The Legend of Zelda Sound & Drama


Review by · February 9, 2005

This soundtrack was the first Zelda soundtrack ever released to the world (exceptions being some 8cm singles featuring one or two songs). The first disc contains eight arranged tracks from the Super Famicom Zelda (known to US gamers as “A Link to the Past”, Japanese gamers knew it as “Triforce of the Gods”). A ninth track featuring what is likely the only Zelda drama track ends the disc; it contains some music, and goes for fifteen minutes. I would love to hear it in English, but I believe it recapitulates the opening sequence for the SFC Zelda.

The second disc has all the music from the original Famicom Legend of Zelda in the first ten tracks, and the remaining 30 are the original soundtrack to the Super Famicom game.

This soundtrack is commonly found on eBay for anywhere from $80 to $150; and while it is indeed a rare collector’s item, the music itself does not warrant such a price.

What to say about the music…everyone knows these songs. The original Zelda theme and dungeon music, all the classic SFC 16-bit music, all of it is familiar to nearly every gamer’s ears. If, through some strange work of misfortune, you have not heard these classic Zelda tunes, go play the games! Most are simple, but the SFC music contains some strikingly good tunes here and there: I am especially fond of all the “dark world” music. None of it is grating; the Super Famicom synths have always had a pleasant tone to them, and I believe these songs drive my point home.

As many as are familiar with the OST tracks, even more are not familiar with the arranged tracks. These tracks, arranged by two different “Ito”s (perhaps siblings?), are high-quality synthesized songs, perhaps with some live instruments (I have been unable to discern based on the quality of the music). The songs chosen are magnificent: I was especially pleased with the Guessing-Game House music, which has become in my mind one of the best Zelda songs of all time. The cute, rhythmic, stacatto melody is so much more fitting and appropriate here than on the OST track: and the violin solo halfway through the piece is remarkable!

Such improvements in quality are not as marked as in the example I just illustrated, but each of these arranged tracks are beautiful pieces in their own right. My only complaint is that we haven’t seen more of these sorts of arrangements. I would’ve much preferred something like “Perfect Collection Ys II” for the SFC music. “Perfect Collection The Legend of Zelda: Triforce of the Gods” would have been much better than this collection. Imagine it: every single one of those 30 songs getting a drastic improvement in sound quality, and perhaps an occasional solo thrown into longer pieces for good measure. It would have been beautiful. Alas, we have to settle for a mere eight tracks. It’s better than having nothing at all, I suppose.

Among all the Legend of Zelda soundtracks released up to this point, I do not hesitate to say that these songs are my favorites, and perhaps that these arrangements (outside of the work on Orchestral Game Concert) are also my favorite. The “oldschool” gamer may grow weary after playing The Ocarina of Time or GameCube’s Wind Waker, but no one can deny the fun and excitement behind these earlier Zelda games. As it is with the games, so it is with the music.

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Patrick Gann

Patrick Gann

Therapist by day and gamer by night, Patrick has been offering semi-coherent ramblings about game music to RPGFan since its beginnings. From symphonic arrangements to rock bands to old-school synth OSTs, Patrick keeps the VGM pumping in his home, to the amusement and/or annoyance of his large family of humans and guinea pigs.