Falcom Special Box ’89


Review by · November 10, 2000

There is quite a lot to say about this special little package of CDs. Before hitting the music, I feel there is a need to clarify all these prints of the Box.

This set has three prints. The first print, which is shown in the top-left of the page, is an actual box measuring about a foot wide and six inches long, and about an inch high. Inside this box is a big booklet with a lot of liner notes, some sheet music, the English lyrics to the vocals, and more. Also inside are 6 little 8 centimeter discs. Call them what you want, mini-discs, single-discs, whatever: they’re 8 centimeters. Also (though it’s rare to still find them), there are sticker sheets that came with this first print. This set was printed at the end of 1988…A VERY long time ago. Then, two years later, after King Records changed their catalog number system, the first six singles Falcom printed under King were the six 8cm discs of Falcom Special Box ’89. That’s right, each one sold separately in Japanese stores. The pictures in the tracklist area are pictures of the single front covers, and these pictures are not found anywhere else (so you know where they’re coming from). THEN, years later, after it became impossible to find FSB89 in either of its two prints, Falcom decided to make this set the first two prints in their “Falcom Millenium Series” (FMS) reprints. But, instead of using 8cm discs, they used two regular-sized discs, which sold separately. The first disc had the music from Fusion, Vocal, and Plus Mix (1, 3, 4), and the second disc had the music from Symphony, Disco, and Surround Theater Ys (2, 5, 6). While the first two releases are no longer available (though I did personally pick up the original box on eBay, so that’s always a possibility), the two FMS CDs can be purchased directly from Falcom’s Website…Though you have to know some basic Japanese to get around that site and make a purchase. We have separate reviews for these reprinted CDs.

Now then, to the MUSIC! We’ll cover each disc separately, as they each use different styles. Disc 1: Fusion, has the subtitle of “Falcom Meets David Matthews”. At first glance, one might think that Dave Matthews of “Dave Matthews Band” is who they’re talking about. Just to clarify this, no, that’s not who it is. However, don’t blow this CD off as not having good music for it. This CD is of the “fusion” style, which is actually a fusing of many instruments and styles to make a whole new sound. And it works out, see for yourself by checking out the samples!

Disc 2: Symphony, is probably the best disc in the set. Of all the Symphonic stuff Falcom has done (not enough IMO), this is some of the best. “The First Steps Towards Wars” is just awesome, I cannot get enough of it. And, this is one of the few places where you can find symphonic music for the less-sought-after XANADU! And, surprisingly, it’s a pretty good track. However, the real highlight of this disc is the first track, which has combined three great tracks from the original Sorcerian.

Disc 3: Vocal, would’ve been the best disc if only it wasn’t 3 tracks and thus 8 minutes. All three songs are sung in English by a young Japanese female, but don’t blow this off as cutesy. The track “Sorcerian” is a great track, and less childish than one might think. If you like vocals, this disc is just another reason to find and purchase FSB89.

Disc 4: Plus Mix, was a new concept that brought about another 8cm CD with the same style: Falcom Plus Mix Version. The style is cool, and the tracks chosen are very cool. All of them fit well; even Feena, which is somewhat slow for the Plus Mix upbeat style.

Disc 5: Disco (with subtitled Super Nonstop Version), is one 20-minute track that changes from song to song in one big mix. It isn’t really your standard “Saturday Night Fever” disco style, so don’t get that impression. This track is very fun to listen to, and it’s fun trying to identify which track is playing in the list they give you (as it doesn’t go in that order). And because it is only one track, the sample we provide here is two minutes long.

Disc 6: Surround Theater Ys, is definitely my least favorite disc. While the background music is good, it is a drama CD. Luckily, there is relatively little talking. There are a lot of sound effects, and a lot of breathing (like when there’s a lot of running going on)…so it conveys the scene well. And the arrangements of the music behind what’s happening in sound effects is pretty good. Still, it’s nothing special if you don’t know Japanese.

So, that’s about it. Good luck finding any of the prints of it if you want it. And enjoy the samples!

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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.