Ah, Cross Gate. Chances are, more likely than not, that you’ve never heard of this Online RPG. This is, in part, because it was only released in Japan. The rest of it, however, is solely due to unpopularity. Not very many people played this game at all. Whether that’s for good reason or not is something we may never know. The music, however, is another issue altogether.
This soundtrack, composed by Kenji Ito, actually belongs to the third expansion or “power up kit” of the game. As indicated by the title, the music strikes an interesting balance between soft, flowing ballads and powerful themes of much stronger songs. Fittingly, no other track defines this better than the album’s namesake track, “Heaven’s Knight and Fortune’s Songstress.” Entering with soft, gentle singing, the song eventually swells up with banjo and an absolutely beautiful pan-pipe-like instrument. The song continues on dramatically until the return of the singer and a piano which help bring the track to a close. This is most likely the best track on the entire album, but there’s also quite a bit more of interest.
While a lot of this album has exactly the sort of material you’d expect from Ito (see track six, “Flash,” which sounds at times a bit like “Last Battle Asellus” from SaGa Frontier), some of this is reminiscent of music from other composers. “Joyful Overture,” for example, might remind one slightly of the music from Lunar. This is not to say, however, that the album sounds like a rehash of other music. Ito does a wonderful job on this album in fusing both his styles and ones that, perhaps, you wouldn’t normally find in his compositions.
This, perhaps, is the true strongpoint of the album: very little of this is predictable. Part of this may be due to the short running time of the album, but that may be a good thing. Instead of drawing songs out for longer than they could support, all of the songs received their little bit of special treatment and, when their time was up, politely bow out of the spotlight. This is very necessary for such songs as “Romance ~To the New World~,” and “Thoughts of the Days of Youth,” the former of which utilizes a very epic, adventurous instrument set and the latter which is done entirely with a music box-like instrument which, if overdone, could grate on the nerves.
Overall, the album is an interesting little romp through a number of musical styles and a refreshing look at just how far Ito can extend his talents. It’s not exactly a must-buy, as none of the songs here truly merit such a classification; however, it’s not an album to simply pass up, either, should you ever run across it. Note, however, that this was a promotional album available only to those who purchased the third expansion of the game, and is generally difficult to find.