The Legend of Heroes III has, in recent years, become the subject of much attention. The first of three titles within the “Gagharv trilogy”, the game has been re-made on several platforms, including very recently on the PSP; its music, also, has had a number of upgrades and arrangements; enough, actually, to warrant the release of a “Very Best of” disc (the only other title to receive this Falcom honor was Ys, so you see how this game has also had quite an impact).
But here, we find the music in its original incarnation. The synth quality is a very real and severe drawback; it made the music very difficult to enjoy. To offer myself some form of consolation, I would say “Don’t worry, it is still good in its own right. It’s like owning a piece of history after all! This is the real deal!” It didn’t help things much. Perhaps if I’d actually been a Japanese kid playing this game in 1994, this soundtrack would have meant more.
Take, as an example, “Sorrowful Melody” from disc one. The melody is great, but there’s something so artificial about the sounds, it drowns out the meaning. For a mid-90s RPG, you would hope for higher sound quality. *Sigh*…ah well.
There is one substantial upshot to the whole ordeal, and that is that (despite the fact that “JDK Specials” exist without these tracks) this OST contains seven bonus tracks arranged by Tomohiko Kishimoto. Take note: a “JDK Band” arrangement used to mean a full rock arrangement with a band. At about this time, however, Kishimoto was left to do these things on his own, so at this point JDK Band actually meant “pretty nice synth with some guitar, arranged by the old JDK Band frontman.”
However, I am still very much a fan of these tracks. They are often very light, but they are just the sound quality I had hoped to hear for the whole album. “Love Shining Inside” at the end of disc one is a good example for what I mean here. It’s light, it’s melodic, and it sounds great. I had hoped for more of this, but considering you can’t really find these seven tracks anywhere else (a few are on Very Best of, but not all of them), perhaps this double-disc OST is worth having just for the arranged tracks? It’s your call, not mine.
Regardless, like many older Falcom albums, this collection is a rare find indeed. I was fortunate enough to find it at a Japanese book store in New York City: I haven’t seen it on eBay for a long time now. I wouldn’t pay any enormous amount of money for it, but Falcom fans shouldn’t go without owning this “piece of history”, as I like to call it.