By 1999, Falcom's classic era had come to an end. The company were no longer selling thousands of games, producing hundreds of albums, or even working on any original projects. However, it wasn't the end and they instead used the time as an opportunity to commemorate and monopolise further on their classics. They released their second compilation of classic games for the Saturn in 1999. An album was packaged with the game featuring the arranged scores for Ys II and Asteka II. Did it satisfy?
The album is mostly dedicated to the soundtrack for Ys II. It gets straight to the action with a rendition of "To Make the End of Battle", a rocking opening theme featuring amazing hooks. The rock influence continues with tracks such as edgy dungeon theme "Ruins of Moondoria" and the blistering final boss theme "Termination". These tracks are technically arrangements — offering harder drum lines and synth upgrades — but don't expect rocking masterpieces on par with those of Perfect Collection Ys II or Ys II Chronicles. Indeed, these tracks still sound very old-school and synthy even on the Saturn sound chip.
There is a pleasant variety elsewhere elsewhere on the soundtrack. "Cavern of Rasteenie" and "Ice Ridge of Noltia" bring a degree of ambience to the soundtrack and, while the arrangements are modest, they certainly stay true to the intention of the originals. Other tracks such as "Lilia" and "Too Full of Love" bring a more personal and sentimental element to the album and work beautifully in the game. Note, however, that there are seven omissions from the full score, most of them short and subsidiary themes. Nevertheless, Falcom Classics II Music Collection still won't be the album of choice for all those completists out there.
The main exclusives on this album are the arrangements of Asteka II: Templo del Sol. The Falcom Sound Team J.D.K. made a big effort to bring this score to the modern age and offer some especially beautiful arrangements. The title theme immediately captures the Aztec feel of the game without overly labouring clichés like the original music. "Field" is even more impressive with its blend of serene flutes and rustic guitar strumming, providing a stunning backdrop to the scenery. The ending theme is surprisingly moody and demonstrates the Saturn's capacity for much more subtle soundscaping. Though there are only five tracks, each is worth listening to.
Falcom Classics II is a supplementary item in Falcom's discography. There are some new arrangements here, most notably for Asteka II, but not enough to really appeal. Were the Ys II section more ambitious and comprehensive, this album might have stood out against toher versions of the score. As it stands, this album was a decent promotional item, but not something worth tracking down today.