The Legend of Heroes III “The White Witch” Original Soundtrack -first part-


Review by · August 2, 2005

Falcom has had a long, genius-packed history of creating music for games. They’ve created many brilliant works, but also had many albums that were just weak. Sadly, this album fits into that latter category, mostly because it’s just plain boring. This, I must confess, I attribute to the same flaw that befell the Legend of Heroes V OST which was split into two parts much like this one. As with that first part, this first part of the Legend of Heroes III OST is extremely poorly balanced. In fact, it’s worse so than its greater numbered cousin, in that there really is only a small handful of songs that bring one’s attention back. This, coupled with the inferior synth quality, reduces this album’s quality considerably.

This is not to say that the album is terrible. Terrible would imply something more akin to the Ys IV JDK Special, which I absolutely abhor. However, this album is weak in many ways. Firstly, the songs are generally sweet, sad, or soothing. This by itself is not a bad thing, but there’s so MUCH of it that the album as a whole filters out as you’re listening to it and becomes so much white noise quite quickly. If this were the point of the album, to specifically be soothing like Ys Healing was, then I’d understand. But as is, it’s simply a boring half of a full OST. Why they didn’t just go ahead and make it a two disc album and combine both parts is yet another Falcom oddity.

At any rate, what the album has it does decently well. Once the first track of the album, “The White Witch Geld,” kicks into the main melody (which takes about three minutes to happen, I should mention), it’s most pretty and with a certain sense of majesty and awe about it. This same theme is repeated later (with only the major melody and none of the intro) on track 26, but this version is more somber and lacking in the epic feel that made the first track so wonderful. Going from the beautiful first track on the album we come to the second track, “The Heroes of Legend.” This is more of the typical Falcom sound, but it’s much greatly welcome on a mostly boring album. The combination of the first two tracks is actually great. I only wish the rest of it had been mixed up better.

As stated earlier, this album is absolutely chock-full of happy music. “Shirla & Goes” sounds rather absurdly perky, like some young rascal chasing a stray pig around to get it back in the pin. “Feel So Good” sounds like shopkeeper music from other Falcom games, to the point where I listen to it and immediately point to “The Akindo” from the Ys VI OST. Nothing on the album, however, can top “Captain Thomas’ Feelings” for sheer pep and happy-go-lucky. Captain Thomas must be feeling exceptionally happy when this song plays, because the song just reeks of that certain tropical sound with a splash of blind heroism. It’s quite a nice song; I just wish there weren’t so many songs like it. At the very least it’s not followed by yet another happy song trying to outdo it. Instead it gets the moody, crypt-assaulting “Who Is Guilty?”

Moving along in the album, we finally come so something a bit more general Falcom sounding, in the form of “Loadi.” This song is sorely needed where it is, because the previous two tracks are basically continuations of each other, not just in general vibe but actually in how they sound. Thus, “Loadi” attempts to knock the listener back into listening to the music. It does a decent job, but it’s quite predictable in how it plays out.

Finally, near the end of the album, we get to two songs that, had they been mixed in with the rest of the album better, might have saved it from some of its poor balance. “The Great Battle of Bolt” is rather epic battle music, or at least so it would seem. It’s followed by “A Powerful Foe!!” which is unfortunately beaten out by “The Great Battle of Bolt”. It’s not so much that one is all that much better than the other, but the latter track is typical Falcom to the point of being simply recycled music. The former track, though, has a certain vibe to it that edges it a bit out of mediocrity.

The album then concludes with a slightly sad song which, while surrounded by a sea of other sad songs, managed to stand above the crowd. “Durzel’s Letter” is quite pretty in its own right, and I can easily see someone writing a letter to it. In a fashion, it’s reminiscent of Zelda music, but still with a certain something that makes it most definitely Falcom in origin. I have to concede, though, that it wasn’t the strongest way to end the album.

Overall, I really can’t much recommend this album. I grew tired of it before I even finished it the first time I listened to it. Normally, I can listen to any album all the way through the first time I put it on, but I simply couldn’t with this particular album. The balance, coupled with synth quality, just didn’t work for me. It’s not that it’s an awful album, but there’s just so much better you can do in the world of Falcom.

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