01 - The White Witch Gerud
02 - Love Shining Inside
03 - Captain Thomas' Feelings
04 - Unrequited Love (Gambler)
05 - Sorrowful Melody
06 - To See My Spirit
07 - Little Heroes - Jurio and Chris's Great Adventure
08 - The Great Battle of Bolt
09 - Let's Start, OK?
10 - Lost Forest
11 - Lude Castle
12 - Queen Isabelle
13 - Demise
14 - Your Courage, Your Eyes, Your Tenderness
15 - The White Witch Gerud
Every so often, I like to review a soundtrack for a game that I know little about. As someone who is so entranced with and places such significance on music, it's often a fun experiment to see how the game will live up to what I have emotionally invested from listening to the soundtrack alone. As such, after two listens to the soundtrack "Very Best of The Legend of Heroes III" by the Falcom Sound Team JDK, I was blown away.
The first track, composed and arranged by Tamiya Terashima is everything an opening of an RPG should be: It's bold, brave and with a melodic embrace, takes you into this world. I kept replaying it while looking at the cover art, at a serious young man with a sword and a somber young woman with a staff set against a snowy backdrop and my mind was left to wander against the vastness of the first composition. The Electronic Orchestra does ample justice to the compositions, especially at the cellos entrance on 3:36 and at the fantastic conclusion at 4:39, and of course what sets this grand piece aside is the single haunting female voice during the first few moments of the track- truly a masterpiece. My one teensy desire would be to hear this with the grandness of a real orchestra.
Track 2 takes away from gravity that the first track set with a fun bubblegum vocal care of Tomohiko Kishimoto and with lyrics by Fumie Nakazawa. Track 3 follows suit with a light and almost silly track, almost reminiscent of the ubiquitous "Chocobo Theme". The instrumentation follows suit for the lighthearted melodies, synthesizers and choral/vocal sounds against pop percussion. Track 4 is another pop female vocal piece with the Kishimoto and Nakazawa duo and Track 5 brings us back to Tamiya Terashima, this time a subdued harp leads us into the piece. It's mystic, enchanting and again brilliantly composed with beautiful oboes and chorals and an angelic overtone. Track 6, again by Terashima, would be more enjoyable if it didn't sound almost exactly the like American Western staple "Red River Valley" (composer Anonymous).
Track 7, back to Kishimoto, is again bubblegum- with all the whistles, horns, bells and all other cute sounds that one can ever ask for, though this time without vocals. Track 8 by Terashima is again an RPG masterpiece, what starts as a brooding and dark melody, turns into a huge heroic fanfare with excellent use of brass, suggestive strings and percussion. Though once again I can't help but think of how much better it would sound by a live orchestra.
Tracks 9 and 11 have the same upbeat and synthesized feel of tracks 2, 4 and 7. Track 10, though also composed by Kishimoto, showcases a more somber and serious piano track, giving additional credibility to the sound team. Tracks 12 and 13, by Terashima are again brilliant orchestral pieces with great usage of the brass and strings sections and advanced contrapuntal techniques other than simply melody over chord structure.
Track 14 is the final vocal and the duo is at it again, though there are a few differences as this one is more subtle and pensive than the others. Track 15, by Kishimoto, is a magnificent way to end the album with an extensively developed and highly reflective piano piece that leaves the listener wanting more.
Altogether, the album is a must have, if nothing else than for the enjoyment at hearing two highly talented, yet distinctly different composing styles for what is essentially the same story. The compositions are all very well built and the instrumentation is solid, the sound quality is good and the vocals are clean, you really can't ask for more.
Reviewed by: Daniel Space
Through the use of comparisons, I have discovered that The Legend of Heroes III music must be good. Now, let's say that Falcom only made two "Very Best of" CDs (which they did). One of them is "Very Best of Ys", covering Ys I and II, which had all kinds of kickin' music. The other CD, "Very Best of Legend of Heroes III" is music from just one game (thought it had a remake...But that remake OST was released after this CD) so obviously Falcom wanted to pay attention to it. And they did: 2 JDK Specials, plenty of Drama CDs, major focus on the LoH Piano Collection and some Special Boxes, and now this CD to sum it all up...this basically means that there is definitely something going on with LoH 3 music.
In my opinion, the choices of what to put on this CD were well-made, keeping things diverse in the same way that Very Best of Ys was diverse. I especially enjoy the first track and last track (which is the same song, different arrangement) over the others, but the whole CD is great.
If you like Falcom, and you liked Very Best of Ys, and you like variety, you'll like "Very Best of The Legend of Heroes III". This CD can be purchased at Game Music Online for $27.
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann