Dragon Fantasy Book II OST
Catalog Number: SMRC-1004
Released On: January 6, 2014
Composed By: Dale North
Arranged By: Dale North
Published By: Scarlet Moon Records
Recorded at: Unknown
Format: Digital
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01 - Opening Theme
02 - Onwards to Adventure
03 - Scars of the Past
04 - Between Worlds
05 - Pirate Bill's Boisterous Booty
06 - Gutsy Tactics
07 - The Day is Mine!
08 - Coconuts and Pirate Huts
09 - Port Awesomegrogg
10 - Monsoon
11 - Secret of Treasure Cave
12 - Elevator Music
13 - Ships and Stones
14 - Down and Out in Frostsword
15 - Chanticleer's Sweltering Funk
16 - Rooster's Ambition
17 - Frostsword's Underbelly
18 - Valorous Struggle
19 - Ballad of Frigid Winds
20 - WENK WENK Hideaway
21 - Spire of Sleet and Snow
22 - Hypothecary
23 - Subjugate, Eradicate
24 - Waters of Southcape
25 - Embers of Glory
26 - Lady Cave Troll
27 - Ramblin' Rock
28 - Spark of Hope
29 - Spelunking Punderbundt
30 - Riches Among Wreckage
31 - Sway of the Swamp
32 - To Lands Beyond
33 - Black Majesty
34 - Unborn Destiny
35 - A Chill Wind Blows
36 - Rock Lobsters
37 - Amidst the Sewage
38 - Herald of Fate
39 - Final Ascent
40 - Anesidora's Lament
41 - To Better Days Ahead
42 - Stolen Victory
43 - Reminiscence of Journey
Total Time:

Just as its name might lead you to believe, Dragon Fantasy is a retro-inspired indie RPG series that borrows generously from titles released during the genre's golden years. I admit I wasn't a fan of the first game, which I felt had hit-or-miss humor and hyper-simplified mechanics, so I did not particularly anticipate Dragon Fantasy Book II. I realize now that I may have meted out judgment a bit too early, especially now that I've heard the game's charming soundtrack. (What can I say? I'm easily swayed by good music.) It's not an incredibly original effort, but it's functional music that does exactly what it sets out to do: emulate classic JRPG soundtracks.

The first few tracks sound exactly like the introductory sequence of nearly any SNES classic. "Opening Theme" is a sweeping title screen accompaniment, "Onward to Adventure" is extremely similar to Dragon Quest's "Intermezzo" file select theme, and "Scars of the Past" evokes sepia-toned flashback sequences with its harp melody and gentle string harmony. I was reminded of Chrono Trigger's "Undersea Palace" when I heard "Between Worlds" because of its similar instrumentation and rhythm, and "Hypothecary" is a lovely, high-flying piece with brass and snare drums. Other tracks well-suited for world map travel include the obvious "To Lands Beyond" and darker "Unborn Destiny."

DF Book II's battle themes are the most exciting tracks on the album. "Gutsy Tactics" has a strong, fast-paced brass melody overlaid with piano and played against drums, while "Valorous Struggle" is more percussion-heavy, but still features piano prominently. "Anesidora's Lament," which I imagine is the final battle theme, is more electronic and minimalist, though brass returns in the main melody. All three are upbeat, catchy tunes that I wouldn't mind fighting any number of random encounters to.

A recurring motif appears across the game's various pirate-themed tracks, and while I typically enjoy thoughtful reuse of memorable melodies, it's overdone here and makes the music blur together. "Pirate Bill's Boisterous Booty," "Coconuts and Pirate Huts," "Port Awesomegrogg," and "Ships and Stones" share the same core sound and pacing. In fact, nearly half of the soundtrack alludes to pirates, sailing, and other nautical themes, which I think works to the detriment of the album as a whole; it's too homogeneous and verges on being bland. Too much is predictable, but it's the fault of the game's setting, if anything.

The Dragon Fantasy Book II OST plays it safe, sticking to a small variety of instruments and melodies throughout, but it's a pleasant album despite its lack of ambition. I don't mean to undermine the effort made here; it feels like Dale North was somewhat restricted in terms of musical direction, but his work is technically sound. I'd love to hear more from him in the future — especially if it involves his velvety vocals.

Reviewed by: Derek Heemsbergen