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Wild Arms Advanced 3rd OST
Catalog Number: SVWC-7118~21
Released On: March 20, 2002
Composed By: Michiko Naruke
Arranged By: Michiko Naruke
Published By: Sony Computer Entertainment
Recorded At: Sony Music Studios Tokyo
Format: 4 CDs
Buy this album from Play-Asia
Tracklist:

Disc One
01 - Advanced Third
02 - Advanced Wind [Whistle Ver.]
03 - Overture
04 - From Beyond
05 - Gunmetal Action
06 - Condition Green!
07 - Night of the Legends
08 - Death Wire
09 - Parting - Bonds - Setting Out
10 - Scars of Leftover Memories
11 - Blood, Tears, and the Dried-up Wasteland
12 - That Which One Aspires to and Seizes
13 - Only the Night Sky Knows [Whistle Ver.]
14 - From Dusk Till Dawn
15 - Long Days of Rest
16 - Let's Run Around, Let's Look Over There!
17 - Impatience Leading to Trouble
18 - Healing the Scar
19 - Gun-Equipped Cavalry
20 - Flying in the Midst of the Storm
21 - Wild Bunch
22 - Our Memories are Just Beginning
Total Time:
61'01"

Disc Two
01 - Advanced Wind
02 - Migiratory Birds - Wandering Bird-Scoundrels
03 - Scenery Called "Everyday"
04 - Finish Today, then...
05 - This Chest, and Echoes of the World's Heartbeat
06 - Whirlwind Blowing Against Death
07 - In a Cold Sleep
08 - Eyes of the Guardian
09 - A Person's Warmth
10 - Losing One's Way in Darkness, Losing Something in Darkness
11 - Soaked Through with Fear
12 - The Stage is Full of Miscast People
13 - That's Just a Rumor...!?
14 - There's Only One Family Named Schrodinger
15 - You Look Defeated When Sad
16 - Wound Backwards in the Dirt and Sand
17 - BAD GUYS & BAD LAND
18 - Cross This Instant, Now
19 - If Tails, Despair; If Heads, Hope
20 - A Needle in the Heart, Broken and Washed Away
21 - Ready! Lady Gunner!!
22 - Crossfire Sequence
23 - Only the Night Sky Knows
Total Time:
63'22''

Disc Three
01 - Advanced Wind [2nd Ver.]
02 - He Who Holds the Word of God
03 - FATE BREAKER
04 - Black as Sin, Red as Blood
05 - PUZZLE MANIAC 2000
06 - Preparations for the Valley of Bygone Days and Tomorrows
07 - To the Star Ocean and Rushed Dreams
08 - Fallen Shadows of the Fallen (Sinful) Trees
09 - Leave Then Return Again
10 - Unbeatable Gun Talon
11 - Blue Destiny
12 - Higher Than Can be Carried by Wings
13 - Lightning Blade in the Blue Sky
14 - The Weight of a Heavy Life, the Meaning of the Meaning of Life
15 - Stopping a Deluge with One's Palms
16 - the Lance of PALERIDER
17 - Walking into the Heart of the Sunset's Light
18 - Entrance of the Beckoning Darkness
19 - Don't be Pulled in by the Dark
20 - Wide Darkness, Late Darkness
21 - Can Light Enter the Abyss There?
22 - Have you told your beloved "SAYONARA"?
23 - Only the Night Sky Knows [2nd Ver.]
Total Time:
64'32"

Disc Four
01 - Advanced Wind [English Ver.]
02 - A Party So Long As the Stars Exist
03 - Omen
04 - Wings Ensnared with Rusted Chains
05 - The Barriers Blocking Your Way
06 - Only You Can Cross Your Own Barriers
07 - If You Realize the Strength to Break These Chains, Then...
08 - Live with Me Forever
09 - Only the Night Sky Knows [English Ver.]
10 - Succubus Princess
11 - If You Reach Your Dream...
12 - Losing the Inescapable Nightmare, an Unending Reality
13 - Living, Loving, and Fighting
14 - The Beginning of the End
15 - Breath Born of Mud
16 - Fangs and Claws of Fierce Evil
17 - Wings Blacker than Death Outstretched
18 - Generally, That Light
19 - The End of the Beginning
20 - The Greatest Smiles in Memory
21 - Elegy for the Villains
22 - Wings
23 - To the End of the Wasteland [WA3 Ver.]
Total Time:
63'11"

I'm a big fan of Contrail's Wild Arms series, so I was excited to hear about the third installment. Although I wasn't floored by the second game in the series, the music was pleasant and there were definitely memorable tracks. Because of this attitude, when I saw the Wild Arms Advanced 3rd OST in my local Kinokuniya, I picked it up, excited to listen to some really great wild west-themed tunes.

I was severely disappointed.

Wild Arms Advanced 3rd's soundtrack barely crests the ridge of mediocrity, keeping it out of the "below average" category, but doing nothing to hoist it into greatness. A perfect example is the theme song, "Advanced Third" which is repeated in different versions throughout the 4-disc compilation. The song isn't bad at all, but it doesn't have the power of the title songs in either Wild ARMS or both discs in Wild Arms 2.

Part of the problem is that most of the tracks sound as if they could have easily been done on a PS1. Often times the low quality MIDI is disappointing and hurts the soundtrack when trying to rate it in comparison to its peers. A perfect example is "Gun-Equipped Cavalry," which has low quality MIDI trumpets.

I did like some tracks, however, such as "Lightning Blade in the Blue Sky," for its fast paced electronica sound, and "Night of the Legends" for its soft, emotional quality. Out of 91 tracks, there have to be SOME good ones.

The soundtrack is obviously heavily western-themed, with guitar, mouth organ, and whistles being the most prominent instruments. At the same time, there are fast-paced techno themes like the above "Lightning Blade" track, and slow, ephemeral pieces, such as "Impatience Leading to Trouble."

One thing I did like was the short tribute to the first Wild ARMS game in the form of a brief interlude of that game's title theme in the track "Flying in the Midst of the Storm," which consequently also incorporates Wild Arms 3's title song, "Advanced Third."

I don't suggest buying this soundtrack unless you first play the game itself, as I'm strongly inclined to believe that this is one soundtrack which improves drastically through nostalgia. Otherwise, save your money.

Reviewed by: Damian Thomas

The Wild Arms soundtracks are typically known for two things, the first being composer Michiko Naruke's successful fusion of a typical Japanese RPG with themes from the "Wild West" through the use of whistles, flutes, acoustic guitars, and other such instruments, often with breathtaking results. Unfortunately, the second thing they are known for are their shoddy, even lazy, releases. The first soundtrack was missing half of the game's score, and it really needed to be on two CD's. The second had the entire score, but most of the themes were only played through once, which wasn't nearly enough time to get the full impact of the songs (even moreso than other scores that have the same problem, because most tracks weren't even a minute long). It really needed a 3 or 4 CD release. In the End, due to Sony Music Entertainment not wanting to expend a couple of blank CD's, two brilliant scores were severely compromised. I can almost picture Naruke bursting into their offices, wielding ARMs of her own, and demanding a better release! Okay, while that may be a little farfetched, SME learned from their previous mistakes and rolled out the red carpet for the third soundtrack release. 91 tracks are spread across 4 CD's, with each track played through two or three times. In fact, instead of shortening the length, SME has turned the long length into a selling point, as they have "Total Time/4h 12m 06s" printed on the back.

The "Wild West" theme heard in the previous games is present and accounted for. However, it sounds far more sophisticated in this soundtrack, like Naruke isn't using it as a gimmick. She sounds more like she's working with it and building upon it without trying to beat it into the listener's head, something the other two soundtracks seemed to do. In fact, I would have to say she manages to work a new theme in here; a theme of darkness. Besides the mostly western-sounding disc 1, the soundtrack takes on a much more somber feeling than the first two. It keeps the melodies flying throughout, so it doesn't reach the point of ambiance, thankfully. A few tracks here and there break up the darkness, sounding heroic or returning to the upbeat western theme, but the darkness is the most readily present style.

This time around, the main theme, "Advanced Wind," holds the soundtrack together. It shows up here and there, but it's not dominant in any way. There are four versions (one whistle version, two sung in Japanese, and one in English) that show up at the beginning of each disc. I've provided samples of the Japanese and English versions. It sounds very similar to previous Wild Arms themes. "Only the Night Sky Knows" is another song that shows up on all four discs (same styles) that runs for less than a minute. Not bad overall. Lastly, on disc 4, is "Wings," the ending vocal. It has a sad, yet upbeat feel to it, as well as a chorus singing the main theme of Wild Arms 3. It's not bad, but it won't make you a fan of in-game vocals if you're not already. It is a fitting end for the soundtrack, however.

In addition to Naruke's usual arsenal of instruments, this time around she uses a very powerful addition: PS2 synth. Leagues ahead of the original Playstation's sound capabilities, it can create one of the most pleasing synthy sounds to your ear. The best examples of this is "PUZZLE MANIAC 2000" when the piece loops (heard in the sample), and "Fangs and Claws of Fierce Evil" (heard right at the beginning). Sound quality is high overall.

Most of my favorites are sampled. "Gunmetal Action," "Blue Destiny," and "The Barriers Blocking Your Way" are well noted for their evil feel. "Higher than Can be Carried by Wings" is an awesome battle theme that sounds like Ashley's transformation music from Wild Arms 2. "Stopping a Deluge with One's Palm" has the feeling of sitting around a campfire, telling ghost stories; the soothing guitar lends itself to this effect. "Gunmetal Action" seems to be the main battle theme. It's not an all out rockfest like previous battle themes, but it's frantic enough to be effective. It seems like every time I listen to this set, I emerge with a new favorite.

The best way to describe Wild Arms Advanced 3rd would probably be "Epic without being overly cinematic." It sounds like a game soundtrack and doesn't pretend to be anything else. This is the kind of music in which you can get lost in a dungeon for hours at a time and not get sick of it (as is the case with previous games in the series). On it's own, it's pretty much all-purpose; I work with it, I sleep with it, I wake up to it. Because of this music, I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of the game and that's probably the best compliment I can give any soundtrack.

The question isn't whether or not to buy this soundtrack -- if you're the least bit interested in game music, it should be an automatic purchase. Instead, the question is whether or not this is the greatest game soundtrack ever. Opinions may vary from listener to listener, but in this reviewer's opinion, it most certainly is. Given the fact that I haven't experienced the game yet while absolutely loving the music, combined with the superb sound quality and presentation, I consider this soundtrack the backbone of my collection. I only wish I could describe it in better musical terms, but if you like the samples, you will like the rest. Michiko Naruke is a musical goddess with absolutely no weaknesses, and I feel she is the best modern-day game music composer. You can find this soundtrack at Animenation for $40.

Reviewed by: Andy Byus



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