elemental “Nation” themes, each including an introduction from the album’s narrator (who shows up all over the place on this CD). Almost all of these nation themes incorporate a pretty lead synth and some complex harp patterns in the background.

There are two “arranged” tracks at the end, though it was difficult for me to discern a distinct difference in the sound quality here: they, too, were synthesized.

A number of songs on here are more like droning sound effects than actual melodic songs, which is always a letdown. Sure, they’re “atmospheric,” but it’s difficult to glean nearly any amount of enjoyment from them. For the quintessential example of droning soundtracks, check out Parasite Eve 2.

I’m glad I had the experience to listen to this soundtrack and learn more about one of Red’s more obscure RPGs in the process. This, of course, doesn’t mean you would enjoy the same experience. Should this obscure little album catch your fancy, it seems the soundtrack itself is less available (and less expensive) than the actual game by now. This, like so many other soundtracks here, is a “for serious collectors only” kind of soundtrack.

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Patrick Gann

Patrick Gann

Therapist by day and gamer by night, Patrick has been offering semi-coherent ramblings about game music to RPGFan since its beginnings. From symphonic arrangements to rock bands to old-school synth OSTs, Patrick keeps the VGM pumping in his home, to the amusement and/or annoyance of his large family of humans and guinea pigs.