Chrono Trigger Original Soundtrack :: Review by Don
When Chrono Trigger was released for the PlayStation, alongside Final Fantasy IV, a soundtrack was released for it. Rather than updating the tracks with a remastered sound, they essentially released a 'best of' compilation of Mitsuda pieces and threw in some arrangements by Sekito for the FMVs. Since the Original Sound Version was already released and contains all the tracks, save the arrangements, is it worth buying this album just for the arrangements? Read on to find out.
The best of compilation of Mitsuda is definitely that. I feel that the tracks chosen represent the best Mitsuda had to offer on the soundtrack. While "A Presentiment" wasn't necessarily, it does open up the soundtrack quite nicely, with "Chrono Trigger" to follow. The other thing I like about this list is the variety of styles. From the calypso like "Corridors of Time" to the epic and bold "Frog's Theme," there is definitely a style to suit the need of any listener. However, I feel the focus should be more towards the arrangements by Sekito.
With nine arrangements, which is about one-third of the album, you'd expect a lot, right? Well, unfortunately, some of the arrangements have multiple parts, such as "Chrono Trigger" and "Crono and Marle ~ Far Off Promise" and are essentially the same thing just arranged differently. Sadly, some of these arrangements are less than a minute in length. Aside from the original "Chrono Trigger" arrangement, the others are around 40 seconds long so that they fit the FMVs for the game. Unfortunately, the original arrangement isn't too spectacular. It essentially adds some instrumentation here, such as a strong brass section, which only serves to accentuate what seems like original material. Sadly, many of these arrangements follow the same style. "Ayla's Theme" is another culprit of shoddy arranging, but still manages to be enjoyable.
On the other hand, Sekito also manages to suck the life out of some rather stellar original tracks with some of his arrangements. "Schala's Theme2 takes out all the magic and creativity out of the original. It loses that nice and necessary rhythmic percussion line and only opts for the xylophone section, which even seems a bit toned down. There is some dramatic percussion towards the end, but it's rather pointless. "Frog's Theme," on the other hand, tries to succeed by changing instrumentation a bit, but ultimately fails in the end. The beginning is a mixture of flute with occasional acoustic guitar accompaniment, while the meat of the arrangement relies heavily on the same bombastic brass. Unfortunately, rather than keep with a woodwind track, which in my opinion made "Frog's Theme" so wonderful, Sekito replaces it with a string section. Compared to the original, it just lacks that bite I loved so much.
Fortunately, there is one arrangement on this album that is at least original in execution, and that is "Ending ~ Burn! Bobonga!~ To Far Away Times." While it may be a bit disjointed, I rather like the medley effect. Starting off with a bombastic arrangement of "Epilogue ~ To Good Friends," the track immediately catches the attention of the listener. While the next portion, the arrangement of "Burn! Bobonga!" is the weakest of the medley; however, I enjoy the nice drum usage. Moving on to "Frog's Theme," we are treated to a nice string arrangement with some woodwind usage in the end. I rather like this one a bit more, because the string accompaniment is quite motivating, rather than the brass. To end, we are given a fantastic piano melody of "To Far Away Times." It has motivation and ends the track quite nicely. Unfortunately, it also ends a bit abruptly.
While this may be a nice soundtrack for those avid fans, I don't really recommend it. All of the original tracks can be found on the Chrono Trigger Original Sound Version and the arrangements really aren't worth it. Out of all the arrangements, I found the medley to be the most enjoyable. The others are either too short, too much like the original, or lifeless compared to the original. If I were you, I'd skip out on the arrangements and just get the Original Sound Version instead.
Overall Score: 3/10