Two different recordings (London Philharmonic, Tokyo Metropolitan) didn’t do it for you, eh? You say you want the original, 1990 recording from the NHK Symphony Orchestra? You got it! And hey, let’s tack on a second disc of OST music (just like the 1990 print from Apollon); but this time, let’s use the synth from the PlayStation remake instead of the original NES or SNES synth!
The NHK recording is an identical version of the 1990 print, with one exception. Following the track split of the sea/sky medley (Balloon Flight / Sailing) that happened in the 1991/2000 (London Phil.) print, they made this separation on this release as well, knocking the track list from 11 tracks to 12. But the disc time is exactly the same, and barring some very minor bits of remastering (most of which were not noticeable to this reviewer’s ears), you’re getting the same disc from 1990. And it’s a good one, to be sure.
Disc two is definitely what makes this collection worthwhile, though. The PlayStation synth OST is really something special, a significant upgrade from the Nintendo-era music. In fact, it is this version of the synth that would be the basis for the Nintendo DS version’s soundtrack, which marked the first time in over 15 years that the game was released for a North American audience. It’s essentially the first (and only) properly formatted OST for Dragon Quest IV, since the other one (from the Apollon print) was presented in a “sound story” format, putting a variety of songs into seven tracks to present an aural version of playing the game start to finish (combining sound effects, regularly hearing battle and exploration themes). Here, the soundtrack is split, track by track, theme by theme, into over 30 songs. Not only is this convenient for the listener, but the assignment of a title for every song is important for the sake of categorization. It’s about time it happened, I suppose.
Favorite songs? All of the “field” themes are solid, as are the character themes. Though I generally dislike Dragon Quest battle music, track 31 is a boss battle theme that I’ve come to appreciate. And the 11 minute ending music on disc two was impressive as well (note that it’s far longer than the orchestral arrangement).
The availability of this print is starting to wane as of the time I’m writing this review, so if you want the symphonic suite and OST for Dragon Quest IV, all in one, this is the album for you.