Mystery Dungeon 2 Shiren the Wanderer Special Arrange Version


Review by · June 17, 2008

The 2008 Nintendo DS game “Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer” released in North America was actually a remake of a Super Famicom title, “Mystery Dungeon 2: Furai no Shiren” (“Furai no Shiren” roughly translating to “Shiren the Wanderer”). This is the soundtrack for that Super Famicom title from over a decade ago.

The first thing you should notice is the composer: Koichi Sugiyama. That’s a pretty big name, right? I mean, this is the guy who composed the entire Dragon Quest series. He’s a legend, and he’s a master of orchestrated music. How does that translate to synth? Well, with the help of arranger Hayato Matsuo, even a synth arrange can sound great. There is also a full orchestra medley on this disc, which is great.

Now when you think of Sugiyama’s Dragon Quest scores, one place should come to mind: Europe. The music is written in traditional European styles (Baroque, Classical, Romantic) with traditional European instrumentation in mind. With Shiren the Wanderer, Sugiyama takes his expertise elsewhere…namely, East Asia.

For example, you want to hear someone play a Shakuhashi? Yeah, you probably don’t even know what that instrument is. It’s a wind instrument, similar to a recorder, and it sounds beautiful. Instruments like the shakuhashi, alongside traditional Asian percussion and string instruments, make this score flavorful and beautiful. Even so, Sugiyama’s melodic style is ultimately more Western than Eastern. The tones, the melodic patterns, and the chord progressions lend themselves well to the Western world, even when they use pentatonic scales and complex rhythms.

This is the greatest Sugiyama album you’ve never heard of. Now that you have heard of it, listened to the audio samples, and realized it’s amazing, what are you to do? A 13 year old album won’t be readily found! There is a three disc OST set available through Wave Master, but its music differs from this classic album. Serious collectors will want to find this album; it is sublime.

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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.