The Legend of Heroes II Perfect Collection
The Legend of Heroes II Perfect Collection
October 21, 1992
Buy Used Copy
Perfect Collection Dragon Slayer The Legend of Heroes II is the only album out there dedicated to the music of The Legend of Heroes II. On this title, The Legend of Heroes series was starting to evolve into a deeper more complicated series, rather than just another spinoff of the Dragon Slayer franchise. This evolution is also noticeable in both the original and arranged music featured on the first and second discs of this album. There’s more music that stands the test of time in comparison to the original game and the arranged section is especially expansive. That said, the quality of the original section isn’t always on par with the arranged section this time around.
The growth of the Falcom Sound Team J.D.K. is demonstrated on the very first track, “Opening”. While initially written in the similarly sedate way as the predecessor’s opening theme, the soundscaping is even more experimental than before and there is a more significant development. What’s more, the sound team demonstrate that they know how popular their synth rock style is with an action-packed section and a rousing conclusion. While I can’t say I enjoy the new version of “Field”, it also demonstrates the more dynamic approach to the album. Whereas the predecessor’s overworld theme was laidback, this one is a rock-influenced theme that could come from a Ys game. Of course, there are also action-packed rock anthems such as “Charge” and “Breakthrough” too.
Despite the increased energy, much of the original version doesn’t feel quite as special as the predecessor. While there are more tracks, most of them are shorter and blander. Whereas the original “Town” theme was a melancholy delight, the new one is more of a happy-go-lucky track with jingle-like qualities. Whereas the original “Dungeon” theme was hauntingly synthesized, the new “Subterranean Canal” isn’t able to offer much atmosphere with just a 55 second playtime. There are plenty of filler tracks this time too that disappoint too, such as “Bully Slime” and “Game Over”. It’s far from a bad soundtrack — it’s perfectly listenable and functions well in context — but just doesn’t seem as polished or elaborate on a composition-by-composition basis as the first one.
Quite contrary to the predecessor album, these original tunes work a lot better in arrangements. This is the real incentive to track down this album unless you are one of the few Westeners that played the game. While first perfect collection was great, it took an odd funk genre that didn’t quite fit the music. Fortunately, this time people like Tomohiko Kishimoto and Atsushi Shirakawa are arranging, so are able to do justice to the original music. In fact, some of the better arrangements like “Opening” or “Riding Forth” have a more orchestrated feel. Even tracks like “Charge” have instruments like electric guitars, but still keep a Legend of Heroes feel to them. It’s perfect for hearing what the real intentions of the music may have been despite the limiting computer technology back in the day.
While largely a successful album, some of the arrangements can be a bit boring. Even though “Subterranean City” is one of the better tracks in the original version, it feels surprisingly bland in its new interpretation. Unfortunately, a lot of the weaker original tunes aren’t redeemed in their obligatory arrangements here either. Fortunately, tracks like “Ending” really show the depth of this album compared to the last. It has more atmosphere and a more complicated melody, especially when compared to earlier arrangements. The branching out of the instruments and rhythms is wonderful over the ginormous ten minute playtime. I’d say it’s my favorite arrangement on this disc and it certainly redeems the weaker additions.
All in all, Perfect Collection Dragon Slayer The Legend of Heroes II is a worthy successor. The original sound version verges much more on ‘formulaic RPG music’ than the predecessor and I can only really see major fans of the game or J.D.K. particularly liking it. Fortunately, the arrangements are much higher quality, especially compared to the last Perfect Collection. This may be an incentive for even the average RPG lover to look into this album. That said, if you are looking for a catchier and deeper album, I’d suggest the music from The Legend of Heroes IV or The Legend of Heroes VI. This album is in certain ways an evolution, but it’s still primitive and hit-and-miss.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on August 1, 2012 by Charles Szczygiel. Last modified on August 1, 2012.