Back in the ’90s, in the days when Japan was really gearing up its professional performances of video game music, Dragon Quest led the pack. Nowhere is that more evident than in Dragon Quest Densetsu (commonly translated as “Dragon Quest Legend”), a recording of a music and dance spectacular inspired by the first 6 games in the series. Most of the usual suspects are represented, but some contain bridges and slight arrangements to complement the choreography that went into the performance.
Because most of the tracks are the standard arrangements, I’ll only hit up a few of the ones that do something different. Pastoral ~ Catastrophe plays with a little alteration to the Catastrophe section, while Sail on the Sea ~ Unlucky Omen does an interesting pause at the end of the first part, to transition into a more ominous piece; the Unlucky Omen. Escape is a completely original piece made for this performance by Sugiyama, and it narrates an escape quite nicely, injecting a little bit of “In a Town” from Dragon Quest I. Quarrel is also a new tune, that conveys, quite nicely, a spat between two characters.
The next new piece is From the Sky, which follows Flying in the Sky from DQ III, and is a short, lilting piece that conveys; you guessed it, flying. Finally, the album ends with Into the Legend from III, which is a fitting sendoff for the performance.
If you have the chance to get this CD, do it. I wish I had a chance to see the performance myself, but the liner notes have some pictures of it, which makes it worth it just for that. So go find it; it’s actually more available then you might think.