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Shiren the Wanderer 20th Special Collection ~Chunsoft 20th Anniversary~

[back cover]
Catalog Number: WWCE-31061~3
Released On: December 15, 2004
Composed By: Koichi Sugiyama, Hayato Matsuo
Arranged By: Koichi Sugiyama, Hayato Matsuo
Published By: Wave Master
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 3 CDs
Buy this CD from Play-Asia
Tracklist:

Disc One
01 - Traveling Condor Departs ~ Town of the Traveling Condor (Opening)
02 - Town of Rest
03 - Natane Village
04 - Going to the Forest Humming
05 - Bamboo Wilderness
06 - The Old Cedar-Lined Highway ~ Pegasus Ridge (Sunken Tunnel ~ Abyss Gorge)
07 - Mountain Cave Guardian Spirit (Dark Night Cave)
08 - Abandoned Mine (Cliffs of Blowing Winds)
09 - Underground Waterway
10 - In a World Above the Clouds (Hizume Wharf)
11 - Inn of the Traveling Condor (Shuten Village Mountain Side)
12 - Cave of Trials (Snowy Mountain)
13 - Floodgate to a Den of Thieves ~ Tarantula's Nest
14 - Shuten Village Summit
15 - Shiren Castle
16 - Kirara's Theme ~ The Sorrow in Kirara's Heart
17 - Demon Raid ~ Theme of the Demon Trio
18 - Town of Rest (Sasumi's Theme)
19 - Granny ~ Prayer ~ Village Festival
20 - Now to Demon Isle
Total Time:
50'27"

Disc Two
01 - Landing on Demon Isle part1
02 - Time of Trial (Landing on Demon Isle part2)
03 - Suspicious Shop ~ Thief Status
04 - Golden Moment
05 - Reaching Into the Heavens (Landing on Demon Isle part3)
06 - Cave of Trials (Landing on Demon Isle part4)
07 - Haunted House
08 - Monster House
09 - Conquering Demon Isle
10 - Demon Boss Decisive Battle!
11 - Golden City ~ and the Journey Ends
12 - Shiren the Wanderer Finale
13 - Town of Rest (Ghost Kingdom)
14 - Demon's Paradise
15 - Shiren the Wanderer ME (Oni Raid! Shiren Castle! ME Collection)
16 - Opening ~Meet the Female Knight Asuka!~
17 - Izayoi Village
18 - Izayoi Rice Paddy
19 - Minamo Theme
20 - Two Beasts of the Shiragami Swamp
21 - Meiouran Flight
22 - Asuka's Determination
23 - Golden City ~ and the Journey Ends (Super Great Ending)
24 - Forest of the Eight Pleasure Gods
25 - The Eight Heavenly Demons Conspiracy
26 - Koyori's Theme
27 - Bone Dungeon
28 - Jinpachi's Theme
29 - In the Darkness of the Underground Ruins
30 - Baribari's Theme
31 - Dungeon of Ice and Coral
32 - Eight Heavenly Demons Battle
33 - Ending ~Meet the Female Knight Asuka!~
Total Time:
65'40"

Disc Three
01 - Traveling Condor Departs ~ Town of the Traveling Condor
02 - Town of Rest (Menu Screen)
03 - Traveling Condor Departs ~ Town of the Traveling Condor (Moonlight Village)
04 - The Old Cedar-Lined Highway ~ Pegasus Ridge (Forest of Goblins ~ Komashira Cave First Half)
05 - Abandoned Mine (Komashira Cave Second Half)
06 - In a World Above the Clouds (Memorial Ridge First Half)
07 - Mountain Cave Guardian Spirit (Memorial Ridge Second Half)
08 - Time of Trial (Rocks of Reincarnation First Half)
09 - Reaching Into the Heavens (Rocks of Reincarnation Second Half)
10 - Cave of Trials (Ryu's Agito)
11 - Death Match Against Orochi
12 - Epilogue Party
13 - Town of Rest (Fei ~ Kayaki's Theme)
14 - Opening ~Demon Castle~
15 - Castle Town Ilpa
16 - Treasure of the Ancient Ruins
17 - Demon Castle East Tower
19 - Demon Castle Large Tower
20 - Haunted House
21 - Monster House
22 - Suspicious Shop
23 - Shiver ~ Courage ~ Sofu's Theme
24 - Jahannam
25 - Curas, Battle Against the Wicked Heart
26 - Golden City ~ and the Journey Ends
27 - Ateka's Theme
28 - Traveling Condor Departs
29 - Shiren the Wanderer ME (Desert of the Demon Castle ME Collection)
30 - Shiren the Wanderer ME (GAMEBOY ME Collection)
Total Time:
55'08"

Note: "Izayoi" in Izayoi Village refers to a phase of the moon that takes place after sixteen days. It can literally be translated "Sixteen-Day-Old Moon."

This three disc set celebrates the 20th anniversary of the company Chunsoft, and in turn, its "Mystery Dungeon" series. Most Mystery Dungeon titles work within the framework of another company's franchise (Dragon Quest's Torneko, Pokémon, Chocobo), but the one original series Chunsoft spawned was the "Furai no Shiren" (Shiren the Wanderer) series. This three disc set is a celebration of sorts, highlighting as much original audio as possible.

The collection includes music from a number of Shiren titles, none of which have come to the US. One was released in Dreamcast in 2002 (the one featuring the character Asuka), another for N64 in 2000 (featuring Shiren Castle and Demon Island), as well as games for Game Boy Color (2001) and even the original Game Boy (1996). The first Shiren title, released in 1995 for Super NES, had its own soundtrack release, and though many of the songs are the same melody, this game's soundtrack is technically not represented on this three disc set.

We've always known Koichi Sugiyama to compose thematically. Every Dragon Quest title has built off of the original 8 compositions from the first Dragon Quest. Similarly, there are a few key songs that have run through every Shiren title. "Traveling Condor" (Tabigarasu), "The Golden City," "Town of Rest," "Monster House," and "Pegasus Ridge" are all familiar songs that seem to make it on to every installment. Along with these familiar tunes, however, Sugiyama scatters in a few original compositions for each title. As you'd expect, the Sugiyama melodies are beautiful. However, unlike Dragon Quest compositions (which sound like traditional European classical music pieces), a number of songs in the Shiren games take on a heavy East Asian influence. It's a new side of Sugiyama for many of us, and frankly, I love it.

What makes this collection so much fun is the traveling backwards through time. We start with high-quality synths from the Dreamcast and N64 days, but by the time we reach disc three, we're listening to old-school, 3-channel Game Boy synth. Some might describe this as a regression (complete with its negative connotations), but as I am fond of the Game Boy synth, I see it is a powerful journey back to the origin of the music.

There was a series of three 3-disc collections for Dragon Quest, known as the "Daizenshu" boxes. If I had to pick between those box sets and this set of Sugiyama music, I would pick this one in a heartbeat. This music works so well in a synthesized context, and though I'd be happy to hear more live orchestral arrangements of this music (so far I only know of one track, from the 1995 Arrange Album release). This three disc collection is well worth the money of any Sugiyama fan.

Reviewed by: Patrick Gann



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