Music From The Legend of Heroes IV ~ A Tear of Vermillion


Review by · December 7, 2005

Let’s make this short, because speaking at length about this album would be too painful.

The year was 1996, and VGM was progressing steadily: as a market, as a genre, and in terms of technology. Yet somehow, one company had begun to struggle to keep up. While synth was sounding great for early PS1 games of the time (Arc the Lad, Final Fantasy VII) and even late Super Famicom era titles (Star Ocean, Tales of Phantasia), Falcom was releasing PC titles with some pretty terrible synth. Behold! Legend of Heroes IV: A Tear of Vermillion (or Running Red Blood, or Red Drops, what have you; the Japanese is “Akai Shimizu”) produced some of the worst sound quality of the year. A shame, a shame…

Yet, for the terrible synth used (the same stuff we heard in LoH III and even earlier Falcom titles), the compositions are such high quality that the album is hard to ignore. Among the Legend of Heroes titles, I have to say that the music in LoH IV is some of the most impressive. It is certainly better than V, and it is more balanced than III (which had good “moody” themes but annoying “happy” themes).

But, I mean, just listen to these samples yourself. The songs are cool, but they exist in such a raw and primitive form that they are terribly difficult to appreciate. The only songs that sound good are those that are meant to exist on simple synth, such as the opening track, which has a music box sound going on.

Somehow, this album became increasingly hard to find, yet the MIDI Special (released only three months after this album) is still in stock at and features much higher quality sounds! I recommend the MIDI Special to you over this album, and over both of these albums I recommend the FMS reprint of the OST. This album is good for collectors, but is ultimately a disappointment for VGM fans young and old.

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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.