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PAL - Holy Dog Legend

[back cover]
Catalog Number: SRCL-3597
Released On: June 21, 1996
Composed By: Tsugutoshi Goto
Arranged By: Tsugutoshi Goto
Published By: Sony Records
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 1 CD
Tracklist:

01 - NON STOP PAL
02 - The March I Dreamed About (Opening)
03 - King Jabon and Yorkie
04 - Mr. Pug's Straying
05 - Chow Chow's Wish
06 - Kaba-chan is Only Sleeping
07 - Sorrowful Drunk Corgi
08 - Dog Tour
09 - Big Catch Tosa
10 - Tropical Golden
11 - Handstand Favorite Dachs
12 - The March I Dreamed About (Ending)
13 - Shower in the Starry Sky (Long Version)
Total Time:
51'43"

When I discovered the NES RPG "Rainbow Silkroad" and its accompanying soundtrack, I thought I'd found the most obscure JRPG, and accompanying ridiculous/fun soundtrack, I would ever find. Recently, though, I found a rival in the form of an early PSX JRPG called "PAL." No, not the European digital media regional encoding standard. PAL's subtitle is "Holy Dog Legend," and it's about an anthropomorphized dog who's going to save the world in some epic JRPG fashion. The cover art alone is both wonderful and absurd.

The album opens with this crazy 18-minute synth/prog arrange medley. It reminds me of that Ogre Battle image album "The Entrance," though less ethereal and more grounded. Lots of saxophone and guitar solos, lots of funk and slap bass. You'll feel like you took a trip back to the '80s. And if you're lucky, you'll enjoy the trip. Me? I'm ambivalent. The frequent dog-barking samples throw me off my game.

The actual in-game soundtrack, on the other hand, has some great stuff going for it. It's amazing how some of the early sequenced PSX music can surprise me with its sound quality. Think about the first Wild Arms, or Alundra. Those are great soundtracks. Now I'm not saying PAL gets added to the pantheon or anything, but listen to track 5. The synth quality is good, the balance between percussion and tone-producing instruments is solid, and the unique ethnic style doesn't wash the song out into some sort of cheesy gimmick track. And that's just one example.

Based on the short tracklist, however, one cannot help but think that this was either the smallest RPG in the world, or this soundtrack is grossly incomplete. Without the bonus arranged track at the beginning, the CD would only run about 30 minutes in length. Drop the 6 minute ending ballad and you're talking really, really short.

So if you see this on clearance at an Japanese CD store, you'll know about it. And if the price is right, maybe you'll pick it up. Otherwise, you can just thank RPGFan for adding to your ever-expanding knowledge of useless trivia. A tip of the hat to you, dear reader, and let's see what else we find in the future.

Reviewed by: Patrick Gann



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