SaGa / All Sounds of
All Sounds of SaGa
N32D-007/8 (1st Edition); NTCP-1004/5 (2nd Edition)
December 21, 1991; December 12, 2004
Buy at CDJapan
Ahhh the Game Boy. A wonderful little bundle of joy to many, a worthless piece of junk for others. Since its introduction in 1989, the Game Boy quickly caught the attention of Square with the SaGa and Mana series. While the Game Boy certainly didn’t offer much in terms of sound quality, it didn’t stop experienced composers Nobuo Uematsu, Kenji Ito, and newcomer Ryuji Sasai from bringing us some of the finest music on the old handheld. All Sounds of SaGa compiles the music from the first three games of the SaGa series composed for this console.
The original Makai Toushi SaGa, known as Final Fantasy Legendoverseas, was an example of poor sound quality, but still retained high points thanks to the composition of the tracks. We start off with “Prologue,” which sets the mood for the rest of the series — it’s an excellent musical score with a lot of instrumental diversity. “Main Theme” is the map theme for the game. The melody here helps a lot in keeping the player interested, as the map wasn’t very detailed back then. “Town Theme” shares similar traits — the towns weren’t interesting in any way, but the music helped in giving off a feel of calmness.
“Fight,” as simple as it may be, is interesting, however, and doesn’t get old after countless battles (not to me, anyway!). “Eat the Meat” is the victory theme, which will be re-used in the two next sequels. It’s not as epic as Uematsu’s Final Fantasy works, but it does the job. “Demon Cave” is an excellent dungeon theme. It has a hint of evil to it, always leaving the player wondering what awaits them in the next floor/room. “Hurry Up!” is the panic theme. Whenever something urgent happens, this kind of theme kicks in, very fitting. “Fierce Battle” is the boss theme. Like the normal battle, it is simple in composition, but is quite enjoyable, keeping the player going for long battles.
“Requiem” is the game over theme. It’s not much, but it does the job. “Forbidden Tower” sounds a bit like elevator music (nice pun!). It starts out in a way that is uninteresting, but it gets better and better as it goes on. “Wipe Your Tears Away” is a track used in sad events. This track will be used in the four future sequels, always differently arranged than it’s previous incarnation.
“Knights of the Demon World Tower” must be the final dungeon theme. It gives us hope and sounds pretty epic. “The Highest Floor” is simply used right before you face The Creator. It’s just OK. “Furious Battle” is everything we could hope for the Game Boy RPG — a fast-paced and exciting theme to end the battle of all battles. It’s just excellent for the occasion. “Epilogue” is obviously the ending theme. It’s a nice arrangement of the main theme and is the perfect way to finish your adventure.
A year or so later, SaGa 2: Hihou Densetsu, or Final Fantasy Legend II, was released. The music is greatly improved and this was certainly because Ito took a more important role this time around. It starts out with “The Legend Begins,” which is a better version of “Prologue.” “Searching for the Secret Treasure” is the map theme; it sounds so much more epic and this time the maps were more detailed, further enriching the experience.
“Lethal Strike” is the SaGa 2‘s battle theme. Again, like the previous track, it’s a better battle theme than its prequels. “Eat The Meat” is slightly different and, of course, better once more. “Peaceful World” is the town theme and it compliments the lovely town design this time round. “Adventurer’s Theme” is one track I have not heard in the game (I haven’t played much of the game), but it sounds good. “Pillar of Heaven” is a strange track and I can’t really describe it, but it sounds a lot like something out of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. Am I alone on this?
“Through the Cramped Darkness” is the dungeon theme. It sounds a lot more spooky than the first dungeon theme. “Ah!!” is another panic theme and is slightly more fast-paced this time. “Decisive Battle” is the boss theme and it’s one of the very best tracks from the entire soundtrack, it’s that good. “Never Give Up” must be the final dungeon theme. It sounds very epic and is a lot more complex in composition that most other tracks in the set. “Wipe Your Tears Away” makes a comeback, sounding a lot better, and helps in conveying the sadness.
“Burning Blood” is a more epic theme, stating “We’re finally here, let’s go beat the last boss and go home!” “Save the World” is Arsenal’s battle theme. It’s just fitting for the mechanical monster and this theme will keep your blood pumping as the battle may be a long one. The ending themes of the game are far more memorable. It even brings a tear to my eye, just by listening to it.
A few years later, SaGa 3: Jikuuno Hasha, or Final Fantasy Legend III, makes it’s way on to the small portable. This time around, Uematsu and Ito take a seat, and newcomers Ryuji Sasai (who will be known later for Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, Bushido Blade 2, and Rudra’s Hidden Treasure) and Chihiro Fujioka (also the game’s director) are put to the test. How does their music stand up to the other two? Fitting, but not quite as good as the prequel’s score.
It starts out with “Opening,” an arrangement of the “Prologue” used in Final Fantasy Legend, but it is much more upbeat. “Journey to the Future” is a wonderful map theme and is a truly enjoyable and epic-sounding track. “Oasis” is the town theme. It once more has an inherent upbeat feel, which is very fitting indeed. “Fight!” is very short, but it is the best of all three Game Boy SaGa battle themes. “Holy Ruins” is the temple theme in which the heroes go to find a time machine of some sorts, it has a mysterious feeling in it. “Gods of Another Dimension” is the boss theme. Though it’s not too exciting, it fits the mood just fine. “Eat the Meat” appears for the last time, sounding better than the previous version. “Warrior’s Rest” is the game over theme and, like the Final Fantasy Legend theme, it serves its purpose and nothing more.
“Theme of Another Dimension” is Talon the time machine’s theme. It’s a great epic theme. “Village in a Strange Land” is the second town theme, sounding quite peaceful and fitting the scene nicely. “Dungeon” is the dungeon theme (No! You don’t say!!!). It’s not much in terms of composition and is truly boring. “Stelos” has to be the second boss theme. It’s so much better than the first one and it just gives off an epic feel. “Insanity” is the panic theme of Final Fantasy Legend 3. Though not much, it sets the mood fine. “Heartful Tears” sounds different this time around from the “Wipe Your Tears Away” theme from the last two games, which it is based upon. A refreshing change if I may say so myself.
“Laguna’s Palace” is SaGa 3‘s final dungeon theme. It sounds great and once more gives off a feel of hope. “Spiritual Battle” is. odd to say the least. It doesn’t sound epic and doesn’t even sound like a final battle theme at all. But it’s still an enjoyable listen. “Supreme Ruler of Time and Space” is the ending theme and it’s an excellent closing theme to the game. Now we come to the very last track, an arrangement medley comprised of “Prologue,” “Town,” “Main,” “Heartful Tears,” and “Epilogue,” arranged by Nobuo Uematsu. It’s not that impressive really and they could had used battle themes in the mix.
If you’re looking for the original scores for the original SaGa trilogy, this release is well-presented and definitive. Those that want the scores for the entire series may prefer the series’ complete box set instead.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on August 1, 2012 by Luc Nadeau. Last modified on August 1, 2012.