All Over Xanadu

 

Review by · June 6, 2008

Xanadu was released in 1987 in Japan on the MSX console, and is one of Falcom’s oldest games. “All Over Xanadu” is the one and only album printed for the game. It is an arranged album, and is considered one of the most rare and sought-after treasures in the Falcom discography. It’s so old, it isn’t even “Sound Team JDK.” The composers are directly listed, and the famous Yuzo Koshiro is part of the crew.

The album features a wide array of style and instrumentation. I was struck by how readily the arrangers used synthesizers alongside live instruments. For example, the guitar and saxophone in “A Calm Tone of Voice” play alongside a keyboard synth that sounds like typical VGM synth of its day. It works, but I wasn’t expecting it at all. I am reminded of some of the arrangements from Falcom Special Box ’89 when I listen to this album, and track 4 in particular.

Some songs are attempted in a completely classical style, with piano/strings and no percussion. Other songs are upbeat ’80s style tracks with synthy dance beats, such as “From Mapleford” (one of my favorite tracks on the album).

My personal feeling regarding this album is that it helped shape what gamers, particularly Japanese gamers, expected of game music for a long time to come: not just from Falcom, but from all developers. The seamless transition from Baroque style music (complete with harpsichord) to funky dance grooves, even within the same song, suggests that perhaps Konami took a cue from Falcom when they started work on the Akumajou Dracula (Castlevania) series.

Even with the prominent place this album holds in VGM history, the demand has frequently been too high to warrant a purchase, in this reviewer’s opinion. Online auctions have helped this album’s value to sky-rocket, well over $100. Regardless of the album’s rarity and overall value, the actual music on the disc cannot be worth more than forty, maybe fifty dollars tops. I’d love to see Falcom reprint this album, but until such a time occurs, only the most dedicated (and wealthy) of collectors should attempt to add this album to the collection.

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Patrick Gann

Patrick Gann

Therapist by day and gamer by night, Patrick has been offering semi-coherent ramblings about game music to RPGFan since its beginnings. From symphonic arrangements to rock bands to old-school synth OSTs, Patrick keeps the VGM pumping in his home, to the amusement and/or annoyance of his large family of humans and guinea pigs.