Arcana Strikes Original Sound Collection

[back cover]
Catalog Number: COCC-14971
Released On: April 21, 1998
Composed By: Shinichiro Sato, Hiroyuki Takei, Michihiro Nomura
Arranged By: Shinichiro Sato, Hiroyuki Takei, Michihiro Nomura
Published By: Nippon Columbia
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 1 CD

01 - Opening
02 - Prologue
03 - Gate of Teitan
04 - Title Image•World Image
05 - In Each Town
06 - The Story of a Mysterious Woman
07 - In Each Shop
08 - Nation of Water ~ Agua (AGUA) ~ Area Image "Agua"
09 - Temple of Proma
10 - Anbas Cave
11 - Normal Battle
12 - Nation of Earth ~ Gran (GRAN) ~ Area Image "Gran"
13 - Shiguls Battle Arena
14 - Powerful Enemy Battle
15 - Nation of Wind ~ Air (AIR) ~ Area Image "Air"
16 - Veetol's Corridor of Wood
17 - Battle With Arcana Boss
18 - Nation of Fire ~ Fuly (FULY) ~ Area Image "Fuly"
19 - Rigula Palace
20 - Pyramid of Flame
21 - Arcana Card Appearance
22 - Nation of Darkness ~ Yin (YIN) ~ Area Image "Yin"
23 - Nation of Thunder ~ Gia (GIA) ~ Area Image "Gia"
24 - Gia Tower
25 - Pillar of Heaven ~ Sol (SOL) ~ Area Image "Sol"
26 - Constellation House
27 - Moon Watching House
28 - Uruki Appearance
29 - Battle With Meta
30 - Epilogue
31 - Piano Solo Version
32 - Opening (Arrange Version)
33 - Uruki Appearance (Arrange Version)
34 - SE Collection•Item Received/Information Image/DEAD/Battle Victory/Arcana Card Received/Hero's Class Change/Monster's Class Up/Monster's Voice
Total Time:

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.

Reviewed by: Patrick Gann