I remember first spotting this game in the store; with all the games I’d yet to play, I really didn’t need another RPG to add to the list. But, it came with a full CD of the game’s music, and I knew then it had to be mine. And even after having played and loved the game, I still believe that the soundtrack alone is worth the price of the game. Although this bonus disc is not nearly as complete as I would have liked, for the most part, it’s full of some very nice music.
When speaking of game music composers, names like Nobuo Uematsu and Yasunori Mitsuda often come up, but how often do you hear Tenpei Sato? Not often, eh? It’s really a shame too. Sato has scored some wonderful musical pieces in his career, many of which can be found on this disc. Among the most notable is “Shooting Star.” Sato created this emotion-wrought piece to serve as the “sad” theme of the game. It’s a touching piece featuring a gentle flute, accompanied by soft harp plucking away in the background, that breaks into a full-stringed entourage (synthesized of course) before it segues into the short, yet lonely, piano solo, and is then carried away again in the musical rotation. “Puppet Princess Theme” also has a sweet, whimsical melody that is magical in its execution. Sato really is a talented composer. I only wish he was more widely known.
Although the music comprises up a good portion of the disc, the meat of this bonus CD is in the vocals. All are performed in English and, given the localization, feature some pretty snazzy performances. The lyrics aren’t very deep, and are at times a bit childish, but have an innocent quality to them that make them a pleasure to listen to. Each piece on its own is very nice, but they grow on you much faster if you’ve played the game first. Just as a true musical, they fit into, and help develop the story. Yet, even though most songs are pleasant to the ear, there is one exception. “Our World” is a duet between the game’s heroine, Cornet, and her prince, Ferdinand, in which they sing their love to each other. This may sound sweet enough, the performance is anything but that. Cornet’s voice (Sara Thomas) is fine, but Prince Ferdinand’s singing is horribly off key; it makes me cringe just listening to it. Even the vocalists in the silly “Mountainmen’s Song” and “Amazing Pirates” sound like seasoned performers compared Ferdindand in this song.
With all that said, still my biggest gripe about this CD is that many of the best tracks from the game never made it on. Pieces like “Beauty Castle,” “Holy Prayer,” and “The World’s Step (Frog Kingdom Theme)” are unfortunately missing, and it’s a shame. These pieces showcase Sato’s skill more so than any of the other tracks, and are absolutely breathtaking. Thankfully, these can be found on the Japanese version of the soundtrack, but for those who don’t have the money to spend, they’re simply out of luck. Granted, there are a few songs here that aren’t included on the imported album (i.e. “Mothergreen,” “Marjoly Family Anthem”), but it doesn’t make up for the pieces that are missing.
Although many of the game’s best tracks aren’t included on this album, the vocals alone are enough to save it from mediocrity. If you have the game, you already have the CD. If you haven’t played the game, you’ll need to buy it in order to get the music CD. In which case, I suggest playing the game first before listening to the bonus disc, you’ll appreciate the songs much more. Despite the fact that you really can’t find it in stores anymore, you can probably get it at your local used game shpp for a reasonable price. And if all else fails, there’s eBay. It normally goes for around $20.