Seiken Densetsu 3 (Or to us hopeful’s here in the states: “Secret of Mana 2“) never came out in the US, which is a shame because it is one of Squaresoft’s finest works. Nowadays, the only way to obtain it is to import the cart in its original form, or download a third-party translated ROM. Seiken Densetsu 3 remains my all time favorite game, and the soundtrack is high up on my list of favorites.
The music from Seiken Densetsu 3 can be summed up as bouncy, energetic, flowing, and serene. The Seiken Densetsu 3 soundtrack is one of the high points of Hiroki Kikuta’s work on the series. Like Seiken Densetsu 2, there are themes that are mutual to both soundtracks (Such as Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross). However, thankfully unlike Seiken Densetsu 2, each track is repeated twice, making it sound not as rushed as Seiken Densetsu 2 did. However, I sometimes found that some tracks were too repetitive and that repeating two times seemed excessive. Other times, I found it just right. Kikuta follows a preset “feel” throughout the CD, using similar patches (synthesized sounds), giving the CD’s a very cohesive feeling. The “feel” in Seiken Densetsu 3 is similar, if not identical, to Seiken Densetsu 2. The feel is very appropriate, especially if you’ve played the game. The tunes range from slow and thoughful like “Innocent Sea,” to fast and energetic like “Damn Damn Drum.” Kikuta has a natural talent for beats and rhythms, and he constantly is shifting them around, showcasing his ability to keep the listener’s feet tapping with tracks like Powell.
It is hard to describe the feeling you get from listening to this CD; it is very different from the Final Fantasy series composed by Nobuo Uematsu. However, I personally feel that the impact from the songs are lost upon the listener if they have never played the game before. Being able to recall scenes from the game itself is a important part of the listening experience, as it is with soundtracks in general. However, this is not absolutely necessary to enjoy these CD’s. I also find that the feel presented by the CD’s get too repetitive at times.
In conclusion, Seiken Densetsu 3 is similar in feel to Seiken Densetsu 2, but much more refined and matured. The CD’s conjure a wide range of emotions, and is a definite must have for any Seiken Densetsu fan, or anyone wanting something different than Final Fantasy. I enjoy listening to Kikuta’s work and look forward to hearing more of him perhaps in other Square RPGs. It is fitting for an excellent game to have an equally excellent soundtrack to accompany it.
This is a very hard to find CD. I managed to obtain my copy through Anime Nation (They’re my heroes) even though it took a good three months to get here.