ATHENA ~Awakening from the ordinary life~


Review by · November 23, 2006

Note: “tereport” on disc 2 tracks 8-9 are written as such on the CD’s packaging and are clearly a case of poor romanization.

SNK’s beloved character Athena Asamiya has spawned her own line of games (the “Psycho Soldier” series), and she’s also a regular character in the King of Fighters series. In 1999, SNK released a graphic adventure game that told the story of how Athena went from being an “ordinary” girl to gaining (and learning to harness) her psychic powers. The PlayStation title featured tons of CG sequences and stills, and it was something completely unexpected from a company like SNK.

Like many King of Fighter albums released during this time, SNK was remiss in listing any particular composers. One might assume that some of the composers are those listed in the special thanks list, including Kazuhito Kohno, Takashi Kaga, Konny, Akio Nakamura, Kiyoshi Asai, and Akira Matsuoka. But it is difficult to know anything for sure. The only certain composer is the ending vocal theme, “wannabe,” performed by the group “Misty Eyes.” The female vocalist and industrial rock is typical of many wannabe J-rock stars of the time. The vocal track fits nicely with the rest of the album, however.

The industrial/techno/rock blend continues through most of the first disc, with a little bit of modern jazz thrown in the mix. One of the best songs on the album is a simple theme, “-STAFF ONLY-,” found in both an original and arranged form. The arranged version is only slightly different, adding an electric guitar over the main melody.

Many of the songs are reminiscent of the sort of music found on the King of Fighter albums, suggesting that we’re hearing from the same composers. Whoever actually did the music, they ought to be taking credit for it: it’s mighty good.

The second disc takes dialogue, music, and sound effects straight from the game’s many cutscenes and uses the audio to make a drama disc that essentially tell’s the game’s story. Unlike many drama albums, this second disc is much more suitable for your average Western listener. The sound effects tell the story almost as well as the dialogue, and splitting the disc into fifty tracks, each with their own title, helps to explain the action of the storyline very well.

I was skeptical of this album when I purchased it, but I had no need to fear. It was a refreshing change of pace to listen to music with a style unlike that from most RPGs, and it definitely piqued my interest Athena’s story and the game “Awakening from the ordinary life.” The album is old, but I would still recommend it to anyone who could find it for a fair price.

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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.