CD Theater Dragon Quest IV Volume 3

[back cover]
Catalog Number: ECD-007
Released On: March 11, 1994
Composed By: Koichi Sugiyama
Arranged By: Hayato Matsuo
Published By: Enix
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 1 CD

Chapter 5: The People Are Shown The Way
01 - Raid
02 - Deathpalace
03 - Encounter
04 - Concentration
05 - Balzack
06 - Stanciara
07 - The Dream
08 - Gardenburg
09 - Shrine of Breaking Waves
10 - Rosariehill
11 - Esturk
12 - The World Tree Yggdrasil
13 - Sky Castle
14 - Deathpizarro
15 - Finale
Total Time:

Ancient towers: a prerequisite for all true RPGs!

It was over 15 years ago that I got my hands on the CD Theater albums for Dragon Quest I and Dragon Quest II. I knew precious little about drama CDs back then, so I don't think I totally understood that what I had in my hands was special. Not only did these "CD Theater" albums come with beautiful artbooks, but they included newly-arranged music by Koichi Sugiyama's de facto protégé, Hayato Matsuo. Sadly, you will never find this music isolated outside of the dialogue and sound effects of these drama CDs, though some tracks on these albums do offer unmitigated sections of music, particularly in the first and last tracks of each album. Nonetheless, as a poor monolingual English-speaker, I almost wish someone would "fansub" these drama albums so I could read in English what I'm hearing in Japanese.

"The People Are Shown The Way." In some ways, Dragon Quest IV doesn't truly begin until its fifth and final chapter. The supporting cast are introduced first, and then they are all brought together by the hero of the overarching adventure. This third and final volume in the Dragon Quest IV CD Theater trilogy covers the hero's journey, meeting up with all the aforementioned characters, and taking on Balzack, Pizarro, and others. They also get to climb a giant tower, which is par for the course in Dragon Quest (and most JRPGs for that matter).

Musically, there is more here than in the other two volumes combined: Matsuo works almost all of the themes for the hero's adventure into Volume 3, versus the fraction of themes featured on the previous two volumes. Of course, you'll be hearing them under the chatter of ten or more party members, or the din of a heated battle with the classic in-game spell-casting sound effects as well as the additional CD-exclusive "rock-your-speakers-explosion" sounds that drown out the battle music. Seriously, the final battle sequence goes on for the better part of five or six minutes, just like that. In fairness, that'd be record time compared to how long DQIV's final boss actually takes to defeat.

All told, if you're going to pick up this album, you should go for the whole trilogy. And, in my opinion, if you were to pick one Dragon Quest of all the CD Theaters to add to your collection (I-VI, Torneko), I would suggest it either be III or IV. There is a lot to love here...even if, like me, you cannot speak Japanese.

Reviewed by: Patrick Gann