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Crossing the bridge between dreams and reality - Let's Play Eternal Sonata!


Mellotron enthusiast
Herbal teas are not made from the tea leaf, and that notably includes such teas as chamomile, which is a floral tea. Who knows if the floral teas in this game are the same, though?

Excellent point, and good question.

Also, update incoming!

(Hilariously, and by that I mean annoyingly, right after making this post my laptop decided to freeze up and I had to power it down. Crossing my fingers that it doesn't happen again...)
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Mellotron enthusiast
Verse 4-3: The Royal Mirror, Part Two

Hello and welcome back to Eternal Sonata! Last time Polka and co. explored Baroque Castle and then had a chat with Prince Crescendo and Princess Serenade about Andantino. Shortly afterward they all got pulled into The Weird Mirror Dimension, and we rejoin Polka as she steps through a mirror within the mirror:


We seem to have made it to the other side in one piece! But now the mirror behind us is cracked, and we can’t go back to the previous area. This will hold true for future areas in Lament, so be sure you’ve opened all the chests in a given section before you’ve moved on.


Hey, that looks like Prince Crescendo! Let’s go see if he’s okay.


♪♪~ No music

Polka: “Prince Crescendo!”


Crescendo: “Take a look at this.”


?: “Forte has grown in strength at an astounding speed. The power he’s acquired has put him on equal footing with Baroque. If it should come to war between us… it would be a clash that would threaten the very existence of both our nations.”
*The figure in the portrait disappears, and the gate begins to raise on its own.*


Polka: “Prince Crescendo, what is this?!”
Crescendo: “…I can’t be sure. But….”
Polka: “And where are we?”


Polka: “What?!”
Crescendo: “Do you remember the light that came from the mirror? There’s a legend about the royal mirror… that it has the ability to ‘hide’ those who stand before it.”
Polka: “It can hide people?”
Crescendo: “Yes. However, until now I thought it was nothing more than an old wives’ tale. But considering what’s happened, it would appear that the legend is true.”
Polka: “I wonder if we’ll ever be able to get out of here.”


Crescendo: “Oh, excuse me! I don’t want to scare you. That was just part of the legend.”
*short pause*
Crescendo: “Serenade and the others must be here somewhere. Let’s keep moving. I’m sure we’ll find some kind of an exit eventually.”


♪♪~ The Royal Mirror

Before we do that, let’s check out our new party member first.


Crescendo is one of two newly-playable characters in the PS3 port (and, from this, I’m sure you can guess who the other person is), and he’s pretty good!


I’m pretty sure Crescendo is the first character we’ve seen who’s DEF is higher than their ATK – noticeably so, even – and his other stats are pretty respectable as well. He fights with a mace and wears exclusively Heavy armor, which combined with his already-high DEF makes him even tankier than Jazz. He only knows two specials right now, but they’re both pretty good; more on those later.


Let’s see what waits for us on the other side of the gate.



Hey, it’s Minuet!


We’ll just save real quick and then be off.


Crescendo: “But I’m sure we saw her.”

Of course it wouldn’t be that easy. Looks like we’re going to be here a while yet…


One of the cool things about Lament is that all the different sections of it are, for the most part, wildly different from each other in terms of both aesthetics and navigation. Here, for example, we’re going to be doing a lot of jumping from one giant cube to another.


Like here, for instance, to grab this Angel Trumpet before we beat up that enemy in the background.


♪♪~ Leap the Precipice

The battlefield here is a little smaller, and about half of it is in shadow, including (still) the northwest corner. Petite Fatties can start showing up in groups of three in this area instead of just two, but with our new companion we can still keep up with them pretty easily.


Do still watch out for their specials, though! Jack in the Box is the easiest of them to guard against, thanks to the timing not being too weird to deal with, but it can pierce through multiple characters if lined up properly.


Crescendo’s combos are pretty slow – if it weren’t for Jazz he would easily have the slowest combos of all the male characters. On top of this, out of the male characters he also has the shortest range for his melee attacks, since he actually starts off his combos with a shield bash, necessitating you get really close to an enemy or risk whiffing entirely.



His specials, on the other hand, are both pretty good. Galactic Nebula, his light special, is pretty similar to Falsetto’s Snow Claw, in that it doesn’t deal too much damage with each hit but does hit nine times, making it great for building Echoes. The final hit also produces a small explosion that can catch other enemies if they’re close enough.



Crystal Judgment, his dark special, only hits twice, but both hits are quite powerful, and the second hit can cause some huge knockback. This can hit multiple enemies as well, and it covers a wider area than Galactic Nebula (though not by much).



Time to do some platforming. Just don’t think about the endless abyss you’re repeatedly jumping over and it’ll be okay!


I like that the “cracked mirror” motif has carried over from the previous area, expressed in a different way. It gives the different sections some visual continuity, even if everything else is quite different.



Before we continue on, we’ll make a small detour for this new parasol. It’s actually slightly weaker than the Torn Umbrella, but it doesn’t carry the Darkness Body effect, so we can use Polka’s healing specials. I’m still keeping the Torn Umbrella on for now, but this will be handy later.



More platforming! Going north is the way forward, but we want to take this detour south first.


Further down is another new enemy. Let’s go say hello.





L’Opera Workers are the next step up from L’Opera Knights, and behave much the same way, except they’re far more likely to spam their specials at you than use regular attacks much if at all. They’re also tougher than the Petite Fatties, so it’ll take slightly longer than a single character’s turn to take one down. They sometimes drop Angel Trumpets and/or Star Cookies.


Another of the Petite Fatty’s specials; it’s moderately dangerous, and pretty tricky to guard against. Technically they have a melee special called Pillow Butt (yes, really), which is essentially their normal attack but stronger, but it’s incredibly rare for them to ever use it.


Moving on, we find this chest that’s completely blocked by the item message.



This detour is getting increasingly long…


This continues on for a little bit longer, but we’re almost at the end of this side-path.




Eventually we reach the end and find a Crescendo-exclusive accessory that raises his DEF even higher than it already is; we can also see another chest in the background. Worth it! Now to backtrack all the way back to where we were…


Phew! That took a minute.



Soon after we reach the chest that we just saw a few images ago and score a free Club Clover.


To the east is the mirror to the next area, but we’ll keep going for now…


To find this interesting battle item. Stones of the Spring cost 2 points to put into the Item Set, and temporarily heal a character for 2,200 HP at the beginning of their turn. I’m not super clear on what that means since I’ve never actually used one; it might be an HP regen thing or it could be literally what the description says. I just don’t know!


Let's just move on.
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Mellotron enthusiast


That looks like Serenade up ahead!


♪♪~ No music



?: “It will take much more money, and more land, to truly satisfy the people.”
Serenade: “Prince Crescendo. This portrait….”
Crescendo: “Then, you think so as well?”
Serenade: “Yes.”
Polka: “Huh? Do you know what all this means?”
Crescendo: “Long ago...”


Crescendo: “In those days, Forte saw the expansion of its borders as the only means of strengthening itself as a nation. I think this portrait portrays the tensions that came to a head between the two countries. I also believe that these men were the leaders of Baroque and of Forte at that time.”


I’m pretty sure Serenade is supposed to be the one saying this line here, but it somehow got attributed to Polka by mistake. It’s the only time in the game I can recall something like this happening, thankfully.

Serenade: “After all, if the legend regarding the royal mirror is true, would that not then mean that the two of them had somehow been pulled inside the mirror and trapped? But that can not be what happened. I have never heard anything about a previous king disappearing into a mirror. So then, what could all this be?”


King Baroque: “The royal family is sworn to the protection of this land! No one with the training of a knight would allow such a reckless maneuver! How will all of this end?! The snow that encases our pride will be stained red, then melt into a river of blood that will traverse this whole nation! No dawn will greet that bloodied jewel, it shall tumble ever downward into hell’s gaping maw!”



Lord Forte: “It will take much more money, and more land, to truly satisfy the people. When prosperity is ours, none shall know want due to lack of food or rest. Nor will anyone have cause to fear a morning of darkness. The people need only prepare themselves for the bright future that awaits them. And I will build the golden road that leads us there!”
*The portrait fades, and the gate raises.*


Crescendo: “The objectives of the two leaders at that time, imprisoned inside the mirror.”
Serenade: “History tells us that this struggle ended in victory for Baroque; bringing a temporary end to the ambitions of Forte.”
Crescendo: “Perhaps there’s more we can see. Let’s keep moving forward.”

Indeed, but first let’s look at our other new party member.


Serenade’s HP is comparable to Polka’s, and the rest of her stats are pretty good all around; in particular, she’ll eventually end up very fast, able to get multiple turns in a row against slower enemies. That’s a long way off, but even now her SPD is about on par with Falsetto’s. She fights with a staff and wears light armor (along with sharing robes and dresses with Viola and Falsetto). Like Crescendo, she only knows two specials right now, but they’re both excellent; more on that later. For now let’s go on to the next area.


Serenade: “Minuet!”


Quick, after the dog!


A maze, huh? How hard can it be to navigate?


It’s pretty simple, actually. The lit-up mirrors act as one-way doors, and there are only ever up to two to go through at a time. The maze is also pretty small, but it can be hard to keep track of where you are since the chambers all look pretty similar.


The mirrors also make this weird tearing sound when you pass through them, which is impossible to convey through static screenshots but neat nonetheless.


The battlefield here is a bit more complicated to deal with than previous ones; the dark patch in the center and at the four corners count as darkness, while the ring of circles around the edge are in the light.


Serenade’s combo speed is about as slow as Crescendo’s, making hers the slowest out of the female characters. Her melee attacks deal pretty good damage, but they’re not great for building Echoes. Her staff swings do have the benefit of covering a wide arc, letting you hit multiple enemies if they’re close enough together.




Her light special, Verbum: Celebrus, is pretty dang powerful… if you build up some Echoes first. I’m not sure exactly how the damage is calculated for specials, but Serenade’s in particular seem incredibly dependent on a high Echo count for maximum damage potential; if you use one of her specials at, say, 4 or 8 Echoes, you won’t get much out of it. The damage seems to increase exponentially at 12 Echoes and higher; the screenshots above are with 16 Echoes, and Serenade decimated the poor L’Opera Worker. Her specials also seem to land critical hits more often than pretty much any other character, giving you a decent chance of breaking through an enemy’s guard if you attack from the front.

Verbum: Celebrus hits six times, and while it’s not infinite-range it can still hit from pretty far away, giving Serenade some long-distance utility. It takes 4.4 seconds to cast – which, you’ll note, is longer than the turns we actually get at this point – so it’s better to wait until the end of her turn to use. In fact, all of Serenade’s specials take at least 3 seconds to use, so you won’t exactly be spamming them.



Serenade’s dark special, L’energie du Vent, is a healing move. It works on the entire party and has infinite range, making it great for emergency situations (as long as you have some Echoes saved up, at least). If you’re having trouble fighting enemies, you can put a Dark Brooch on Serenade and not have to worry about healing for a while.


Alright, enough technical stuff, let’s just move on.


Going northwest leads to further progress, but northeast leads to an item, so of course we’ll go this way first.


Taking a couple more one-way mirrors leads to another Stone of the Spring; the mirror behind us leads back to the beginning of the maze.



Taking the northwest mirror and heading up from there through a straight path…


We come to another fork. I thought heading south would take me to another item, but it’s actually just another path to the Stone of the Spring we picked up a bit ago, so excuse me while I backtrack and go east this time.



Doing so leads to another intersection; north leads onward, east takes us to this Floral Extract.



One last split with the wrong way leading to an item. I’m glad this maze isn’t very big, otherwise this whole process would be way more annoying.


Score! Okay, now we can go to the end of the maze.



Phew, glad that’s over with. The exit is admittedly very cool, what with the giant floating shards of glass that are spinning in the air.
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Mellotron enthusiast


Oh hey, that’s Beat! I’m glad he’s okay.


♪♪~ No music

Polka: “Beat! Oh, I’m so glad you’re all right.”
Beat: “Yeah! I was carried away by this really big wind, and when I came to I was here. And there’re no doors in this room, so I was getting kinda worried. Man, am I glad you all showed up!”


Polka: “Hmm. I suppose they were carried off some place the same way you were, Beat.
Beat: “Well, then we’ve gotta go find them!”
*Crescendo looks at the gate and walks over to examine it more closely.*
Beat: “I bet Salsa’s so worried by now, that she’s crying like a little baby! But how are we gonna get out of this room?”
Crescendo: “Everyone, look at this.”



Lord Forte: “To make a request like that with no thought of shame! This is nothing less than an entreaty from the king of a proud nation of tradition. Well then, I have an idea. If you cannot stop your heart from trembling in the winds of cowardice… then hand over “Lament” to me! Bring me that royal treasure unparalleled in excellence; the very symbol of beauty. If you do, I will lay down my arms.”


That seems like an easy choice to me, but I guess there’s a catch to Lord Forte’s offer, what with us being inside the mirror which is still in Baroque and all. Anyway, we have a little flexibility in party composition now; I replace Crescendo with Beat since the former is at a higher level than everyone else. That done, let’s move onward.


Polka: “We’re upside down?! But how…?”


It’s that dang dog again! After her!


So, we are indeed upside down.


This messes with the movement controls a bit; the inputs for moving up and down have been reversed, but the inputs for moving left and right haven’t been, and the resulting combination makes navigation kind of weird.


As you might expect, this makes ambushing or even avoiding enemies very difficult.


♪♪~ Leap the Precipice

The battlefield in this area is almost entirely in darkness, except for the small pool of light around the lamp post in the middle. This would be a good time to replace Polka’s Torn Umbrella with the Dewdrop Umbrella, except that I forget to. Oh well!



The Queen Scissors is the new scorpion variant; they don’t use regular attacks very often, being content to spam specials at you instead. They all pack a punch, so you shouldn’t let them hang around too long if you can help it. They drop either Lion’s Manes or Stones of the Spring.


It may be disorienting, but this area is pretty gorgeous, I must say.



Oh thank goodness, we’re not upside down anymore! This is the only time in the game something like that happens, by the way.


"Hey that would make a pretty good desktop background" count: 14


And just like that, we’re done here. Only a few enemies to fight and no chests to open.



There’s Frederic and Salsa! That’s everybody.


♪♪~ No music

Salsa: “I… I feel so weak….”
Frederic: “Well, of course you do. Who wouldn’t after crying out, ‘I’m hungry!’ over and over as many times as you have?”
Salsa: “Why won’t you magic up a steak for me? You should be able to make one up in a flash with those magic powers of yours.”
Frederic: “...Excuse me, but magic is not a tool of convenience. And if it could be used for such things, our first thoughts should be of all the children going hungry in the towns. Besides, getting upset won’t solve anything. We have to keep calm and decide what we’re going to do.”
Salsa: “Wah! Wah! Wah!”


(The screen shakes here.)

Polka: “Frederic! Salsa!”


Salsa: “We’re saved!”
Frederic: “Phew. Yes, saved in more ways than one I should say.”
Polka: “Huh?”
Frederic: “Nevermind, it’s nothing.”
*He walks closer to the gate.*
Frederic: “I’m very interested in the person depicted in this picture. They seem to be wrestling with some difficult decision.”


Minister: “How dare he speak so to the sovereign of this mighty nation?! And making such exorbitant demands! King! Hear me, O wise King! This is a blatant affront to our proud nation! To relinquish the mirror would be to tarnish the good name of the valiant knights of Baroque! Now is not the time to be led astray by the talk of fools! Be guided instead by the light of your knightly spirit! They await your orders, my liege!”


King Baroque: “’Pride.’ The name we give to that precious treasure which those who came before us cultivated with such care. A treasure that, perhaps, lives within the heart of every man. Or, do we choose the treasure of ‘life?” Which burns within the breast of every man. A treasure like no other.”


I guess Lament is more like a national symbol than just a royal heirloom, then? Hmm. I’m also kind of assuming there’s an unspoken, implicit “By the way when I say give me the mirror I’m also asking you personally to surrender” component to Lord Forte’s demands. Otherwise you could just hand him the mirror and be done with it!

Of course, this happened decades ago, so it’s a moot point anyway. Or, did it? Frederic only started having this dream today so how does that work? Man, dreams are weird. Let’s just keep going.


After we look at this armor we got from Dolce, anyway. Only Salsa can wear it, but we don’t have anything to counteract the Stop effect that comes with it, so it’ll just have to sit in our inventory until we do, alas.
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Mellotron enthusiast

Serenade: “Minuet! Please, wait!”
*The group takes off running after her.*


This dog is going to be the death of us, I swear.


And of course Minuet isn’t just around the corner, so we have to trek through another mirror-themed abyss.


Up ahead we find the last new enemy in Lament.


The battlefield here is almost identical to the one in the Mirror’s Flipside area, only the shadows are swapped to the opposite sides.



These enemies, called Propellekovs, are both stronger versions of the Petite Fatties and the light form of the Queen Scissors. It’s safer to fight the latter, to be honest, because the Propellekovs’ specials really hurt if you don’t guard them; Mines in the Box can easily take off a couple thousand HP on potentially multiple characters, and its other specials aren’t much weaker. To compensate somewhat, they sometimes drop either Very Odd Chocolates or Club Clovers.



♪♪~ The Royal Mirror

Moving on, the path continues north; before we head up the nearby ramp we’ll pick up this new mace for Crescendo.



Up the ramp we come to another new weapon, this one for Serenade.


Interesting. Let’s take this for a spin, shall we?


Serenade can reliably clean house against the Petite Fatties and the Propellekovs now, even without many Echoes. That’s a pretty solid win in my book!


That obtained, let’s continue on.


Soon after the Aries Staff we find the Serenade-exclusive Saint’s Vestment, which will help mitigate the lowered defenses from Burst somewhat.


Heading up from there brings us to a split in the path. Moving west will lead to forward progress…


But there’s an item down the ramp, so let’s go this way first.


This is a really long detour – imagine at least thirty more seconds of going steadily downwards (not counting fights).


Eventually, after much, much running…


We find this! The “Costumes” option gets added to the main menu and we get a short tutorial that basically tells us “hey, there are costumes you can find, go look for ‘em!”


There are two new costumes to find for Polka, and one each for Allegretto and Beat; once you find one, you can change into it here.


The costume change for a given character will be reflected in their menu portraits, on the field if applicable, in battle, and in cutscenes. It’s pretty neat!


We’ll wear Polka’s new costume for a while. I’m going to call it the Mint costume for future reference, since it changes her outfit from a red to a mint green.



Continuing onwards, we find another Club Clover to add to the pile.



Following this is more running in Polka’s fancy new duds.


I’m glad the developers were able to add this dungeon to the PS3 port; it’s my favorite one, aesthetically speaking.


One last chest for the road. The Snowpuff Cookie is the next tier of cookie, healing a character for 5,000 HP. That’s a pretty big chunk for everyone in the party!



We must be getting close to the end of this place. Let’s be cautious in case we run into anything out for our blood…


Mellotron enthusiast


click to watch the cutscene

♪♪~ No music

King Baroque: “Mirror, I put it to you. Should I leave the royal house, and march toward my enemy’s lands? To a future where the royal family honor is defiled! Or instead… should I rally the people beneath my banner, and spill the blood of thousands in bitter conflict? Bringing forth cries of agony, pain, and hatred!”
*dramatic zoom-out*






♪♪~ Rapid Fire




Whatever this thing is, it is not happy to see us.


Crescendo and Serenade are ready to throw down, at least.


boss fight time! (recommended viewing)

♪♪~ Opposition Resignation


Boss: Spirit Svetovit
HP: 198,500
Exp: 13,000
Gold: 500
Fun fact: Svetovit, alternately Svetovid, Svantovit, or Sventovit, is the Slavic god of war, fertility, and abundance.


Beat: “C’mon, let’s fight!”

Svetovit is a challenging boss; it has several incredibly powerful attacks, and it’s very fast, sometimes getting multiple turns in a row even against Salsa or Serenade. You do not want to fight this thing for very long if you can help it.



This boss loves spamming Man Splitter at you, which is really bad because it’s its most powerful special; it takes off huge chunks of HP, can hit multiple characters in a line, is very tricky to guard against, and can cause knockdown. It likes to use this attack to play keep-away with your party, making it tough to build up Echoes against it. The only upside is that it’s incredibly slow – if Svetovit uses Man Splitter it isn’t doing anything else that turn.


Not helping my situation is the fact that Svetovit blocks the Very Odd Chocolate I brought into the fight, and then I immediately panic and try to shoot it from the front (and of course it blocks most of Beat’s shots as well). Let this be a lesson, readers – bosses can and will block battle items if you use them from the front!


Man, my party is just not having a good day today.


Once in a blue moon Svetovit will actually stick around and use normal attacks against you. These are very easy to guard against and don’t deal much damage, so ideally you want to see them a lot. Do be careful of its hand-claps, though, as those can hit multiple characters.


I come this close to blasting the boss with a full Echo Meter, but my plans are dashed by the battlefield. It’s quite large compared to the rest of the battlefields in Lament and is almost entirely in light, save for the shadows cast by two large shards of glass that float around randomly. One of those shadows floated by just as Serenade’s turn was about to end, unfortunately.



Salsa: “Infinite power, come, emerge from the shadows!”

I can at least take the time to buff Serenade with Shadow Silhouette to let the boss really have it next chance I get. I put the Dark Brooch on her to make sure I had guaranteed access to it, since the floating shadows are so unreliable.





Neither of these specials are quite as dangerous as Man Splitter, but they still hurt! Man Fillet is a melee-range AoE, while Boom and Bolt is long-distance. They’re both relatively easy to guard against, but the former is more dangerous, since it’s quick enough to be used more than once in a turn.


This boss isn’t making it very easy to save up Echoes! I have to use L’energie du Vent a few times since I didn’t bring any Club Clovers into the fight (although in retrospect maybe I should have).


Tread On is by far the least dangerous special that Svetovit has up its sleeve. It’s just a stomp. That’s it!


Ohohoho, I’ve been waiting for this. Serenade, would you care to do the honors?




Serenade: “Your encounter will not survive this!”

Yeah, that just happened – Svetovit just went from “not even remotely close to defeated” to “completely annihilated” in the span of a single turn. Serenade plus Burst plus Shadow Silhouette plus a full Echo Meter is not a combination that very many things can survive.


♪♪~ Well Done

Serenade: “Is this really the only way?”

I’m using this awkward mid-animation screenshot so you can see the raw numbers; in one turn Serenade dealt nearly 14,000 over the boss’s max HP in damage. That’s absurd.



Beat: “I can do better than that!”
Salsa: “Well, I did it!”

And on top of that, Beat and Salsa both learned new specials! I’ll go over them next time.
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Mellotron enthusiast

click to watch the rest of the update (recommended viewing)

♪♪~ No music

Serenade: “Minuet!”




*Everyone is once again engulfed in the flash of light, only this time...*



Salsa: “Hey! We did it! We made it back to our world again!”
Beat: “For a minute there, I was actually getting pretty nervous.”


Beat: “What did you say?! What about you? You were practically bawling back there!”
Salsa: “No way! Me? I never cry! The only time I ever tear up is from the beauty of a perfect sunset!”
*Frederic futilely tries to break up the argument as the camera focuses on Polka:*


Polka: “Maybe your grandfather, the king, was wrong about leaving such an important decision up to a mirror.”
*Crescendo walks up to the mirror and puts a hand on it. Thankfully it does not transport everyone to an alternate dimension this time.*


Crescendo: “Not only our outward appearance, but also, what is inside of us. It may seem as though he left the decision up to the spirit of the mirror. But in the end, I believe the choice was his own. My grandfather was searching for an answer within himself, and I believe that he found it.”


Crescendo: “Everything from what wine to have with dinner, to grave decisions that are matters of life and death. Every choice creates a path and determines what tomorrow will bring. But regardless, we cannot expect others to make those choices for us. After all, if left to others, there’s no guarantee they’ll make the right decision. And when that happens, who is it that will have to accept responsibility?”


Crescendo: “No one else would be willing to accept it. So, we all strive to live our lives to the fullest.”


Crescendo: “It doesn’t matter what the outcome may be. The choice is the important thing.”





♪♪~ Little Dog Waltz (Waltz in D Flat Major, Op. 64 No. 1) (recommended listening)

“In this piece, more popularly known as the ‘Minute Waltz,’ Chopin is said to have depicted George Sand’s poodle puppy as it turned playfully in circles chasing after its own tail.”


“By that time, the romance between Chopin and George Sand had cooled off considerably.”


“For Chopin, the loss of Sand also meant losing the comforts of Nohant.”


“However, in spite of the consequences, the separation was inevitable. Their relationship had reached the point where it was beyond repair.”


“The loss of both at once must have been a great emotional strain on Chopin.”


“This can’t be proven for certain, but it remains an amusing story connected to the piece.”


“one can imagine that perhaps Chopin spent more time alone than with Sand and her family. In that sense, this piece offers a glimpse of Chopin’s solitude during his final days at Nohant.”



Next time: Setting off for Ritardando.


Mellotron enthusiast
Glossary of Musical Terms

Pizzicato – A playing technique for string instruments wherein a musician plucks the strings with their fingers. The method of employing this technique differs slightly depending on the instrument.

Marcato – A musical direction indicating that the marked note, chord or passage should be played louder and/or more forcefully than the surrounding music. Can be marked either with the word marcato above or below the staff, or an open vertical wedge above the note (like this). Can be thought of as a louder version of a normal accent mark (which is represented by an > like in the linked picture).

Serenade – A musical composition or performance delivered in honor of someone or something, usually in a romantic context. Serenades can vary in instrumentation but tend to be written for large instrumental ensembles, and are typically lighter and calmer in character than other genres.

Minuet – A dance and a musical form of French origin, typically in ¾ time. Originally written in binary form (wherein a piece of music is structured into two sections that each repeat), the minuet eventually evolved into the minuet and trio, which became the standard third movement of the four-movement classical symphony.

Lament – A piece of music written to express grief, regret, or mourning. There’s also the lament bass – a thing I did not know about until yesterday – which is a repeated descending bassline where each step is harmonized, used again to denote sorrow.


Mellotron enthusiast
It is time for more art:


That is a huge mace, not gonna lie. I'm also a fan of the second, decorative mace that Crescendo has hanging off his coat.


I really like how ornate and detailed both their outfits are, Serenade's especially.


Mellotron enthusiast
Next update should be ready in a couple days or so. In the meantime, some more tunes:

Chopin - Waltz in C Sharp Minor, Op. 64 No. 2
Waltz in A Flat Major, Op. 64 No. 3

These are the other two waltzes from the set that the Little Dog Waltz comes from; collectively, they're the last waltzes that Chopin published in his lifetime.

Maurice Ravel - Menuet Antique
Amy Beach - Romance in A Major for Violin and Piano, Op. 23

Amy Beach was a late-19th and early 20th-century American composer and pianist. She was a musical prodigy, already composing from age four, and she premiered most of her own works with herself at the piano. She's also notable for being the first American woman to publish a symphony (her "Gaelic" Symphony, which premiered in 1896), and for being the only female member of the Second New England School, also called the Boston Six.


Mellotron enthusiast
Verse 4-4: The Snowbound Kingdom of Baroque

Hello and welcome back to Eternal Sonata! Last time Polka and co. were pulled into The Weird Mirror Dimension, but were able to escape after beating up a particularly ornery spirit. We now join them as they prepare to make the return journey to Ritardando:


click to watch the cutscene

♪♪~ White Mirror

Polka: “It looks like we’ll have to cross over that mountain.”


Beat: “Well, let’s go. I’ll bet Retto’s at the hideout right now, wondering when we’re gonna show up.”
Salsa: “No way do I want to get lost in those cold mountains. Oh, I really wish I was back in Agogo Forest.”


Good idea, Frederic. But before we get any sort of preparations underway, let’s go see how Crescendo and Serenade are doing back in the castle.


♪♪~ An Inspection Which Values Harmony

Crescendo: “What is the right thing to do?”
“Ah, it’s you. I hate asking this of you, but please talk to Jazz for me.”

Over in Serenade’s room…



Looks like somebody’s tuckered out after their mirror adventures.


Serenade: “For a while I thought that we might never get back, but we managed to find Minuet and return safely. And it was all thanks to the help you gave us. You have my eternal gratitude.”
“And from here, you will be heading for Ritardando, correct? I have heard that the mountains along the way can be quite treacherous. Do make sure to be careful.”

No one else in the castle has updated dialogue, which saves me some time transcribing and is a good excuse to poke around Baroque proper.


♪♪~ White Mirror

Guard: “We’ve been expecting you. Please go inside.”
Other guard: “This is Baroque Castle.”

Sure is!

This isn’t quite my favorite town theme in the game, but it’s very close. Just listen to that violin! Those harp flourishes! The subtle harpsichord in the background! It’s the platonic ideal of a chill, relaxing town theme.


“Currently, Prince Crescendo performs that duty in place of the King. Every month I go to the castle on the day public court is held. The Prince always makes it easy to understand what he’s trying to say.”
“I think we can rest easy that the next generation of leadership is in good hands.”

Crescendo does seem to have a good head on his shoulders. (If you’re wondering, the King and Queen of Baroque are mentioned a few times, but don’t actually make appearances in the game.)


“Take it easy! Take it easy!”

This sailor is having the time of his life doing squats.


Dang, guess we can’t go in this building, whatever it is. Maybe it’ll be open if we find ourselves in Baroque again later.


“That’ll mean we’ll finally start getting some of the tourist traffic from Ritardando again like we used to.”

It’s too bad the ferry isn’t running now, we could avoid having to climb an entire mountain to get back to Ritardando. And we’re the ones who made Fusion River safe in the first place!


“The Prince frequently looks upset lately. Do you think you could soothe whatever troubles the Prince’s heart?”

I mean, that’s kind of what we’re doing, honestly.


“I would much rather be the younger sister!”


“I wish I could grow up fast!”

Desperately hoping this doesn’t turn into a Freaky Friday situation for these two.



Lonesome Loco: “M-my hands were so cold I couldn’t move them. That’s why I messed up. Please give me just one more chance!”

Unfortunately none of our Score Pieces match with Lonesome Loco’s; we’ll have to come back later once we find some more.


Polka: “Oh! I’m turning into Allegretto.”


The Mouse Metronome costs 4 points to put into the Item Set, and temporarily increases the user’s SPD by 10%. I’ve never used one, but it could be handy against some of the faster bosses.




“Being in a foreign land must be kind of difficult. Feel free to come to me if you need anything. I’ll help you. No, I won’t. Actually, I’m not really a Baroque ship crewman. Did I fool ya?”
“I really look up to Baroque sailors. They’re strong, polite, bold—real men! This uniform looks just like the real thing, doesn’t it? I can tell kids are looking at me!”
“I’m back in my homeland for the first time in a while. That’s my story!”

My dude, you are raising some questions that I don’t want answered. I’ll just be going now…


“Mom told me that snow is a gift from God. Well, he’s giving me too much. I can’t eat all this.”

Sometimes this game can be pretty funny, when it wants to be.


“It’s a medicine that’s highly regarded in Forte, but I have a bad feeling about it from the rumors I hear. I feel like I should stop him, but I don’t know what to do.”
“What should I do?”

You should really trust your gut on this one, believe me.


“I’m going to teach those people who laughed at me last year a lesson.”
“Last year, I entered a painting of my girlfriend, entitled ‘My Beloved Mary.’ But maybe my style was too progressive because my painting was rejected. Then my girlfriend got angry and broke up with me."
“Art is very complicated.”

You uh, you said it…


”Hey that would make a pretty good desktop background” count: 15

Nothing complicated about that view, though. Anyway, let’s go see the rest of the town.





I bet a hypothetical postcard business here would be thriving.


“Now, someone who can take a negative and turn it into a positive—that’s the kind of person who’s well-liked.”
“It’s cold when you’re alone, you know? Especially in a place like this.”
“Why don’t you try saying how hot it is? People might come closer just to check out the weirdo.”

That’s certainly an… idea, but no thanks.


Contrary Marimba: “What? You want to do it with me? I have to do it, too?”



Contrary Marimba: “Mine is the best. Your score piece is pathetic.”

Playing Score Piece 5 or 6 with Contrary Marimba will get us a Glowing Tail, but that’s all we can do right now until we find more Score Pieces.


Polka: “Oh, it’s a cat! How cute! But is it really okay out in the cold like this? Here, kitty, kitty. Do you want to come with me? Hmm? You want to stay here? Are you sure?”

Aw, poor cat. Hopefully it can stay warm in there.


“My husband is grouchy and doesn’t like strangers. Otherwise, I’d invite you over and give you something warm to eat.”

Thanks, I think? Sure.


Sounds like fun!


Sadly we don’t actually get a discount here, but…


I think we’re doing just fine as far as finances are concerned.



There isn’t much to pick up on today’s shopping trip – just the Ebony Shaft for Frederic, the Lohar Cannon for Beat (it’s effective against light-element monsters), and some Elegant Clothes for Salsa, along with some Snowpuff Cookies and other recovery items for the road. That leaves us all set for the trek through the mountains, but there’s still more to see in town, so let’s get to seein’ it!



Starting with this fancy hotel.



“Stop! Oooh! I’m so embarrassed!”


Hotel Bellhop: “I beg your pardon. Could you let me through?”

Whoops, sorry about that.


“I’d expect no less from a super deluxe hotel! I always wanted to try one just once, so I saved up my money and finally had enough to make a reservation.”


You can rest here for 200G if you want, but we’re just here to look around.
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Mellotron enthusiast



“What you look at and how you feel about those things is up to you. When the one you love looks at the same things and feels the same way, don’t you think that’s a beautiful thing?”

Yeah, I suppose it is.



Another Score Piece to add to the collection.


“If my beloved wife wants it, I’ll come here any number of times.”
“At first, I couldn’t see the beauty of this place. My wife has taught me all sorts of new things.”

Sounds like you two have things figured out for yourselves.




Hotel Bellhop: “You’re not staying with us?”

Nope! But we will be seeing what’s through the door behind you.


Oh? Let’s listen to one.



"They actually shine very bright,
but no one knows that.

They are in a place no one can reach.
So no one notices.

The stars never come near us.
Their light is too brilliant. It would take away our sight.

But someone is crying,
screaming in a dark place."



Grandma: “It’s an old poem.”
“If you act cold, you’ll never be able to warm others."

Uh… did anyone else get vaguely unsettled by that story? Just me? I’ll uh, just be going now.




I don’t think stomping your foot repeatedly is going to help much, man.

Anyway, that’s everything in the hotel, time to head back outside.


Too bad the tracks are probably frozen over, I bet this train would get us to Ritardando even faster than the ferry would.


“I heard it used to run a long time ago, before I was born.”
“Granny says she’s ridden on it. You think it’s true?”

It’s certainly possible.


Already got that covered!


“I’ve made up my mind. I’m going to make stew! I’ll cook it up in a big pot and serve my darling a delicious dinner.”
“Stew is perfect for cold days like this. It’s his favorite.”

Hell yeah, stew rules. Now I want some…


“Or is it just that living here, you don’t realize what’s good about your own town?”
“I want to get away from this cold place and go live somewhere warm.”

Take it from me, someone who’s lived in the American South their whole life, it’s not all sunshine and roses. It can get very hot here!


“Tenuto’s floral tea was fantastic. I wish I could have some again. But with the trade ships gone now, that’s impossible.”

I don’t think you’ll have to worry about that anymore, thanks to a certain group of people beating up a pirate gang by themselves.


“Fried chicken, roast fish, sautéed and marinated pork. From high class wine to green juice, we’ve got it all! Come one, come all!”
“Come to the pub! Come to the pub! How about a drink? Don’t stop with just one!”
“Drink your fill! But no minors, okay?”

Well, since we’re right outside and all, let’s poke around in the pub some.


“He’s making my drink taste bad.”

Jeez, so sorry for you.


“And today, too, just ‘cause I was a little late getting home she’s ranting about me missing dinner.”
“Hic! Who does she think earns the money, huh? Huh?! But in the end… in the end… That’s the only home I have to go back to!”

Um, did marriage counseling exist in the 1840’s? I sure hope it did, for their sake…


“Just look at this crisp lettuce!”
“Not that I’m giving you any.”

I didn’t even ask, jeez.


“They said there’s gonna be a war with Forte and they closed the mountains near the border. We were ordered back to Baroque ‘cause they said it was dangerous. It’s been a big mess, that’s for sure.”
“What? I don’t look like a miner? Maybe I’ve been drinking too much, huh? Won’t be able to work with this beer belly! Bwa ha ha!”

The situation between Baroque and Forte is getting worse by the day. Hopefully we can do something about it before it escalates to all-out war…


Waitress: “I’m going crazy here with how busy we are and he just keeps rearranging the wine!”


Bartender: “Of course, you can’t have alcohol. But you can talk to the other customers if you like.”

Way ahead of you there.


“I’ve been to a lot of ports, but I’ve never seen one as nice as this.”
“Whoops, I forgot, kids aren’t supposed to drink.”

Is that a thing you can just forget about on the high seas? I guess so…


“So when we get to eat food on land like this, it’s the most delicious thing ever.”


“Hmm? Me?! What? I’m not drunk! Hic! How can you call this drunk? I’m fine fine fine fine fiiiiiiine! I can walk home JUST fine. Hic!”
“Pretty girly… I wuv you!”

Whoa, back off, creep. You need to sit down and chill out for a while. Let’s just see what’s through the door in the back.


Employee: “What is it? Are you one of us? Huh? No?”
“Ah, it’s just rough by myself. I was hoping maybe you were going to help. They’re really hard on me here. Do this, do that, always angry. I swear this place is adding wrinkles to my face. Oh! Hey, don’t tell them I said that! I’m still doing my job!”
“What? Just now? N-no, I wasn’t goofing off! I was, uh, just taking a break!”

Relax, our lips are sealed. There isn’t anything else in the wine cellar or the rest of the tavern, so it’s back outside for us.


“I’ve cooled off now, so I think I’ll go back inside. I need to finish my knitting.”
“What am I knitting? A sweater! It’s cold here all year long, so even if it takes me a while to knit it, I don’t have to worry about it not being ready in time.”

That’s a pretty sound idea, actually.


Polka: “But he seems to be having trouble keeping his balance. Oh! He grabbed on to that lady and she slapped him! Now he’s apologizing over and over. I feel kind of sorry for him.”

I bet it’s that drunk dude from earlier. He really needs to just sit down for an hour.


Anyway, let’s see if there’s anyone in this house to chat with.



Dogs!! =3


“When my husband first brought them here, they were so small and cute. Of course, they’re still cute now.”


They seem like very good dogs.



Ooh, sweet! This will increase the wearer’s SPD by 5%. Jazz would get some use out of it if he were in the party right now.


We’re almost done here in Baroque, just one more area to look around in.


“Every day begins with shoveling snow. I’ve been doing it since I was a child, so it’s just a part of life for me now.”

That is not a task I envy you for, gotta say.


“Snow doesn’t fall in Forte? That’s strange!”


“I was once called the most beautiful girl in Baroque, but you can’t hold back the passage of time.”

Oh god don’t remind me. I try not to think about it.


“Isn’t it pretty? I put a bucket hat on it.”

It’s very pretty! Did you make both of these? Speaking of the other snowman…



That brings our collection up to thirteen.


“I’m playing here! Don’t get in the way!”
“Hey, get out of the way!”

Sorry, sorry.




Nope, just me being thorough.


Mellotron enthusiast


Almost missed this Snowpuff Cookie on the way out! That’s finally everything there is to see in Baroque for the moment; it’s about time we got going.


Polka: “The sign says it’s an office, but there’s no one here.”

I bet not a lot of people cross these mountains, what with the ferry and all. Oh well, onward!





♪♪~ The Posture You Do Not Despise

We’ve got a bit of a climb ahead of us, so let’s get going.


A new area means new enemies; I’ll show off what this thing can do a little later, but we can at least look at that new special Salsa learned last time.



♪♪~ Leap the Precipice

The battlefield for Sharp Mountains is just, unreasonably huge. About two-thirds of it is in light, with the left side being in shadow, but the main obstacle here will be the sheer distance between you and the enemies, depending on how unlucky you are with the start-of-battle spawning.



Grand Slam is pretty good! It hits five times, with the final hit causing moderate knockback. Moderately useful for building Echoes, but better for pushing a problematic enemy away from you to give you some breathing room.


Moving on, we come to a fork in the road. Going northwest leads to the next area, while continuing straight ahead leads to a few items; somehow though I got this mixed up in my head, so we’re going northwest first. Oops!


Going northeast from here would take us to the next area, which I thankfully realize. What’s that up ahead, though?


Hm, odd. I’m sure this isn’t of any importance. Let’s just go back now.


Oh look, it’s that little shrine we saw in the area intro.


Amateur Comedian: “This statue is of EZI. He’s the patron god of comedians. Legend has it that every visit you pay him guarantees another one of your jokes will go over well.”
“O great EZI! People with my talent appear but once a decade! Please grant me success as a professional comedian!”

Best of luck with that, although you shouldn’t stay out here too long, what with this wind and all.



There’s that number again. I hadn’t noticed it until recently, but 321 is just the word EZI represented numerically, which is why it pops up so often where EZI is concerned.



Over where that enemy used to be standing is this freebie item.


To reach this chest we have to walk up this ice path, which (of course) has ice physics; it’s slow going up, fast going down.


This will increase the wearer’s DEF by 7 points, and is going straight to Frederic; it’s been quite a while since he’s had a real armor upgrade.



Alright, back on track to the next area. Once more northwest is the way forward, and once again I forget this and have to backtrack for items later on. Not my best showing, this area!


At least there’s another item we can grab down this way, though – it’s off to the west down that ice path.


Hey, speaking of armor upgrades for Frederic, this will do nicely!




As long as I’m going the wrong/right way, now is as good a time as any to talk about some monsters! The Ice Coffin is the newest in the Earth Shaker line of giant squirrels. They’re big beefy boys like always, and have the same general sort of attacks, only stronger and ice-themed; you’re better off saving up your Echoes against these things. Also, their name is metal as hell. Sadly, they don’t drop any items.




Way up at the top of this ridge is a Lion’s Mane. Time to head back down!


‘Scuse me, sir, comin’ through.


Down at the end of the path is this little cave we can duck into.


Doing so nets us Score Piece #14. We have a little less than half of all the Score Pieces in the game now (there are 32 in total).


You’d think this enemy was guarding an item or something, but no, it’s actually just kind of floating here for no reason. Still, we can at least see what it’s like to fight.




Swordfish are kind of the worst! They might occasionally try and whack you with their weird nose-fin things, but mostly they’re happy to spam specials at you from a distance. Tidal Heave is the nastier one, but it and Pale Ram both come out pretty fast and carry a chance of knockdown if unguarded, and both can hit multiple characters in a line as well. It’s just bad times all around, really. Swordfish also sometimes drop Mouse Metronomes, which, thanks I guess?


Moving on from that, we’re back on the way forward again, going down these stairs and up this ice path.


The Sharp Mountains don’t actually take very long to traverse; we’re almost done already!


The enemy that used to be standing here in the previous image was guarding this Celestial Hourglass; if you didn’t go back down the Glissando Cliffs after rescuing Phil in Chapter 2, this would be the first one you’d be able to find. Told you these were rare!


Moving on, we have to tangle with this Swordfish to keep going.


I miss something in the next part of this area, and end up having to come back for it later. Do you see where it is?


♪♪~ Well Done

Frederic: “It’s a frame of mind, you see.”

We’ll worry about that later; for now we can celebrate Frederic learning a new special! I’ll go over it next time.


Mellotron enthusiast


♪♪~ The Posture You Do Not Despise

Continuing on with our very cold hike. Let’s see what’s off to the left first.


Polka: “Is it really safe to hike around here when there are monsters?”

That’s a good point, but with three hundred members I’m sure at least a few of them are capable of fighting off any giant squirrels or floating fish that happen to come their way.


”Hey that would make a pretty good desktop background” count: 16


Hey, is that what I think it is?


It is! There’s a lodge up here, thank goodness.


click to watch the rest of the update (recommended viewing)

Polka: “It is kind of cold. Why don’t we all rest for a while in this little lodge?”
*Beat looks up and sees something in the air:*



*Salsa, however, is uninterested:*


*Meanwhile, at Forte Castle...*



♪♪~ Strategy

Waltz: “Oh, well. Once we have an endless supply of insane soldiers, there’ll be no need to spy on Andantino.”
Rondo: “What about the one in Baroque?”


Rondo: “What do you mean?”
*Count Waltz gets up and starts pacing a bit.*
Waltz: “Forte would be in a difficult position if we were to be attacked before we finished developing a more powerful mineral powder. Serenade’s betrothal has made her a Baroque citizen, but she’s still a princess of Forte. She’s the perfect person to prevent Baroque from starting a war with us. She won’t let them follow a path that could harm Forte.”


Waltz: “Rondo, I want you to go there as well. If you find him slacking off, give him some encouragement.”
Rondo: “Yes.”
*She bows and turns to leave, and we return to the lodge on the Sharp Mountains...*


♪♪~ No music

Polka: “There’s something familiar about this place. It reminds me of my home in Tenuto.”
*Suddenly, the screen flashes white:*


*The scene fades as Polka recalls a distant memory...*


Polka: “A jewel?”


♪♪~ From Tomorrow On...

Solfège: “In some people, it glows very brightly, and in others, not very much at all. Nevertheless, everyone has one. Do you think your astra is glowing, Polka?”
Polka: “Well, there were some cookies I ate without asking you, so…. Maybe mine’s not glowing. I’m sorry.”
Solfège: “So it was you that ate them. But you told me the truth, so it’s all right. I’m sure that your astra is still glowing.”
Polka: “I don’t know. I’m kind of worried.”


Solfège: “Of course, it will!”
Polka: “Then I’ll start tomorrow!”
Solfège: “Oh? You won’t start today?”
*As the two of them are sitting there, Solfège’s demeanor abruptly grows serious:*


♪♪~ Journey to the Projective Mind

Solfège: “It’s glowing so brightly that it is unconsciously leading you toward a deep darkness. One that must be illuminated. And someday, the moment will arrive when a sea of unending darkness will lie waiting before you.”



*The flashback ends and we return to the present:*


♪♪~ No music

Salsa: “Hey, are you feelin’ all right?”
Polka: “It’s nothing. I just felt dizzy for a minute. That’s all.”
*She slowly gets up.*
Frederic: “Well, the mountain air up here is very thin. Perhaps that was what caused your dizziness.”
Beat: “Thin air? Huh. Now that you mention it, my head has been hurting, too.”
Salsa: “I guess it’s just time for us to take a break. My legs are all worn out from all that climbing anyway.”
Frederic: “I agree. Let’s try and get a little rest before we continue on. All right?”
*As they move to do so, Polka wonders to herself:*


That’s just something we’ll have to ponder for later. For now, I’m gonna call this an update.

Next time: Continuing on our journey back to Ritardando.


Mellotron enthusiast
Glossary of Musical Terms

Loco – This is actually a thing, although I personally haven’t seen it used much. It essentially means “in place”, i.e. to perform the marked notes at the written pitch; it’s generally used to cancel out an 8va or 8vb direction. Can also be used for string instruments to direct them to return to normal playing.

Metronome – A device that produces an audible click or other sound at regular intervals that can be set by the user. It’s mainly used to help musicians practice to a regular pulse, but you can do other stuff with it too, like using one to work out the tempo of a given piece of music. If you want to get really out there with it, the Hungarian composer György Ligeti wrote a piece for 100 mechanical metronomes called Poème symphonique. (There are several videos of this piece up on youtube; here’s one of them – performance starts at 2:16.)

Marimba – A percussion instrument of African origin, consisting of a set of wooden bars that are struck with yarn or rubber mallets to produce notes. Early marimbas would be played while the musician was sitting in front of them, but over time the legs were lengthened so that one could stand in front of them instead, and the instrument became larger as a result; modern orchestral marimbas are anywhere from 4 to 5 octaves in length and use metal tubes as the resonators, with the notes laid out similarly to a piano keyboard.

Ensemble – A fancy name for a group of musicians, whatever the combination of instruments there might be.

Sharp – A marking in musical notation, indicating that the marked note should be raised by one semitone when playing it. Looks like a slanted pound sign.


Mellotron enthusiast
Just a couple pieces of art today. First, the US PS3 box art:


There is some palpable "US Kirby Game Box Art" energy emanating from this cover.

Next, some environmental art of the outside of Baroque Castle:


You can see more clearly here that the arches in front of the castle are made from giant harps! How cool is that?


Mellotron enthusiast
I forgot to mention that the next update will be the end of Chapter 4, so... there's that! There are also these for your listening enjoyment:

Chopin - Waltz in A Flat Major, Op. 34 No. 1
Keiko Abe - Dream of the Cherry Blossoms

Keiko Abe is a Japanese composer and virtuoso marimba player. In addition to greatly expanding the marimba repertoire with pieces like the one linked above, she is also responsible for helping develop the modern five-octave marimba in collaboration with Yamaha, and was the first player to develop the six-mallet playing technique (which is exactly as difficult to do as it sounds).


Mellotron enthusiast
Man, the symmetry/fractal-ness of that mirror dimension is neat!


And yes, Grandma's creepy poem is creepy.


Also, apologies for the wait! I took some time off to finish Rogue Galaxy, and now that that 65-hour distraction is done with I can resume updating with a more-or-less consistent schedule. Speaking of which, the end of Chapter 4 is coming up in just a bit, so stick around and enjoy!


Mellotron enthusiast
Verse 4-5: Secret of the Forest

Hello and welcome back to Eternal Sonata! Last time Polka and co. took a look around the city of Baroque, before setting off for Ritardando to hopefully meet up with Jazz and the others. We resume our journey up the Sharp Mountains, after having rested in a mountain lodge:




♪♪~ The Posture You Do Not Despise

Before we leave the lodge, we’ll pick up a new weapon for Beat and Score Piece #15.


Normally I’d just continue going up the mountain, but I completely forgot something in the previous area, so it’s back down we go.


Turns out there’s a person hiding in this hole that wants to play a session with us!


Killer Bell Lyre: “Your skills are impressive. But you are not ready to challenge me!”

Playing Score Piece 3 or 7 with Bell Lyre here gets us a free Star Cookie. Let’s see if we can’t get anything better, though:

“So, you’ve come! I will not lose to you! En garde!”



Killer Bell Lyre: “I can’t believe I lost to the likes of you. I’m so ashamed. Very well. I shall acknowledge you as my rival.”

Using Score Piece 14 gets us the EZI Egg, a battle item that costs 30 points to put into the Item Set (which is more than we actually have) and deals 4,000 damage… to the user. Gee, thanks, pal. =V



With that taken care of, we can resume our climb to the summit.



♪♪~ Rock and Burn You

Well, nothing for it but to head on in.

I like how subtly off-kilter this track is, what with the off-beat timpani and wordless background vocals. There isn’t much else to say about this one – the clarinet gets some time in the spotlight, which is always nice, and the strings carry most of the harmony. It’s not my least-favorite dungeon theme, but it’s pretty close - but I still like it!


Another Cookie around the bend, and some rapidly-changing scenery to greet us further on…


click to watch the cutscene


Beat: “And it was so cold just a little while ago. If the weather keeps changing back and forth like this, we’re all gonna end up getting sick.”
Frederic: “There seem to be pools of magma around here. Let’s all be very careful passing through this place.”




It’s a good thing we’re working on dream logic right now, otherwise the heat from all this magma would almost certainly kill us.

(For whatever reason, this area features some vertical screen tearing that you’ll see over in the far right of most screenshots, with the exception of battles. I suspect that it has something to do with the shimmering effect that’s also present in the cave, but that’s just a guess. I don’t remember if this screen tearing is present in the original Xbox 360 release, or if it’s there in emulation, but luckily this is the only place you’ll see it.)


It’s not visible in the screenshot, but there’s a new enemy just ahead. Let’s go say hi!


♪♪~ Leap the Precipice

The battlefield inside Wah Lava Cave is slightly smaller than the one in the Sharp Mountains, but the lighting situation is more complicated; the western side is in light, while the eastern side is mostly in shadow, with a small pool of light near the northeast corner.




These enemies are Fire Antiques, the next step in the line of weird floating torches. They’re more annoying than dangerous, and don’t hold up to much punishment; you can pretty reliably take them down if you build up at least 12 Echoes. As for their special attacks, Lava Circle is a long-distance attack, Lava Stab is a single-target… stab, and Lava Fire is a melee AoE that can cause knockdown if unguarded. Lava Circle could actually be considered beneficial to you, since it inflicts Burst status on the target if unblocked, which just lets you take them out faster. Fire Antiques sometimes drop Floral Extracts, and more rarely Goddess Bouquets.


While I’m here, let’s look at Spirits Pathway. There’s not much to look at, really; it’s essentially an upgraded form of Sacred Signature, same casting time and everything. It is much stronger, though, being capable of healing at least 2,400 HP even without any Echoes. Very handy!



That taken care of, we’ll put on the mint costume and head down this fork in the path before moving on to grab a new weapon for Polka.


Right then, onward!


That is a super neat rock-flower. Kind of seems like something you would see in a Goron settlement in a Legend of Zelda game.


A little further on we hop over a little gap in the path. Just don’t think about what’ll happen if you slip and fall and everything will be just fine.


Another fork – we’ll take the upper path this time.


Don’t mind if I do.


This has the added benefit of letting us ambush the next new enemy.




The Haken Büchse (which according to google is apparently German for “hook socket”) is actually the final variant of the giant squirrel enemy, and it’s certainly the beefiest as well. By now you should be pretty used to fighting these kinds of monsters so their attacks shouldn’t give you much trouble, but you should definitely be using a full Echo Meter against them. If you’re able to lure one near other enemies, you can build up Echoes faster and save some time while fighting them. They sometimes drop Very Odd Chocolate, but that’s it.


They also transform into Coelacanths (the next floating fish) in the darkness, which are annoying but don’t take nearly as long to defeat. Pictured is their most spammed attack, which really hurts and is difficult to block. They sometimes drop Fish Incense (of course) or Snowpuff Cookies.


Now that that’s dealt with, we can head south down this fork in the path for another item. We can at least sell these even if I don’t end up using any of them.


Right then, let’s keep going.


Another fork in the path presents itself to us right as we reach the next save point in the cave; we’ll go south.


We have to fight through some enemies, but we get another Goddess Bouquet in the process, and I’m not about to say no to that. Actually, speaking of fighting…





Here are some Action Shots of Polka’s mint costume! I realized I forgot to show it off in more detail back in Lament, so I’m doing it now. I think it looks pretty swell!
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Moving on, there’s another split in the path here, but this time the two paths both converge in the same place, and the one guarded by this enemy is shorter, so going south again is really the best option all around.


I won’t say no to a new weapon for Frederic. (This baton has been given a slight ATK buff and a name change – being originally called the Resonating Wand – over the original Xbox 360 release.)


We’ll end up going down the southwest path eventually, but first I want to go back up the previous path that we didn’t take.


Doing that leads to a pair of ledges we can hop down; taking the right-hand ledge will just lead us back where we were, so we’ll take the left-hand ledge instead.


On the way down we pick up an interesting set of armor; in addition to the usual DEF increase, the Hard Jacket increases the wearer’s Tactical Time by a couple seconds. I’ll give it to Beat.


Hopping down to the bottom of the ledges leads to yet another fork; we’ll go southeast.


This leads to a loooong path dotted here and there with enemies; I’m trimming most of it out, but suffice it to say there’s a fair bit of moving downwards.



While I’m doing that, here’s a look at Power Smash, which Beat learned after defeating Spirit Svetovit back in Lament. It’s the light version of Sledge Hammer, and it’s pretty powerful, especially with higher Echo counts. For whatever reason, the level requirements for these two specials were switched for the PS3 port; Beat originally learned Power Smash at level 8 and Sledge Hammer at 24.


I like that you can see future areas of the dungeon way below where you are. This place is pretty big!


Defeating some more Haken Büchses nets us this chest with more new armor; I’ll hand this one to Salsa. Also that is just a whole mess of ledges down there that we’ll have to navigate soon…



Anyway, going back up and taking the northeastern path takes us to the other side of the ledges that led to the Hard Jacket we picked up earlier. We’ll have to backtrack there to proceed to the next area, so excuse me while I do that…


Right then, let’s keep going.




We soon reach a three-way fork in the road. Going southeast will eventually lead to a dead-end, and while the western path and southern ledges lead to the same place, the latter has another item to grab along the way. (The ledges can also lead to the dead-end if you jump down the wrong ones, so try not to do that.)


I got mixed up about which of these ledge-paths led to the next chest and took the wrong one. Whoops!


Now I have to run all…


The way…


Back to where I was. Okay, let’s take the correct path this time.




Sweet! Now we have exactly half the Score Pieces in the game; very worth the runaround I accidentally gave myself.




Yet another save point and yet another split in the path. Both paths actually lead to the end of the dungeon, but we’ll go west later; right now we want to take the southeastern path guarded by this Haken Büchse.



Going down the long, winding road leads to this Haken Büchse standing in front of another rock-flower. If you’ll recall back to when we fought Captain Dolce, defeating her gave us an item called the Pirate’s Paper 1. Let’s take a quick look at that, shall we?


It turns out that the paper was a hint for the start of another sidequest!


Defeating the monster reveals a strange crack in the ground that we can investigate. Let’s see just what’s buried here…


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click to watch the cutscene



♪♪~ Seize the Artifact for Tallness

Guitar: “Don’t expect the invincible Dolce Gang to give up that easily! We could say the same thing of you people! What are you doing here?! Don’t tell me, you’ve come for our treasure, right?”
Frederic: “Treasure?”


Dolce: “Oh, nevermind. What luck that we should run into you lot here. I can finally repay you for what you did to me the last time we met!”


boss fight time!


♪♪~ A Flicker Which Divides Light and Darkness

Optional Boss: Captain Dolce, 1st and 2nd Lieutenant (Rematch)
HP: 181,050
Exp: 85,000 (Xbox 360)/11,700 (PS3)
Gold: 700
Whoa what’s with the drastically different Exp values: A lot of bosses in the second half of the game gave absurd amounts of exp in the original Xbox 360 release, which had the side effect of taking a lot of challenge out of the game; you’ll see it more and more the further we get into this game. As for why these bosses originally gave so much exp in the first place, I couldn’t say, but I’m glad the extensive rebalancing happened for the PS3 port so that the game still has some teeth to it as we go along.


Dolce: “Ooh, you’ve been naughty, haven’t you?”


Salsa: “I’m gonna send you into a flyin’ spin!”

You might think that a rematch with Dolce would be pretty difficult, what with how much of a hard time she can give you in the first fight against her, but that’s… not really the case? She doesn’t have that much more HP than the first time we fought her, and her move-set hasn’t changed at all. We can take her just fine!


Uh, whoops. I was going to take some photos during this fight but I forgot to actually equip Vivid Shot to one of Beat’s special slots. Sure I could reset the fight, but I try not to get in the habit of doing that unless I absolutely have to; I’ll make do with what I’ve got here.



Bass and Guitar decide to be slightly more annoying in this encounter, but it’s nothing we can’t handle as long as we defeat them quickly.



Salsa: “You’re gonna roll on the ground, moaning in pain!”

Like this. Thanks, Salsa!





This fight might not be much more difficult than the first against Dolce, but it’s still a good idea to bring along at least one healer, and Frederic will fill that role nicely. As for Bass and Guitar, they manage to stick around a little longer thanks to the former reviving the latter, but that doesn’t stay the case for long.




From there the fight continues much like the first battle did; with her lieutenants gone, it’s much harder for Dolce to overwhelm you, even though Dead Man’s Tale still hurts a lot. We’ve got her on the ropes once again.



And just like that we’ve defeated Dolce for the second time. Thanks again, Salsa!


♪♪~ Well Done

Salsa: “I just cleaned up a teeny tiny bit.”

That accessory we got is quite good; more on that in a bit.


*The three of them run off.*


♪♪~ Rock and Burn You

Polka: “Hey, she mentioned something about a treasure, didn’t she?”
Salsa: “Hey! I know! This is a treasure map! That pirate captain came here looking for treasure. That’s got to be it!”
Beat: “You think so?”


This is the next clue for this particular sidequest; we’ll look at it later. Incidentally, if you don’t fight Dolce here before finishing Chapter 4, you can’t come back here and fight her later, and thus can’t pursue the sidequest any further. So uh, don’t let that happen! If nothing else, the extra exp and accessory are pretty nice.



Back at the previous fork that we followed southeast to Dolce, now we can head west.



Heading this way leads to a long, narrow passage…



Like, really long (and free of enemies)…


That eventually takes us to this small hoard of chests. Hell yes.





Most notable out of the haul here is the third Celestial Hourglass we’ve found, as well as the Diamond Clover, the next tier of Clover item. This one heals the party for 6,800 HP and costs 5 points to put into the Item Set. We’ll hold onto it for dire emergencies.



Moving on from there, we hop down a long series of ledges…


That eventually spit us out near the final save point and the exit to the dungeon.


If we had kept going down the path past where we fought Dolce, we would’ve had to contend with a platforming gauntlet littered with Coelacanths jumping back and forth between the little islands. No thanks!


Before we leave the cave, let’s go over the active party’s equipment setup. Beat has the Piercing Shell for the damage boost and the Shard of Sampo for some extra defense, and I remembered to set Vivid Shot as one of his specials; Frederic has the Power Ring for the ATK boost as well as the Pocket Watch we just got, which adds more time to the Action Gauge than usual when attacking with melee combos; finally, Polka gets the Recovery Gloves for the regen, and the second slot doesn’t matter much so I decide to go for the slight DEF boost. We should be pretty prepared for what lies ahead, so let’s not dawdle any longer.


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Say, this foliage looks vaguely familiar. I wonder if…?


click to watch the cutscene (recommended viewing)

♪♪~ No music

A-ha, I was right!


Salsa: “We just kept walking along, and then boom! We ended up in the woods right smack dab next to it! I must be some kind of directional genius.”
Beat: “Huh? Hey, isn’t that your sister, March?”



Salsa: “I’m glad to see you’re okay. I know you’re totally hopeless without me around, so I was a little worried about you. But goodness, I sure ran into a lot of trouble on this trip. First I was thrown in a scary dungeon, and then I climbed a frozen mountain. I’m telling you, it was a spectacle. A truly astoundingly big adventure!”
*March notices something behind Salsa.*
March: “Salsa? More importantly, you should probably take a look at that.”




Salsa: “It seems like something really has them all worked up.”
Beat: “This time I’ve got to take a picture of them.”
*He starts taking out his camera.*
Polka: “I think they’re trying to tell us something. Just look at how excited they are.”
*Suddenly, from off-screen:*



♪♪~ Pressure

Frederic: “You again!”
Beat: “Frederic? Do you know who this person is?”
Polka: “He attacked us for no reason at all in Agogo Forest.”
Fugue: “Did I really? I’m afraid I do tend to forget unimportant little details like that.”


Fugue: “I had intended to take you all to Forte Castle. There, you would have been made to suffer, until you revealed the secret location of the glowing agogos. But now that I know where they live, well, there’s simply no need for extended torture.”


Boss fight time! (recommended viewing)


♪♪~ I Bet My Belief

Boss: Fugue
HP: 219,460 (Xbox 360)/198,500 (PS3)
Exp: 29,000 (Xbox 360)/19,000 (PS3)
Gold: 600
Aw hell, it’s this asshole again: Indeed, but this time we can actually defeat him!


Fugue: “Please don’t give me a hard time.”


Beat: “C’mon, c’mon, c’mon!”

It’s time to give Fugue some payback for beating us up three chapters ago! He’s not going to make it easy on us, but at least he’s been downgraded from “unwinnable boss fight” to “actually defeatable”.



Fugue is quite fast, and he’ll often get two turns in a row even with Salsa in the party. His melee combos are a bit slower but deal a lot of damage unguarded, and the roundhouse kick has a chance of knockdown if you mess up the guard timing.




Fugue: “Its elegant fragrance is lost amidst these weeds!”

He also has the unfortunate tendency to spam J’accuse at you; it’s not his strongest attack, but it still hurts. The beam it shoots out has a pretty sizable range and can cause knockdown if unguarded, but it has a pretty big windup time, so it should be relatively easy to block after you’ve seen it a few times.



Beat: “That’s good, that’s good!”

Well dang, I was hoping to take some of the sting out of his attacks, but Fugue blocked my Very Odd Chocolate. Again, don’t use battle items from the front! Using a Wormwood instead is also a good idea, since the poison will both stagger him and make the fight slightly shorter. (Also, this is the only turn I’ll be spending taking photos, because Fugue is really dangerous.)



Frederic is going to be the primary attacker in this battle – the Pocket Watch will let him get in more hits than usual, and the Power Ring will boost the damage from his combos. Coup de Grace will also be very useful for keeping Fugue from being constantly in our face.




I end up spending a lot of time playing keep-away, actually, so I can patch the party up and plan my next move. It’s only mostly successful – Frederic goes down at one point – but really things could be going much worse right now.



Frederic: “Bow down before me!”

Also, dang, the Pocket Watch is putting in a lot of work! It’s so nice to be able to build up Echoes faster than usual.




Still, you shouldn’t get complacent or Fugue will happily wreck your whole business. Blood Scent is his deadliest attack, a three-hit combo followed by a finishing stab. There’s no special properties to it, it’s just stupid strong. He also has access to an attack called Dark Presence – the same attack that defeated us back in Chapter 1 – but strangely he never used it during this recording. Not that I’m complaining, because it has a chance of inflicting Stop, which is really nasty.


On the other hand, we’re close to defeating him! Just a couple more rounds…



Ha, take that you jerk! Polka didn’t even use any specials to finish him off, just her standard combos.


♪♪~ Well Done

Polka: “Huh! There!”

Serves him right. The new weapon for Salsa is welcome, and I’ll talk about the accessory later.


Our Party Level also goes up! I’ll go into more detail about that next time, but suffice it to say for now that this is a very important Party Level.


Mellotron enthusiast


click to watch the rest of the update (recommended viewing)

♪♪~ No music

Fugue: “Maybe you have a point. Fine. I’ll allow myself to be swayed by the beauty of your eyes, and I’ll lower my blade.”


You tell him, Beat!


*He runs off before anyone can stop him.*
Beat: “Hey! Wait!”
Salsa: “Well, he’s sure good at running anyway. Hey, is everybody okay?”
Beat: “Yeah, but that got pretty rough. Polka, you’re not hurt, are you?”
Polka: “No. I’m all right. Thank you.”
*Meanwhile, in the woods nearby...*



♪♪~ Strategy

Rondo: “But that young girl. The agogos only seem to glow around her. Why? Who is she?”


*She has a sudden realization, and chuckles to herself.*
Rondo: “Of course! It’s no wonder we couldn’t find them all this time. It turns out that where they live isn’t important at all. I think I’m starting the understand the so-called mystery of the glowing agogos. Yes…. It must be the girl. She is the key to everything.”
*Rondo points at her, for some reason, as the party looks at the agogos.*


*She takes her leave as the music fades out.*


Salsa: “He said something about the secret of the agogos. It didn’t make any sense!”
Frederic: “It sounded as though he wanted to find where the glowing agogos live.”
Salsa: “Yeah, exactly! Glowing agogos?! Who ever heard of such a ridiculous thing?”
Beat: “Huh? Wait, you mean agogos don’t usually glow?”
Salsa: “Of course they don’t glow! Geez. If you don’t know that much, you’re even more of a baby than I thought ya were.”


March: “The first time you came into the forest, you saw an agogo that was glowing. Isn’t that what you told me?”
Polka: “Yes, that’s right. It was definitely glowing.”
Salsa: “What?! Are you serious?! I just can’t believe it.”
March: “I know. At first, I didn’t believe it either. But when I looked into the tales passed down by previous forest guardians, I came across an old legend that talks about glowing agogos.”
Beat: “A legend, huh? Ya know, this is getting pretty exciting.”
Salsa: “Well, come on, tell us what it said!”


♪♪~ A Faint Light Grasped in the Hand

March: “Reflecting the gleam of the shimmering jewel, when they glow you will know the time has come. They shall become a light that comforts the dearest wish of the maiden’s tears.”
Salsa: “Hmm. Very interesting….”
Beat: “Come on then! What does all that mean?”


Beat: “What?! You were acting like you understood it!”
Polka: “Mirrors of the heart? The shimmering jewel?”
*Her eyes widen.*
Beat: “Did you figure something out, Polka?”


March: “Yes, I think it could. I thought of the same thing as a possible explanation. In other words, perhaps the glow of the agogos is the light reflected from an astra.”
Beat: “Hold on. I always thought that astras were just somethin’ out of a fairy tale. If they are real, then I guess our astras must be shining pretty bright to reflect that much light!”
Frederic: “It’s not so much the agogos around us as it is the ones around Polka, that appear to glow.”
Polka: “What?!”


*The music fades out.*
Frederic: “Hm. This makes me wonder all the more about that thug we encountered. And didn’t we hear that Count Waltz is searching for glowing agogos?”
Beat: “Oh, I get it. Do you think maybe that guy coulda been working for Count Waltz or somethin’?”
Frederic: “It is a possibility. After all, Salsa was imprisoned for doing nothing more than going to Forte and asking to speak with the Count.”


Polka: “Actually, I’d really like to go and see my mom. So I’m going to stop in Tenuto for a while.”
Beat: “All right. Then let’s pick a time for us to meet up again in Ritardando! I’m gonna head back to our hideout there, and see what’s up. You never know, Retto might already be back there waiting by now.”
Frederic: “That’s true. Then perhaps I’ll go along with you, Beat.”


This scene is substantially different from the original game – in the Xbox 360 release, Fugue is defeated outright and just disappears from the story entirely (he’s barely mentioned in this scene at all, even), and while the party talks about the agogos acting weird, astras are never brought up. Both of these changes will have plot ramifications later on, but for now let’s finish out this cutscene:

*Meanwhile, back at Baroque Castle...*



Serenade: “What is that? There appears to be something on the poor thing’s leg. I wonder what it is.”
*Crescendo walks over to have a look, and when he sees what it is, he hesitates.*


Crescendo: “No.”
*He opens the letter-holder, takes out the contents, and unfurls the message:*




♪♪~ Someone’s Evening, Someone’s Daybreak (but only the first like, twenty seconds of it)


That will have to wait until later, I’m afraid. Although, I will say I think the impact of this little end-of-chapter stinger is lessened a little since we already learned that Serenade was a Forte spy literally the previous update. The developers could have just taken out the dialogue pertaining to that and made this scene much stronger for it. Maybe they did intend to do that but ran out of time, or it got lost in the shuffle amidst all the changes to the PS3 port. Whatever the case, it’s not like, a super big deal, it just would have been cool is all.

In any case, we’re halfway through the game now! I hope y’all have enjoyed the thread so far. I’ll do my best to keep my update schedule relatively consistent as we continue through the game. See you soon!

Next time: The start of Chapter 5!


Mellotron enthusiast
Glossary of Musical Terms

Bell lyre – A type of glockenspiel used in marching bands, made out of metal and constructed in the shape of a lyre (hence the name). Spans a range of two-and-a-half or sometimes three octaves; the bars are laid out similarly to a keyboard, and are played by striking them with hard mallets (usually with plastic or metal heads).

Wah-wah – The sound of altering the resonance of a musical note for expressive effect, so named because it sounds like the human voice saying the word wah. Here’s what it sounds like on a guitar, for example.


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Music? Music.

Chopin w. Auguste Franchomme - Grand duo concertant
Ravel - Valses nobles et sentimentales

The "Grand duo concertant" has an interesting history behind it. Chopin's publishers at the time contracted him to write a piece for piano based on Giacomo Meyerbeer's opera Robert le diable; he was initially hesitant, but his friend Auguste-Joseph Franchomme, a noted cellist and composer, convinced Chopin to turn the piece into a duet for cello and piano. The two of them wrote the piece together, with Chopin writing the piano part and overall structure of the piece and Franchomme writing the cello part. I couldn't tell you where the themes from the opera appear in the piece, having not listened to the opera myself, but I think it stands on its own quite well.


Mellotron enthusiast
Hi, all. Apologies for not having posted the next update yet, but I ran into some technical difficulties while recording footage for Chapter 5 that took the wind out of my sails for a while. Luckily those have been resolved, and I'll be able to post the next update tomorrow. In the meantime, let's talk about Motoi Sakuraba's musical career some more, specifically the soundtracks to two big games from the mid-90's: Tales of Phantasia and Star Ocean.

(It should be noted that I had a great deal of difficulty tracking down primary sources for information about these games' development histories, and as a result said information was put together piecemeal from many different websites. If anybody does have better sources, please let me know! Until then, you should take the game development stuff with a grain of salt, since I can't with any honesty claim that this information is 100% accurate. However, while I was scouring the internet I did come across a couple interviews on shmupulations, which I'm only recently realizing is a fantastic resource for this sort of thing - a collection of Wolf Team interviews from the early 90's, and a 2008 interview with some key Tales of development staff. These interviews aren't especially pertinent to the main contents of this post, but I thought they might be an interesting read for some folks.)

In the early 90's, Wolf Team set about making an RPG based on programmer Yoshiharu Gotanda's unpublished novel Tale Phantasia. Having been dissatisfied with their treatment at the hands of parent company Telenet Japan, Wolf Team went looking for a different publisher; they first contacted Enix, but after their pitch was unsuccessful they turned to Namco. Namco agreed to publish it, but not without making changes to many aspects of the game. Wolf Team clashed with Namco over these changes, and this conflict greatly delayed the game's release from 1994 to very late 1995, now as Tales of Phantasia.

The game's development history may have been troubled, but luckily the music turned out pretty good! Sakuraba worked on the soundtrack with Shinji Tamura, and the two would go on to be frequent collaborators on the Tales of series. It's a huge soundtrack for a SNES game, having nearly 80 pieces between the two composers (including a few tunes from other Namco games), and thanks to the compression technology the developers used there's even a vocal theme song! Unfortunately there isn't a definitive upload of the soundtrack on youtube as far as I can tell -- you either have this playlist which is in poor quality and arranged in alphabetical order, for some reason; this playlist which sounds better but cuts off the last few seconds of audio on every video; or the entire soundtrack on one long video, which at least has timestamps but isn't really how I like listening to game soundtracks. There's also the PSX soundtrack from when the game was remade a few years after its original release, but it isn't in any kind of logical order from what I can tell.

Anyway, several members of Wolf Team were unhappy with the development process of Tales of Phantasia, and they left to form their own game company, tri-Ace. Scarcely more than six months after the release of Phantasia, tri-Ace released Star Ocean in mid-1996, which is an incredible feat - in several ways the game is even bigger in scope than Phantasia was, offering more playable characters, a whole host of different kinds of skills to learn, and a flexible approach to character development called the Private Actions system, among other things.

This time the soundtrack was composed entirely by Sakuraba, and as a result of both this and the quicker turnaround time for the game's development, the soundtrack is noticeably shorter. It's still very good, though! Alas, its upload status on youtube faces the same problems as Phantasia: you either have poor audio quality, the last few seconds of each song being cut off, or the whole thing in one long video. And before I go, I have to at least link the final dungeon theme on its own, because it's fantastic. That slap bass! Those synth runs! The abrupt shift from 5/8 to 6/8 in the bridge!

Next time we'll start looking at Sakuraba's early forays into freelance work, which has been the predominant source of his output to this day. Stay tuned!


Mellotron enthusiast
Oh, I forgot to mention yesterday that today's update ended up larger than I thought it would be, so I'm splitting it up into two parts; I'll post the second part tomorrow.

While I'm here waiting for videos to upload, and because I don't want four updates on the same page, I guess I'll ask: how do folks feel about the thread up to this point? I know people are still reading - I can see the view-count go up after each update - but it can be tough to gauge people's reactions just based on that. And constructive feedback is always helpful!


Round and round I go
Staff member
I'm keeping up, but if I'm being honest, your standard update size is a bit daunting, and I wouldn't mind them a bit shorter on average.


Mellotron enthusiast
That's fair. To be honest I've been worrying about that, and it's good to know that my fears weren't unfounded. I suspect you aren't the only person who feels that way either. I'll try and cut down on update sizes in the future, which should result in less work for me in the future anyways. It's a win-win!