Game Music, Reviews

A Knife to the Past: Trauma Center Under the Knife (Review)

November 14, 2011 | | 2 Comments Share thison Facebook A Knife to the Past: Trauma Center Under the Knife (Review)on Twitter

While there have been several soundtrack release for titles from the Trauma Center series over the years, the first game in the franchise, Trauma Center: Under the Knife never had this honor. That is, until now. SuperSweep has just released the soundtrack to Trauma Center: Under the Knife as well as Trauma Center: Under the Knife 2, rounding out the soundtracks for the series.

With music by Atlus staples Shoji Meguro and Kenichi Tsuchiya and contributions by Kenichi Kikkawa, does the Trauma Center: Under the Knife soundtrack live up to their other works?

Hit the jump to find out.

First off, let’s talk about what’s on this album. The DS soundtrack is presented in its entirety, coming in at just under 30 minutes. As a bonus, ‘original sound version’ tracks are also included, which Meguro and Kikkawa first composed using higher quality instruments that were converted over to the DS sound source. Tsuchiya apparently created his tracks directly for the DS version, and there are no original sound versions of his works, which is a shame because some of his tracks are the best on the album.

Let’s start with his tracks. He handles the jazzy map themes, starting with the upbeat and funky “Main Map – Large Map 1: First Half,” which is probably my favorite track on the album with its deep bass line, piano and synth melody, and RPG-esque breakdown about midway through. His “Large Map 2: Last Half” is a little more dancy and isn’t nearly as memorable. He also is responsible for the GUILT themes, including “GUILT Operation” and “Last GUILT,” which are dark Gothic orchestral affairs, sounding like something out of a Castlevania title. Once again, none of these track have corresponding original sound versions, so you’ll only be able to enjoy them in their original DS sound source.

Kenichi Kikkawa scores all of the event themes in the game. These include the melancholy “Event: Truth” and “Event: Sadness,” both of which make use of piano. “Event: Medical Terrorism” is foreboding with rolling snare drums and orchestral hits, while “Event: Cadaceus” is bold and triumphant. Finally, “Event: Joy” is sweet and beautiful with a lovely woodwind melody and swelling strings.

Shoji Meguro is responsible for many of the key tracks in the game, starting with the energetic electronic opener, “Systems: Opening,” which fuses jazz elements with electronic percussion and synth work. He also provides both key operation themes, which are some of the most important in the game. “Normal Operation” is tense with its drawn out strings and repetitive piano melody. “Dangerous Operation” is similar in style, but is accented by string stabs to add even more tension. Meguro closes out the score with “Ending” as well, a joyous yet brief closer.

I think fans will really appreciate the original sound version tracks here, as they’re almost arrangements of the DS source themes. Actually, having only played the Wii remake of Under the Knife, Second Opinion, I wonder if these tracks are indeed what was heard in the Wii remake, although I imagine they’d credit the tracks to the Wii version if that were the case.

In any event, it’s nice to see this game getting a soundtrack release so late after the game’s release. The packaging isn’t anything too fancy with a single-fold booklet with game information and credits, and a single piece of artwork on the front and back covers. Still, the price is right at 2,100 Yen, so if you were a fan of the game or enjoy the work of Meguro and the others, I recommend checking it out.

Are you a fan of the Trauma Center franchise and their soundtracks? Are you happy to see the soundtrack for Under the Knife finally released?

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