Sorcerian has an incredible large discography for what is essentially a single game. The discography is so large that many fans might feel lost and overwhelmed about what to buy. In 2000, Falcom decided to give fans a helping hand by compiling together eleven of the best arrangements of the game's music. The resultant album was a pre-order bonus with Sorcerian Original for the PC. Did it satisfy?
The album opens with Hiroyuki Namba's rendition of "Blue Dragon" from the Sorcerian Super Arrange Version. It offers a rocking start to the album with its extravagant electric guitar solos and heavy drum beats by instrumental soloists. Daisuke Inoue's saxophone performance in "Cave II" is also surprisingly good, at least for game music, and proves another solid choice from the album. There are further star instrumentalists in the rendition of "Desert" from Falcom J.D.K. Band 1. Perhaps surprisingly, the bulk of the piece is dedicated to mellow acoustic guitar passages, but Tomohiko Kishimoto's electric guitar elements manage to come through in the beautiful climax.
There are several other acoustic arrangements on the album. Taken from Michio Fujisawa's PrePrimer, the piano quintet "Sonnet" brings out the depth lying behind the chord progressions and melodies of the "Opening" theme. "Tower" also highlights the piano, but this time as a synthesized solo instrument. The opening romantic fluorishes are among the most impressive moments of the album and the subsequent body of the piece is simply heartbreaking. Yet probably the biggest highlight is Kentaro Haneda's "Movement III" from Symphony Sorcerian, which transforms several of the series' favourites into a commanding, traditional, yet individualistic orchestral suite.
The Perfect Collection Sorcerian series is actually the focus of much of the best album. Though the arrangements on these albums tend to be mixed bags, Falcom largely made the right choices here. "Sand Castle" is especially spectacular, transforming from blistering rock passages to soulful piano contemplations within a few sections. "Pentawa I" is also a good listen and emphasises the jazz element of the series more. Less appealing is Ryo Yonemitsu's long-winded and cliché Megamix at the end of the album, though even this has its moments. The vocal theme "All Because of You" also continues the tradition of being a select taste and the choice of vocalist is especially dubious this time.
The Very Best of Sorcerian certainly features some of the best arrangements of Sorcerian music. It's clear that Falcom spent some time selecting and arranging the source material for the album. After all, the final result comes together well as a diverse yet balanced listen. That said, not all the arrangements here are that representative of their source albums and the overall release will be quite misleading if treated as a sampler. Still, those who received this album with the game ought to treasure it.