Falcom Special Box ’91
Falcom Special Box ’91
December 21, 1990
Buy Used Copy
Falcom Sound Box ’91 is the third in Falcom’s annual collection of box sets, and also one of their weakest. The majority of this box set focuses on unused and obscure tracks from Falcom’s games and not on fan favourites such as the Ys and Sorcerian series. There are four discs in total, namely a ‘Vocal’ version, a ‘Super Arrange Version’, an ‘Original Version’, and a ‘J.D.K. Band Visual Version’, but no disc quite satisfies.
The first disc of the album is dedicated to vocal arrangements of several Falcom favourites. After the comparatively mature vocal performances from the predecessor, Falcom Special Box ’91 restores the youthful sound of Falcom’s vocal themes. The opener “Long Long Time Ago” and “Prince of the Wind” are perfect examples and is totally dominated by campy female vocals. They’re catchy enough, yet so very superficial. The subsequent two performances bring some additional emotion to the album, but have a tendency to be plagued by oversentimentality. At least the final track, “Dream Dreamer”, is quite fun and different — a gospel-esque interpretation of Sorcerian‘s “Beautiful Day”.
The subsequent disc is a Super Arrange Version dedicated to Falcom’s unused music. It’s one thing to release the original music for the curious people out there, but it’s something else to arrange it, given most listeners have absolutely no affinity to the music. The arrangements themselves are not among the best, generally suffering from weak melodies and derivative approaches. The opener “Pirate Island” features some of the most hideous saxophone synth available in a game music album, while “Crossroad of Sadness” is a contrived attempt for Falcom to offer some rock. At least listeners can still enjoy a refreshing tropical jazz interpretation of the now-famous “Theme of Adol”, though.
The third disc is dedicated to a range of obscure original music from Falcom’s history. It includes unused music, such as the previously released ‘Ys – The Lost Tracks’ and a few exclusive obscurities, which tend to be decent yet unspectacular. There is also the complete soundtrack to the separately printed and largely excellent Dragon Slayer IV: Drasle Family. There are also the original tracks created for the MSX versions of Xanadu and The Legend of Heroes. Though many are short, the cinematic opening and ending themes of The Legend of Heroes manage to quite expansive yet still familiar. This is probably the best disc on the collection, despite the random source material.
The final disc is a video single dedicated to “To Make the End of Battle”. Even all these years on, this rocking and kicking Ys II theme still remains a favourite. This particular arrangement adds quite a lot, including an extended introduction, a beautiful interlude, and a dynamic conclusion. Thankfully, the J.D.K. Band do it justice too. The accompanying video is also certain a fun glide back into the early 90s. However, some might be disappointed that the fourth disc is only a short video single and not a more comprehensive effort like the other discs.
Falcom Sound Box ’91 is one of the weaker entries of the series. Above all, it doesn’t sound like a well-coordinated production like its predecessors; instead it comes across as a random collection of original and arranged tracks that couldn’t be released elsewhere. There will be highlights here, especially for fans of vocal arrangements or obscure original music, but most will find it bad value for money. Stick to the other box sets instead.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.