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Dragon Quest IX ~Protectors of the Starry Sky~ Synthesizer & OST

[back cover]
Catalog Number: KICC-1460/1
Released On: August 5, 2009
Composed By: Koichi Sugiyama
Arranged By: Koichi Sugiyama
Published By: King Records
Recorded At: N/A
Format: 2 CDs
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Tracklist:

Disc One
Synthesizer Version
01 - Overture IX
02 - Heaven's Prayer
03 - The Palace Oboe
04 - Come to Our Town
05 - Our Dreaming Town
06 - Pub Polka
07 - The Sun-Gathering Village
08 - Evening in the Village
09 - Tragic Prologue
10 - Cross the Fields, Cross the Mountains
11 - I Won't Lose
12 - Dark Den of Thieves
13 - Cave Waltz
14 - Omen of Towering Death
15 - Sandy's Theme
16 - Sandy's Tears
17 - Riding in the Ark
18 - Painful Feelings
19 - Swirling Desire
20 - Verse of Prayer
21 - With My Companions
22 - Destiny
23 - Assemble, People
24 - Guide Them to Their Fate
25 - A Temple with No Master
26 - The Time of the Decisive Battle
27 - Toward the Starry Sky
28 - Protectors of the Starry Sky
29 - Accepting a Quest
30 - Quest Clear
31 - Job Change
32 - Superstar
Total Time:
71'30"

Disc Two
Original Soundtrack Version
01 - Overture IX
02 - Intermezzo (IV)
03 - Heaven's Prayer
04 - The Palace Oboe
05 - Come to Our Town
06 - Healed by a Hymn (VIII)
07 - Our Dreaming Town
08 - Pub Polka
09 - Alchemy Pot (VIII)
10 - The Sun-Gathering Village
11 - Evening in the Village
12 - Tragic Prologue
13 - Cross the Fields, Cross the Mountains
14 - Sea Breeze (IV)
15 - I Won't Lose
16 - Dark Den of Thieves
17 - Cave Waltz
18 - Omen of Towering Death
19 - Sandy's Theme
20 - Sandy's Tears
21 - Riding in the Ark
22 - Painful Feelings
23 - Swirling Desire
24 - Verse of Prayer
25 - With My Companions
26 - Destiny
27 - Assemble, People
28 - Guide Them to Their Fate
29 - A Temple with No Master
30 - The Time of the Decisive Battle
31 - Toward the Starry Sky
32 - Protectors of the Starry Sky
33 - Accepting a Quest
34 - Quest Clear
35 - Job Change
36 - Superstar
Total Time:
72'42"

I'll start by saying that I am a huge Dragon Quest fan, and anyone who has read any of my other DQ soundtrack reviews knows how much I appreciate the game and the music. However, a lot of my love for the music comes from my love of the games, all of which I had played before reviewing the soundtracks. This is the first time I'm reviewing a DQ soundtrack without having played the game, and I figure this is a good thing; I can evaluate its merits without nostalgia clouding my judgment.

That being said I find this album to be extremely derivative of Sugiyama's other work. This should come as no surprise, as the hallmark of the series is consistency - changing as little as possible and this extends to the music in the games as well. Read on to find out more.

The first surprise I had was in the Overture IX itself, which adds a little flair to the beginning of the well-known opening theme. It was a nice change, and seemed promising, until we move on to the rest of the soundtrack.

Most of the game's tracks sound as if they were copied from other Dragon Quest games. Tracks such as "Oboe Palace," "A Tragic Prologue," and the battle theme, "I Won't Lose" all smack of the particular synthesized music and discordant harmonies found in the sixth installment of the series, while Over the Fields and Mountains feels as if it was pulled from either Dragon Quest VIII or Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker, both of which did similar things with their overworld themes.

Swirling Desire, is reminiscent of every boss battle theme from DQ V on, as is Decisive Battle, however aside from Decisive Battle, they're not as up-tempo as you'd probably expect from a boss theme.

This is not to say that Dragon Quest IX doesn't bring anything new to the table; just like the series itself, there's always one or two tweaks, and the soundtrack is no exception. Put Polka sounds almost as if it would fit in a Shining Force/in the Darkness game, and Cave Waltz's slow tempo and haunting melody are just different enough to feel original, without straying too far from Sugiyama's themes.

The last theme that I found to be on the novel side was "Protectors of the Starry Sky," which happens to be the ending theme. It felt different, maybe because of the opening which evoked feelings of a boss fight, or possibly the middle which incorporated almost a sad town theme and a field theme into the mix. Whatever the reason, it mixed the variety of themes of an RPG into itself, and I suppose that's as good a way as any to end a game.

A quick mention needs to go out to the differences between the two discs in the album. The first is the synthesizer tracks, as arranged by Sugiyama himself, while the second is the OST from the game. Honestly, the biggest difference is that the synthesized "arrangements" seem more subdued and acoustic, while the original game versions are a bit more harsh and tinny, which given the medium is no surprise. Otherwise there is no significant difference that the non-audiophile will be able to detect. Also, the second disc has some more tracks, though those exclusive tracks are actually lifted directly from previous DQ titles (as noted in the tracklist).

So, in the final analysis, this is a Dragon Quest soundtrack, and you're going to get a very familiar feeling from it. Whether you'll experience that as comfort or boredom is really a matter of personal taste, but frankly, you know if you're going to get it right now anyway, so for that one person on the fence; spend your money elsewhere.

Reviewed by: Damian Thomas



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