The three "Wizardry Gaiden" RPGs released on the original Game Boy each received an arranged soundtrack. Of the three, the first one had a soundtrack printed by Apollon (the others were from Columbia), and this is also the only one to contain original audio samples alongside the typical arranged tracks.
I'm going to work backwards through the tracklist. Starting with track 35, this is an untitled bonus track that is seven minutes long but only contains four minutes of music (the last three minutes are silent). I don't recognize the origin of the melody, but one can assume it is another song from the game.
Tracks 13 to 34 are each five seconds long, and they are a sum total of 22 sound effects from the game "Suffering of the Queen" (though it's likely they were re-used in the other Wizardry Gaidens). For Game Boy sound effects, they're pretty well made, so whoever designed them was probably proud to have them put on the disc.
Track 12 is a 16 minute medley of original Game Boy synth music from Wizardry Gaiden I. Though the arranged portion of the album is good, it's a lot of the some sort of stuff found in Gaidens II and III (though this album tends to be more classical than rock). In contrast, the original music medley is unique to this album, and for those of you who love GameBoy synth, the medley is fantastic! I only wish it were longer (and had separate tracks). In terms of compositional quality, it's up there with "All Sounds of SaGa," and is another tribute to how good music can sound on such limited hardware!
So, yes, the majority of the album, the "meat" if you will, is the range of tracks spanning from 1 to 11. These are the arranged songs, and they are certainly something enjoyable. "Training Ground ~ Adventurer's Inn" includes some lovely music from some strings, as does "Honor and Death," a song that rivals many of the better Dragon Quest pieces.
The most un-orchestral piece is track 10, "Combat." In the same way that the orchestral numbers can pass the "Dragon Quest" test, so this song passes the "early Falcom" test. I could very well imagine the JDK Band performing this song just the way it sounds on this album. For you more "oldschool" VGM fans, it's something akin to heaven.
Wizardry Gaiden I is the only one of the three Wizardry Gaiden albums on the Wizardry Box Set (obviously, because said box was printed by Apollon). So if you want this album but can't find it in its original form, fear not, because you can find it in the limited edition six-disc print found on VGMworld.com and other online retailers.
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann