Falcom Special Box '96

Falcom Special Box '96. Front. Click to zoom.
Falcom Special Box '96
Front
Composed by Falcom Sound Team JDK / Томохико Кисимото
Arranged by Keiichi Shibata / Митио Фудзисава / Томохико Кисимото
Published by King Records
Catalog number KICA-9026~8
Release type Game Soundtrack - Official Release
Format 3 CD - 47 tracks
Release date December 21, 1995
Duration 02:59:31
Genres
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Overview

Falcom Special Box '96 is probably the least accessible of the series' box sets for Western consumers. That's since the majority of the album is dedicated to Japanese drama, not actual music. However, there are some interesting highlights on the soundtrack nevertheless, such as some jazz piano and rock band arrangements, unreleased and bonus tracks from The Legend of Heroes III, and a whole soundtrack for a Xanadu remake. Could there still be enough in this album for a hardcore collector?

Body

The first two discs of the album are drama collections. Listeners should expect to hear about 45 minutes of Japanese dialogue and drama in each collection, set again some faint music samples from the original score. This is ideal for those Japanese speakers wishing to visit the stories of both Ys V and Brandish Gaiden, but I imagine these are certainly a marginal audience in the West. They are well-produced, but certainly pointless for most out there.

Each of the drama discs fortunately features a couple of actual arrangements to break up the drama. There are two piano versions, specifically of Ys V's "Lilia" and Brandish Gaiden's "A Journey Without Rest". Both are beautifully arranged jazz ballads, the former cold and scenic, the latter warm and relaxing. There are also two vocal tracks by the J.D.K. Band, specifically an extended ethereal version of "Departure of Sunrise" and a more hard-edged rock ballad based on "Legend of the Lone Wolves". These are bound to be select tastes and, in my opinion at least, Tomohiko Kishimoto's vocals just don't cut it and the arrangements also sound quite dated. While I highly recommend the piano tracks, I don't think the drama discs are worth your time otherwise.

Fortunately, the third disc is a Falcom Music Collection jam-packed with exclusive original music from Falcom titles. The biggest highlight is probably the Revival Xanadu Game Soundtrack, dedicated to the PC-9801 remakes of the original Xanadu. Though the score still features old-school synth, it is considerably more elaborate and more classically-oriented. Perhaps the defining feature of the album are diverse arrangements of the haunting French dance "La Valse Pour Xanadu" introduced in the original game. Other additions range from Baroque dances like "Repos" and "Finir" to soothing synthy tracks like "Loin" and "Vrai" to more modern rock tracks like "Gros Monstre" and "King Dragon". My major criticism is that the soundtrack would have benefited from a disc all to itself, since many themes are crammed together. It's still solid and an enjoyable listen.

There are also 11 unused tracks from The Legend of Heroes III, as previously featured on a bonus album enclosed with the Renewal version of these games. These are unused tracks from the PC-8801 version of the game and therefore feature quite a choppy sound source. The compositional quality is also mixed. "Sunset" and "Ship", for instance, are reminiscent of the annoying bubbly themes featured all over the first disc of the full soundtrack release and others such as "Anger! Shorts" and "A Visit! Otasuke Group" are little more than jingles. Still, there are highlights such a the ridiculously upbeat and rocking "Tower", Demon Castle", and "Boss Battle". Were it included in the full release, I imagine "The Legend of Heroes III" could have been quite iconic too. It nicely blends together the rocking and poppy aspects of the game together into a standard upbeat theme that might fit a staff roll.

There is a whole load of other obscure material on the third disc. Those wanting more from the J.D.K. Band can enjoy the gritty instrumental rock anthem "The Tower Between Heaven and Earth" written for Brandish VT and an absolutely awesome take on "Xanadu" featuring low-key vocals and extravagant instrumentals. There is also a preview of The Legend of Heroes IV's music with the humble prototype versions of "The Mountain Road" and "Plateau". Finally, listeners can enjoy more exclusives with the cinematic "Prologue" from Brandish Renewal and the more anthemic "The Little Heroes" from The Legend of Heroes III Renewal.

Summary

It's difficult to sum up the Falcom Special Box '96. On the one hand, it features two discs of almost completely pointless tracks for Western consumers. On the other hand, it features a third disc jam-packed with exclusive highlights. Material such as the Revival Xanadu Game Soundtrack, two piano arrangements, and some of the J.D.K. Band performances are especially enjoyable. However, I'm still not convinced there's enough to justify purchasing a whole box set for and I think the release is still best reserved for Japanese customers only.



Album
5/10

Music in game
0/10

Game
0/10

Charles Szczygiel

Falcom Special Box '96 is a compilation of music and drama from various Falcom games spread across three special volumes. This is the eigth produced 'Falcom Special Box' volume.

Disc 1: Ys V - Kefin, Lost Kindom of Sand ~ CD Drama
Disc 2: Brandish Gaiden ~ CD Drama
Disc 3: Falcom Music Collection


-Credits-

Lilia ~ Winter Version (track 3, Disc 1)
Arrangement & Piano performance by Michio Fujisawa

Departure at Sunrise '95 (track 5, Disc 1)
Arrangement & Vocals by Tomohiko Kishimoto
Performed by J.D.K. Band

A Journey Without Rest - Vers. 2.0 (track 3, Disc 2)
Arrangement & Piano performance by Keiichi Shibata

Legend of the Lone Wolves (track 5, Disc 2)
Arrangement & Vocals by Tomohiko Kishimoto
Performed by J.D.K. Band

The Tower Between Heaven and Earth (VT Image Song) (track 1, Disc 3)
Arrangement by Tomohiko Kishimoto
Performed by J.D.K. Band

Xanadu/JDK Band Version (JDK Band Original) (track 4, Disc 3)
Composition & Arrangement & Lyrics & Vocals by Tomohiko Kishimoto
Performed by J.D.K. Band
Album was composed by Falcom Sound Team JDK / Томохико Кисимото and was released on December 21, 1995. Soundtrack consists of 47 tracks tracks with duration over more than 2 hours. Album was released by King Records.

CD 1

1
Chapter 1 - City of Mirages and a Golden Legend
15:20
2
Chapter 2 - Legend of the Red-Haired Swordsman
12:39
3
Lilia ~ Winter Version
02:42
4
Chapter 3 - The Kefin Kingdom and a Ring of Contract
20:30
5
Departure at Sunrise '95
06:31

CD 2

1
Chapter 1 - Bundevia Hot Springs
22:40
2
Chapter 2 - Ares, Greatest Crisis
09:55
3
A Journey Without Rest - Vers. 2.0
02:55
4
Chapter 3 - Waiting for the Championship
16:27
5
Legend of the Lone Wolves
03:53

CD 3

1
The Tower Between Heaven and Earth
05:47
2
The Mountain Road #SR0986
01:53
3
Plain #MS0186
01:23
4
Xanadu/JDK Band Original
04:27
5
La Valse Pour Xanadu ~Genese~
02:14
6
La Valse Pour Xanadu ~Resistance~
00:58
7
Repos
00:40
8
La Valse Pour Xanadu
01:12
9
La Valse Pour Xanadu ~Bataille~
00:33
10
La Valse Pour Xanadu ~Solennel~
01:01
11
Fantom -Vision-
01:56
12
Bout -Long Way-
01:01
13
Vent -Auspicious Wind-
01:00
14
Eterniser -Vast-
01:15
15
Gros Monstre
00:56
16
Finir
01:05
17
Loin
01:10
18
La Valse Pour Xanadu ~Nouveau~
01:04
19
Egarer -Fascination-
02:24
20
Errer -Stray-
01:27
21
Vrai -True-
02:33
22
Existence -Real Existence-
01:32
23
King Dragon
02:04
24
La Valse Pour Xanadu ~Lachei~
04:46
25
Prologue
04:19
26
Little Heroes
02:58
27
Under the Sun
01:14
28
Laguna
01:10
29
Tower
00:55
30
A Visit! Otasuke Group
00:56
31
Ship
01:27
32
Grasslands
01:14
33
Anger! Shorts
00:48
34
Shirla
00:54
35
Demon Castle
01:14
36
Boss Battle
01:12
37
Legend of Heroes III
03:17
30.04.12
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