Dinosaur Complete FM Oscillator Version
Dinosaur Complete FM Oscillator Version
December 19, 2002
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Compositionally, Dinosaur made the most out of FM synth despite the massive limitations of early computers. However, many were still disappointed by the results, given the soundtrack could not deal with dense textures without sounding messy and bold bass lines without sounding distorted. As a result, much of the original soundtrack release Music from Dinosaur was a difficult listen. In 2002, Falcom offered two reimaginings of the music from the game, one a remastered version of the original release and one a rearranged version for the PC remake. Dinosaur Complete FM Oscillator Version is the remastered version made using higher fidelity FM synthesizers. The result, however, isn’t the all-round improvement one might expect…
The track most adversely affected by the new synth is, ironically, probably the finest track from the original release, “The Lost Ones”. The parts feel too distinct this time, so the blend of a rich synth melody against repeated distorted bass notes lacks the same effectiveness. Furthermore, the synth lead really does oscillate this time and the bass line no longer exudes the badass sound of the original. Furthermore, most of the tracks concerned with spiritualism lack the elegance of the original. “Paean to the Spirits” still features ornate wind melodies against repeated bell chimes, but the sense of humanity and divinity is lost. Other tracks such as “Temple” and “A Time of Purity” also lose their fluidity with their heavy-handed approach while “A Chance Meeting” sounds little more than a generic RPG theme with its new chip. While the new synth has more definition and less distortion, this is evidently at the loss of the smoothness and nuances of the original.
But not all is lost! The once inaccessible dungeon themes are more captivating with their straightforward approach. “Into the Castle” immediately demands one’s attention with its fast-paced riffs and mysterious warbling lead; it lacks the subtle mood and ambience of the original, but is nonetheless an easy listen. “The Tower of Ordeals” immediately presents listeners with a compelling synthscape to represent a serious situation. Though this section is more enjoyable than before, the later introspective sections have lost some of their original charm. “Underground Shrine” and “Dimensional Maze” are almost as frustrating as before, but that’s always going to be the case given their relatively random construction. Fortunately, “Exciting Shop” isn’t quite as hypnotising as the original and that’s probably a good thing to stop people from going braindead.
Probably the biggest improvement on the remastered soundtrack are the action tracks. Themes such as “Front Line” shine with lyricism without being drowned out anymore by the crackling synth of the bass lines. There are also a few themes with clear rock influences such as “Charge!”, “The Enblem of the Wind”, and “When Grieving Ends, the Fight Begins” that should delight certain Ys fans. Although the synthesis is no work of true mastery, these compositions now manage to be dense without sounding like a wall of sounds. Even epic material like “The Mascle Bomb” and “Dinosaur” begin to shine with their grandiose textures and fast-paced runs due to the enhanced definition and reduced distortion. It’s clear at last that the action themes for Dinosaur were quite good, just not meant for early computers. Although not as good as the original version, “The Weaving of Dreams” proves to be a charming ending theme once again exhibiting the soundtrack’s rich melodies and counterpoint.
It’d be an oversimplification to describe the Dinosaur Complete FM Oscillator Version as an improvement on Music from Dinosaur. The original release did a spectacular job making the most out of the very limited technology available. The new release does a crude job of using the improved technology available. As a result, the FM Oscillator Version loses much of the humanity and atmosphere inherent to the storyline themes or the moodiness of the dungeon themes. Nonetheless, the improved definition and lack of distortion generally makes the dungeon and action themes easier to listen to on a stand-alone basis, which is very significant given their quantity. It’ll depend very much on the individual listener which version is suited for them, though fortunately there is a much-improved rearranged score for Dinosaur featured on the Dinosaur Resurrection Original Soundtrack also available.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.