Today I have picked two versions of the song as the Daily. These are both version of “An Empty Tome”, the main theme from Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia. and the theme song of Shanoa, the game’s heroine. She is a very strong character who, despite her spartan emotions, is able to take on any obstacle with her inner determination. This reminds me of some friends I have who are also able to stand up on their own despite immense difficulties, and it is these qualities I admire. In this regard, today’s Daily, the final in this week’s Castlevania series, is a tribute to them.
The original version of “An Empty Tome” is an incredibly slick jazzy dance. The combination of drums and harpsichord keeping time creates a unique, amazingly rich sound that builds to a crescendo with piano. The strings of the main melody have a nice humming sound too, thanks to the DS sound chip (Order of Ecclesia has some of the best sound on the system). Shanoa has an absolutely graceful theme, full of confidence and mastery, the ability to overcome the intense obstacles in her way. It plays in the main area of Dracula’s Castle, the final stage of the game that rises from the mists of Transylvania. The entryway to the castle is just atmospheric sound – wind whistling hollowly through the main gates – and the explosion of melody that arises upon entering tells us immediately this is the final act of the game.
Yasushi Asada’s remix from Castlevania Judgment is by far the best version of this song – and in many ways better than the original. The original instruments with a greater infusion of guitar gives a greater feel of power than the original for a totally different feel. “An Empty Tome” works very well with a guitar lead, but Asada is careful to keep the main melody with an elegant instrument – the flute, using strings as support and harpsichord as emphasis. The lead instrument switches from flute to guitar as the track develops, weaving effortlessly between the two. The grace and power of this version is evident, perfect for Shanoa’s appearance.