Note: track “00” of disc three is a hidden track that can be located by rewinding into the negative space of track 1.
SaGa Frontier is one of those games that got bashed by many people. Many people called it “Square’s worst” or “Great as a coaster.” However, the game also has a strong-voiced group of fans that love it. I am included in the latter group and the music to the game, courtesy of Kenji Ito is certainly a big part of the reason why I love it.
The SaGa series actually go back to the Gameboy, where the first three games in the series were released in the US as Final Fantasy Legend 1-3 (SaGa 1-3 in Japan). The second trilogy, Romancing SaGa 1-3, was never released in the US. Frontier is the 7th in the series. Kenji Ito provided part of the music for 2, as well as for 4-7.
SaGa Frontier’s music is both old and new for the series and Ito in general. While I haven’t heard much of Romancing SaGa’s music, I have heard his Gameboy stuff. Many of his trademark harmonies and his melodic style are packed into this soundtrack in full force. He also adds some new styles into the mix, and almost every resultant track is excellent, and makes this set of 3 jam-packed CDs a great buy.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of SaGa Frontier is that there are 12 (!) different battle themes. All of them feature heavy bass and wonderful chords. While most of them are similar in style, Last Battle -~T260G~ stands out…it’s a great disco-like piece that mixes square waves and Hammond organ like nobody’s business. Some of the other great battle tracks include Battle #5, which is a non-stop in-your-face aural experience, and Last Battle ~Asellus~ which weaves in one of the previous themes in her quest masterfully on the harpsichord.
Of course, if the soundtrack were simply about a few pieces of battle music, it wouldn’t be worth anything, but luckily there’s plenty more great music to be found across all three discs. I always love a great melody, and such tracks as Standard Yorkland Song, Junk, Let’s Swing!, and Dear My Country are all memorable hummable tunes. However, suffice it to say that these actually pale compared to the best tracks on the set…Fight! Alkaiser, a fast-paced samba with an incredibly great melody, and Theme of Asellus, a wonderful clarinet solo with a lovely harpsichord solo in the second part. There are plenty other pieces of note across the board as well: Showdown! Cabellero Family, Devin, Alone, and The Ultimate Weapon are all wonderful. Also, keep in mind that the “Coon” listed below is the original name for America’s “Riki.”
The sound quality on the soundtrack is pretty good, higher than the level of FFVII, but still lower than FFT which came before it. However, that’s certainly not a reason to pass up this wonderful soundtrack. While there are a few somewhat boring tracks, the good to great ones far outnumber them and way more than make up for them. Wanna buy this soundtrack? As goes the SaGa series, the soundtracks fade into the realm of obscurity. Game Music has had it in stock since this review went up, but it might be gone by the time you read this. Ya never know…So good luck out there!
Editor’s note: Thanks to Square Enix’s reprint, this album is available again! Get it while you can!