Editor’s note (3/25/2013): Unfortunately, this album is no longer in print and thus unavailable from outlets like Play-Asia or CDJapan.
I’ve gotten a chance to listen to a lot of Phantasy Star music in my time. Aside from playing all four main series games, Online, Universe, and the handheld titles, I’ve heard remixes and arrangements in the form of SEGA Rock and the arranged albums, Phantasy Star Collection Vol. I and II, I’ve even dabbled in learning some tunes on the piano. I’ve always enjoyed the music, more for nostalgic reasons than anything else, but there are some great compositions in there that stand on their own, such as End of the Millennium from Phantasy Star IV, the Main Theme for Phantasy Star III, and Death of Place from Phantasy Star II. Well, if you’ve ever wanted to go back to the source material, you now have your chance with Phantasy Star First Series Complete Album, a collection of all the in-game music from the first four games in the series.
It’s all here, in a nice, neat package, along with some extras. Included in disc I is all of the music from the FM version release of Phantasy Star I, along with the extra music from the galleries in Phantasy Star Collection for Saturn. Honestly, while the FM tunes are higher quality sound than the original cart version, I actually prefer the original Phantasy Star music to that of its FM doppelganger. I figure, if you’re going to go old school, go old school all the way. The Phantasy Star Collection music, on the other hand, was quite good. Each track is an arrangement from one of the games; the Illustration Gallery ~ Menu is a delicate little space synth remix of the Phantasy Star I town theme, while Image Gallery ~ PSI is a fast-paced happy hardcore remix of the PSI dungeon theme. The Image Gallery ~ PSII is a rocking synth version of the PSII town theme, while Image Gallery ~ PSIII is a tribal-ish rendition of the overworld theme. Finally, there is Image Gallery ~ PSIV, which remixes the game’s Landmaster theme in a very 80s synth style, and The end of the millennium (1993 Arrange Version) which is, well, an arrangement of PSIV’s The end of the millennium. All of it is tasty and catchy and a real treat for fans of the series’ music, such as myself.
Disc 2 is not without its extras, however, as it contains the entire collection of tracks from both the Japanese and American releases of PSII. Honestly, the only difference is the type of snare drum synth that’s used, with the Japanese being fuller and louder than the American one. Apparently American sensibilities couldn’t handle the crazy immorality of heavy snare synths, but now that we’ve progressed as a culture, we might be able to listen without being driven into the waiting arms of Satan…or Dark Force.
The remaining discs are just straightforward collections of the tracks to Phantasy Star III and IV, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s somewhat of a letdown after discs 1 and 2. Still, gotta love some of the best nostalgia this side of Algol.
Overall, I’d recommend this album for any fan of the Phantasy Star series. Otherwise, there’s really no reason to get this album.