In June of 2005, Falcom released a huge landmark for themselves: Ys – The Oath in Felghana. I call it a landmark for many reasons – we see Falcom fully returning to their roots, both musically and production wise. There are real instruments again in the soundtrack (finally), music that is current with the time (Falcom was hip in the 80’s), addictive and fast gameplay, and a total retelling of young Adol’s classic trip to Felghana and the story that unfolds. Fans all over the world fell in love with that classic, shimmering “Falcom Sound” once again, thanks to a very classy effort on Falcom’s part.
Obviously Falcom has anticipated this big nostalgia kick, as well as a new wave of fans. Included with the limited edition of the game, players were treated to a EIGHT-DISC box set of Ys III music. Yep – eight discs of music from one game, Ys III. Pretty awesome, eh? The box is almost 100% previously released stuff, but that’s ok because all of it is good, and all of it is totally out of print. Long out of print. Most of the music contained in the box is from the late 80’s and early 90’s, and knowing the availablility of old Falcom music, stuff that old is not easy to come by.
So, what do we get in said box? Basically a re-release of every Ys III album ever made. Additionally, there is a CD entitied “Pre Arrange Version.” I’ve written a seperate review of that, as it is all new material. It’s not bad at all, but there is one song in particular that left me awestruck for days. Go read the review and check it out.
I’ve decided to briefly sum it up the entire box, comparing it to a family reunion of sorts:
*Pre-Arrange Version = You.
*Music From Ys III = Grandpa; old but entertaining.
*Perfect Collection Ys III Disc 1 = Younger brother; a little underdeveloped (from his PC-Engine sibling Ryo Yonemitsu).
*Perfect Collection Ys III Disc 2 = Mood-swinging aunt with a diverse taste in hard liquor, who also tells really cheesy jokes.
*A Symphonic Poem (from FSB ’92) = Young cousin that is overly cheerful and happy, and never really talks about anything worth listening to.
*Super Arrange Version = Uncle: Mullet-wearing, beer guzzling, but somehow still *really* cool.
*Ys III JDK Special = Crusty old great uncle that tries to be hip by getting a trendy haircut (with what little hair he has).
*Best Selection of Ys III = Those edited family reunion photos where you Photoshop in those not present.
Honestly, if you need to know more, there are review pages for just about all of these albums right here on RPGFan. They are all very good, all very melodic, and all very Falcom-equse. The only thing that I feel they left out was the TurboGrafx/PC-Engine OST. That would have REALLY been nice. For many, it is the definitive version of Ys III’s music – although that view has changed a bit with the advent of Oath in Felghana’s *amazing* new OST.
One thing that did catch a lot of people’s eye is the “Best Selection of Ys III.” What could that be? Rare and unreleased tracks? Samples from the SNES, Genesis, PC-Engine, or even the NES version? Well, no – it’s basically a “Rest of” rather than “Best of.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad at all. But it’s stuff you can hear elsewhere. Basically they piled up all the loose, indiviudal Ys III songs that were on other albums like the Special Boxes and JDK Band albums and put them on here. A nice gesture, surely, especially for new fans. I would say the coolest thing about it is the inclusion of “Departure at Sunrise ’95.” Available originally only as the vocal theme for Ys V’s audio drama (on FSB ’96), this track was one of Tomohiko Kishimoto’s last vocals, and is an awesome version of a great song.
So – should you buy this? Yes. But you have to buy the game too. That’s not so bad, considering it’s one of the better games to blow upwards of $80 on. This is part of the first pressing, so in the future expect these boxes to eventually be very collectible. If you own all the old Ys III albums already, don’t worry too much about it, though I do recommend the game on its own merits as well. And soon we’ll be getting the new ‘Oath’ Perfect Collection, with a brand new Super Arrange Version as well as the incredible new OST. Look for the review here when it hits. In the meantime, enjoy!